Most families have a fixed source of income, and this is what you use to pay for all the basic needs of the family. A household with two working parents will have two paychecks to spend, which makes allocating funds easier because you have a bigger budget to spare. However, when that two-paycheck household suddenly needs to survive on just one paycheck, perhaps due to a divorce, you need to adjust.
That adjustment will not come easy, but it will be easier if you budget more efficiently:
Know How Much Each Person Needs
You need money to go to work every day. Your children will need money for their school allowance. The house needs money for utilities and maintenance. Insurance, mortgage, and gas also need to be factored in when budgeting. From all of these, you can easily see which expenses can be adjusted and which has to be prioritized.
Obviously, you don’t want to lose your home, so stick to your mortgage payments unless you can negotiate a mortgage refinance with your lending company. You can save on gas and have your insurance payments readjusted if necessary.
Know What Other Sources of Money You Have
The spending on each family member is the most flexible part of your budget. Pack lunches you can take to work to lower your food budget. For children, you have a little more flexibility, as some of their expenses do not necessarily have to be taken out of your paycheck. The divorce should have involved discussions about custody and your child support lawyer can help you draft the terms of child support so that you can get some of the children’s needs covered by their other parent, regardless of whether or not that parent has left Denver.
There might be other sources of additional income around the house. That garage could be rented out, or its contents could be sold in a garage sale. A little tidying up to find items you’re not using anymore might reveal an untapped source of funds that you can save for rainy days.
Minimize Food Waste
You may have a hard time trying to cut back on your grocery list in a desperate bid to stay on budget, but here’s the thing: you may not need to make drastic adjustments. What you should do is use your purchases wisely. You may not be aware of how much food you’re throwing away because they’ve gotten bad or have gone past their expiration date. That means you wasted money on items that you were not able to use.
Be more aware of how much you are buying, and use them before they go bad. As a general rule, use ingredients that are close to their expiration date, and refrigerate leftovers instead of leaving them out and throwing them away. A carton of eggs has a dozen that you can use in several dishes; if your recipe calls for fewer eggs, don’t let the remaining eggs in the carton go to waste. Challenge yourself to come up with new dishes that will use leftovers in your fridge so that nothing goes to waste and you can extend your groceries.
It sounds impossible to keep the same lifestyle when you only have one paycheck. Not all sources of money and savings come from paychecks, however. Maybe you just need to be more aware of your spending to know how to stretch each dollar wisely.