Living on one income
As self proclaimed homesteaders, while trying to grow our little tribe and homeschool, grow much of our own food as well as tend to our flocks and so much more, we stay busy. Far to busy to be able to pull off our dreams and goals as well as work 2 full-time jobs. But how do we, or anyone for that matter do all this living on one income? Is it even possible in this day in age? Sure living on one income is possible, but it has to be intentional.
Era of living on 2 incomes
For some time in here in middle America most people would say they have to have 2 incomes to survive. However it is possible to break the mold. Sacrifice is needed and a priority list that you truly believe in. When I say living on one income I am not talking about living on one HUGE income, anyone can do that. I am talking about living on one medium level income for your area. A small town in Kansas a family could live on $30,000 income. Denver Colorado that same family may need at least $60-$70 thousand per year for the same life. Incomes aside how can a family live on just one paycheck? What are small steps to take to get to a lifestyle that can live on one income? That is exactly what I want to address. It is not always easy, or fun. However we have been doing it for years (under extreme circumstances, sigh) and I’m proud to announce it is totally possible!
1. Car Payments
Cars are expensive, car payments are even worse. Years of a down economy, interest rates, less than perfect credit, all of this leads to high car payments. Car insurance is higher for certain vehicles, and for full coverage insurance. This is one great way to cut, never ever have 2 cars financed. If at all possible don’t have one financed, but most certainly not 2. If you are a growing family and a safe reliable mini van, is a must. Find a great deal on one. If the husband or wife works have a 2nd vehicle be an old reliable truck, or car or motorcycle. Also keep in mind for young families where multiple car seats are needed, a minivan gets both better gas mileage and better insurance rates than SUV’s.
Maintaining a nice manicured lawn can be expensive. Mowing (or hiring it done). Owning a mower that wont last real long simply to cut grass that we throw away is a waste. Buying gasoline. All of this could be a source of money-saving. Instead try planting herb gardens, ground cover or raised garden beds with gravel stone or mulch walkways. In my front yard where everyone will see I plan to plant a creeping thyme as a ground cover around a landscaped area I will use for a veggie garden. I plan for it to be both usable and visually appealing! Also Creeping thyme as a ground cover is beautiful, needs no mowing and brings beneficial bugs!
3. Eating Out
While we all know eating out can be hard on both our waistline and our wallet, most people continue to do it for convenience sake. If in the car longer than normal pack meals. If small kids need snacks keep snacks readily available in the car, so fast food doesn’t become the “handy” thing. If a box of granola bars in the car saves you from stopping at McDonald’s, do it. Your older self will thank you, your weight and your wallet will as well. Save eating out for special occasions, and budget it in. Make family meals you would normally like to eat out for a family event. For example instead of ordering pizza have it be a family fun time of making your own pizza at home.
4. Buy in bulk
This one does not apply to everything. However when it comes to things like supplements for us buying in bulk saves us. There are a few items we believe absolutely necessary. If you have read our other posts, 2 of my top favorite supplements are Maca and Fermented Cod Liver Oil. These two things I like to buy in bulk to save long-term. Sometimes buying material, diapers or other things buying in bulk helps as well. Buying in bulk sometimes means planning for a large purchase every so often but not in the monthly budget.
5. Save, Re-use, Upcycle
Often items we buy come in packages that could be saved and re-used for future projects or upcycled to something we need. I am into creating my own home apothecary homemade drug store. There are tons of herbs I like to use, and more I want to grow and dry or infuse in an oil or honey or vinegar. So I need tons of jars. Not everything needs to be canned with a ‘sealing’ lid. Just a screw on lid works. We regularly buy pizza sauce and preserves and pickles that come in perfect jars to save. I turn these into herb jars (that I plan on posting about one day). Other ideas are pallets into patio furniture, tree branches into trellis or bean teepee. I really have a ton of ideas Check out our Pinterest bored for more ideas, the point is save stuff to use again. It will help you down the road.
6. Make Your Own
We live in the day where everything has been specialized and we don’t know much about making anything of our own. However we also live in the day of the internet, and everything is at our fingertips. If you want to commit to start making something but you don’t know how research it out. I recently decided I would try to make some of my kids clothing, but I knew little about sewing. I got a machine and researched how to use it. I started learning and trying a few things. I now feel confident I can make my kids pajamas and cloth diapers from here on out. Knowing how to make something of your own is empowering and helps one to be more creative by finding ways to re-use things you already have. Do you have old flannel sheets you want to make into pajama pants? Go for it! Do you have old t-shirts you want to upcycle into a fitted diaper? Amazing. Do you have old wood you want to make into a porch swing? That’s great. The point is to save money on things we don’t need to be spending it on anyway. How important is buying designer lawn furniture anyway? Why not make it instead?
I hope one day in the not to distant future I can leave this one behind. I aspire to one day have amazing herbal recipes and home-made DIY’s that are more cost-effective and healthier that most products in the store. However until that day couponing is a great money saver. A website that I really like is thekrazycouponlady.com They show you exactly how and where to shop and get every coupon you need for an item. This a great way to help with things like laundry detergent, dish cleaning items, household cleaning in general as well as hair and body care, OTC medications and many more things. We don’t use coupons a lot for food items as they are mostly prepackaged food or junk food items we don’t eat much of in our home. However they can still be of great value, so if you haven’t learned yet how to coupon try it, it’s worth it, I promise!
8. Grow Your Own Food
If you have followed us in the past you may be aware of our urban homesteading. We do not live on a 100 acre farm, we live on a corner city lot, in a 105 year old house near downtown of a small Kansas town. As much as I would like to say we have a white picket fence life with cows in the pasture, and roosters crowing from a fence post, that’s not quite true. However we do have an urban homestead with a chicken coop in the back yard. A aquaponic greenhouse producing year round food, chemical free. A yard full fruit and nut trees, compost piles, edible based landscaping, and medical herb gardens instead of flower beds and plans to expand in the future. So there are steps everyone on this journey can take from apartment dwellers to wide open country dwellers. For example aquaponics (fish grown together with plants) can be done indoors in compact spaces or basements, For more info check out this post here. Balcony’s can be used as container gardens. Maybe you can accommodate a certain plant the best that’s a strength use it. Grow that very well, save, preserve and sell what you have extra!
9. Be Your Own Doctor
Ok obviously I do not mean to avoid the hospital if you really need it. If you have a medical emergency by all means go! However, with the rising costs of medical stuff, insurance, Rx and medications. A big way to save is to learn stuff the old world way. Keeping yourself and your family healthy is in your best interest. Many families have suffered insurance set backs in recent years making medical visits more difficult or costly. So a trip to the Dr. office over a common cold may set you back a lot more than you would like, not to mention the Rx you need to get after that costs twice as much as it used to. Well in the old days just about everyone’s grandma had home remedies for everything from fever to ear infection. Those days are not gone, we can learn those old ways again. Having a shelf stocked with dried herbs, tinctures, herb infused oils and a lot of garlic can cure most common ails, and it costs a fracture of healthcare today. Now don’t get me wrong if you are seriously ill, go to the Doctor. However if you are looking for ways to save in this category, remember and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A little foresight can save a major sickness from starting and hundreds of healthcare spent dollars. Check out easy ways to fix ear infections, or essential oils to cure all your ails. This is one that makes me wish I could go back in time, to help the younger me save money in those hard years.
9. Workout at home
With years in the fitness industry and being a personal trainer, I can tell you, you can get just as awesome of a workout at home. Even if you are a busy parent trying to stay fit. Trust me, you don’t need a heafty price tag of a gym membership, to stay in shape. Even if it does offer the ‘daycare room’. Many people believe they can not get results with out the walls full of workout options to choose from. I (as a former personal trainer) would say you just need a plan, Monday-Legs/abs, Tuesday-Cardio Etc. In fact this is a great way for anyone to save money. I would save on my gym membership and budget half of what I was spending on building my own home gym and workout supplies. I would rather build my own gym than to help pay for the use of equipment elsewhere.
In today’s day in age we often think we need to work a lot to keep up, and pay for everything. Maybe this is true, if we need to always have the newest cars, electronics, clothes and keep all the credit cards maxed. However if that route is just exhausting to you try the more simple route. Finance less stuff, it’s relaxing. Grow your own food, it’s exciting to grow your own and realize it’s healthier and fresher than what’s at the store. Money saving and living frugal is really more about a state of mind, than anything else. When keeping up with the Jones, is no longer your mission it’s easier to live a life you want.
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