In today’s struggling economy, most families and couples choose to live on two salaries whenever possible. Two salaries means twice the income, twice the benefits and a safety net twice as large in the case of unexpected bills or expenses. Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to work is able to. Physical disabilities, taking care of young children and high unemployment are just a few of the reasons that many families are forced to rely on just one income. If you are reduced to having one source of income for your family, use these tips to make it through a tough situation.
1. Create a Detailed Budget
If you are used to living on two incomes, you may not have used a budget in the past. With extra discretionary income, it is not as important to stick closely to a detailed budget. When you are just living on one income, however, this is vital. Sit down with a calculator and a list of expenses and determine how much will go towards your rent or mortgage, credit cards bills, utilities, car payments, food and other expenses each month. You may end up needing to relocate, trade in vehicles or make some other changes to make your limited budget work for your family.
2. Consider Switching Insurance Policies
Now is the time to start looking carefully at your existing insurance policies. Although you may have splurged for higher quality health, car or home insurance when you had a bigger income, this is an area where you may need to cut costs when living on a single income. Financial Expert Suzie Orman says, “Call around to various insurance providers to see who can give you a better deal on your policies.”
3. Apply for Social Security Assistance
Many people mistakenly believe that they are unable to collect Social Security payments if they are under the age of 65. However, that is incorrect. Every month in the United States, more than 13,000 individuals under the age of 65 collect Social Security payments because of a disability. By applying for Social Security, you can supplement your income and live more comfortably each month. Keep in mind that it often takes between three and five months to begin receiving payments after submitting your request and paperwork.
4. Begin Utilizing Free Resources
Once you start looking around, you might be surprised to see just how many free resources are available. Cancel your Internet or cable and instead rely on free computer use and movie rentals at your local library. Visit museums on free days with your children or head to the local park rather than paying high prices for admission to amusement parks. Speak with friends or neighbors about creating a local block party with a potluck dinner instead of attending a pricey state fair.
Although 79 percent of married couples are both in the workforce, not every family is able to bring in two incomes. By using these tips and utilizing the disability payments through Social Security, you can help to provide for your family and make it through a rough period of only earning one income.
About the Author
London Menlove writes for askforinsurance.com where you can learn hull and machinery insurance.