Are You Fooling Yourself About Your Money Problems?

Living on a single income is tough, but many families choose to do so in order to have one parent stay at home with the kids. It is quickly found by many that cuts will have to be made to the budget in order to get by. And of course the first thought is to those regular trips to the grocery store.

Certainly there are a lot of things you can cut there. You can quit buying junk snacks. You can quit buying so many prepared foods. You can watch the prices.

But there are other areas you can target within your budget that can be far more effective at helping you to save more money. You should also be looking at your big monthly expenditures to see what you can do better.

We’ll start with the phone bills. How many do you have?

These days it is not uncommon for a family to have a landline phone bill and perhaps multiple cell phone bills, although cell phones may be grouped into a single package. If money is tight, this is a great place to make a cut. Many families are choosing to cut the landline rather than the cell, but you need to decide which better suits your financial needs and what you need for keeping in contact.

Electricity is another place where you can save. How often do you use the air conditioner or the heater? If you can learn to tolerate a wider range of temperatures, you can cut your electricity bill quite nicely.

Consider making the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. These may cost more on the outset, but they can pay off in terms of decreased energy use. In some places electric companies even have programs where you can get these for free, so check and see if you’re one of the lucky ones.

How’s that credit card debt? This can be a painful one to tackle when you’re already on a tight budget, but if you can manage it, this is one of the most effective ways to get your finances under control. Every little bit extra that you can manage to pay off will make your situation better in the long run.

Take a look at how often you eat out. When one parent is staying at home, cooking meals regularly should not be that big a deal. Eating out costs far more in most cases than cooking at home, especially if you’re a fairly frugal cook.

How often do you go clothing shopping? How much of it is really necessary? As a stay at home parent it can sometimes be hard to keep up with what the children need, so it can be better to teach them that they do not have to have those name brand outfits. Think carefully about what you need from your wardrobe too. There’s no need to wear rags, but an extravagant wardrobe isn’t exactly necessary for most people.

Don’t forget your television. Most people these days have cable, and when money is tight it can be a good plan to go down to the most basic plan or even cut it off entirely. Nothing says your family has to be able to watch the latest shows. This can be a painful cut at first, but you can adapt.

All these cuts can make a big difference to your monthly budget. The less that gets taken out for other reason, the more you will have available for your needs. Given time you and your family will adapt.

[tags]money problems,single income,personal finance[/tags]

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