One thing I know is absolutely true when you are going from two incomes down to one: it takes a bit of sacrifice on everyone’s part to make it work. We decided I should be a stay-at-home mom after our first daughter was born, and when my income was gone (after maternity leave ran out) we struggled a bit. It’s not that we weren’t prepared for the change to happen, but we just didn’t realize how much the second income was actually allowing us to live the way we were.
Because I wanted to continue to be a stay-at-home mom, we decided to make some simple habit changes to save us money. At first these changes could have been considered sacrifices because they made our lives a little more complicated, but the more we did them the easier they became. Honestly, a lot of things we do now to save money are pretty much second nature and don’t bother us at all.
© vetkit / Dollar Photo Club
Habit Changes That Will Save You Money
If you’ll be going down to one income, you might want to practice a few of these habit changes now before the change happens. It’s always better to be ready for a huge change like that than to be in shock when reality hits.
- Do not waste food – use up as much food as you can before going to the grocery store.
- Shower in daylight – if you have a window in your bathroom, you won’t have to turn on the lights. You can also let your hair air dry if you don’t plan on going anywhere.
- Have date nights at home – babysitters are expensive and watching a favorite TV show series or movie at home is a lot cheaper than paying to see a movie.
- Stop chewing gum – gum has a lot of questionable ingredients anyways, and you can always freshen your breath naturally.
- Get organized – losing bills and important items can cost you a lot of money so get a system down that will help you track what is important.
- Put leftovers in the freezer – if you are used to throwing away leftovers, you can save a lot of time and money in the future by freezing them instead.
- Start cooking from scratch – maybe you’re used to eating out a lot or buying a lot of convenience foods, but if you cook from scratch you can save more money (if you have the time and equipment, consider making your own bread!).
- Cut down on the amount of hair products and makeup you use – if you don’t plan to leave the house much as a stay-at-home mom, you don’t need all those extras (ok, so maybe you wanna look good for your husband…just don’t use as much).
- Clean up messes when they are made – if you clean up a sticky spill or wash a dirty garment right away, there’s no need to get out cleaning products and/or scrub your life away.
- Buy quality appliances and equipment – if you want longer life from your food processor or lawn mower, you might have to shell out a little more money now to reap benefits for years to come.
- Plan simple, healthy meals – eating healthy now can pay off later when cold and flu season rolls around, which can end up costing you more than you think.
- In summer, close the blinds/curtains and shut windows in the morning before sunrise and open windows after sunset – running your air conditioning or swamp cooler 24/7 can be really expensive.
- Check the library first – if you want to read a book or watch a movie, see if the library has it since it’s free and you probably don’t need to keep it.
- No need to elaborate for birthdays or special occasions – at least for us, just a simple card and some quality time is enough.
- Drive only when it’s absolutely necessary – random trips to Grandma’s house or Target are not necessary and should be planned carefully.
- Eat dessert only occasionally – if you have a sweet tooth after dinner, make from scratch desserts or eat a fruit salad.
- Unplug appliances when you aren’t using them – your TV, computer, microwave, and more actually use a lot more power when you aren’t using them than you probably want to pay for.
- Cut your husband’s hair – it might take some confidence on your part and a little faith on his part, but after you cut it a few times and see the savings you’ll be hooked.
- Shop at thrift stores – this might make you uncomfortable at first (at least it did for me), but once you realize what quality items you can find for really cheap, you will be going back for more.
- Substitute ingredients – if you want to make something that requires ingredients you don’t have on hand, save a trip to the grocery store and use what you do have.
- Put money away every single paycheck – if you get in the habit of paying yourself before anything else you’ll see your savings account grow much faster.
- DIY whatever you can around the house – yardwork, remodeling, and even writing your will can all be done by you.
- Stop buying so many spices – use what you have and only buy spices you use often.
- Use cloth instead of paper products – you can use cloth diapers, cloth napkins, cloth towels, etc.
- Don’t forget about laundry – if you’re doing a load, take care of it all at once so you don’t have to do extra rinses or fluff the clothes left in the dryer for days.
You might get the impression from these habit changes that we were spending our money frivolously before we went down to one income, but that’s truly not how it ever was. We just had never cut our budget down to nearly the bare minimum before.
What can you do right now to save a bit of cash?