5 Tips for One-Paycheck Families

Planning & Saving
on December 31, 2012

Many people who have recently lost a job or have chosen to stay at home with their children have found themselves in a position where they have to budget off one paycheck. While this situation can be difficult, there are ways to do it without making significant cutbacks in your lifestyle. Try these tips.

1. Make as many minor cuts in your monthly bills as you can. Take a look at your cable and cell phone bills and get rid of any services you don’t use. Reduce your minutes, and eliminate services such as your home phone.

2. Refinance your loans to extend their terms and lower the monthly payment. While this might cost you a little more in interest, if you can’t make ends meet each month, it is a way to free up some cash. As soon as you find a new job, pay the loan off.

3. Barter for as many services and items that you can. Having one paycheck means that you might not have a lot of money, but you probably have some spare time. Trade the skills you had at your old job for services you need. If you’re at home with small children, trade babysitting services. This will allow you to get what you need without paying cash for it.

4. Cut your utility bills drastically. Staying at home during the day can increase your utility bills since you will use your own electricity and water throughout the day. Look for a way to decrease these bills. For example, stop using your clothes dryer and hang clothes outside. Collect rainwater from your gutters to use as irrigation. Use ceiling fans instead of your air conditioner.

5. Grow a garden. Converting a small patch of your backyard into a vegetable, fruit, and/or herb garden will save you a lot of money at the grocery store and it can improve the value of your home. If you have extra produce, sell it at a local farmer’s market, trade it for things you need, or donate it to a local food bank to reduce your federal tax bill.

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