Tips for Living on a Single Income

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If you’ve ever wondered about the possibility of living on one income, you are not alone.

Many families have chosen this option and are thriving under these circumstances.

Sure, it takes a great amount of dedication, but you too can accomplish this in your own life.

The reasons for living on one income are many. Here are a few that we’ve come across at Faithful with Finances:

  • You want to pay off debt
  • You want to start saving…or saving MORE
  • You want to be a stay-at-home mom
  • You want to give more
  • You can’t seem to live within your means

Whatever the reason might be, we are here to encourage you in the right direction. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to live off of one income, but it does take great discipline to do so!

Here are some helpful tips that will get you going:

  1. Cut Back on Entertainment, Eating Out, & Excess Spending

Chances are, you have areas in your budget that are “wasting” your money away. In my own budget, I was diligently paying $9.99/mo for a music service that would run ads (who knows why I was paying for this in the first place). After a little digging, I found out with my Amazon prime membership I could get music through their app for free with no ads! Now I’m saving $9.99/mo…or around $120/year – wow! Imagine all the little changes you could make in your own areas of wasted money.

2. Don’t Pour the Pasta Water Down the Drain

Huh? Let me explain… If you’re a cook you’ve probably heard the expression “save your pasta water!” or the water you use to cook your pasta in. Basically that water is like liquid gold… it makes every sauce a little bit creamier and stick to the pasta just a little bit better. The point here is that you are probably throwing away or wasting valuable things in your kitchen or home that could help you save money. Instead of making a meal from scratch, try using a few items you’ve forgotten about in your pantry. Ran out of kitchen cleaner? Make your own with the baking soda you have laying around. Use what you have and you will have less “needs”.

3. Agree on Spending with Your Spouse

Maybe you can identify holes in your budget, but you can also easily point your finger to one person… your spouse! If only they could stay within the budget, life would be so much easier. The best solution here is to have a sit-down discussion with your spouse on your budget as a whole. Show them the areas that need work and make promises to them on how you will cut back as well. It takes two to tango, and if they know you are making sacrifices, they will be more willing to make sacrifices too. That being said, both of you should have a little bit of “fun” money every month, so you can still enjoy certain hobbies individually or together.

4. “Fixed Expense” Is a Relative Term

There is room to negotiate, save, and cut back in many areas of life. If you’re not ready to get rid of cable, call your company anyway and negotiate a lower rate. Shop around for better auto insurance. Take the time to price out health insurance – all of these “fixed” monthly expenses can often be changed and lowered. Let’s say you have 5 different fixed expenses, and simply by shopping around and making calls you can take off $10 on each expense per month. This doesn’t sound like much at first glance, but saving $50/mo equates to $600/year! Do your homework and you will begin to see the savings.

Implementing these tips will make a lasting change in your life, and may even make it possible for you to live on one income. Who knows? If you are bringing in two incomes you could even save thousands per year! All this to say … it is possible and it is within your reach.

What are some creative ways you have adapted to living on one income?

Meet the founders of Faithful with Finances:
Tony Amaradio and his wife Carin. 

Kick Your Bad Habits and Make New Ones

Kick Your Bad Habits

What makes a bad habit?

Something you’ve been doing for years that only makes your situation worse.

A good habit may be hard to develop at first, but changing what you already do now will make life much easier in the long run. Consider what you might be doing right now that causes hardships on you financially. Are you a spender? Are you late on payments? Do you keep your documents organized? There are so many little things we can do to get ourselves on a better path financially, so let’s take a look at some ideas on how to fix our bad habits.

Here are some examples of things you might need to work through:

  1. Putting expenses on your credit card and not paying them off at the end of the month
  2. Assuming you’re too young or too old to start investing for the future
  3. Having debt left to pay off, other than student loans or mortgage
  4. Keeping all of your money in a checking account
  5. Impulse shopping- failing to learn to buy what you actually need
  6. Waiting to start your financial planning until after you’re married
  7. Only focusing on yourself without doing any charitable giving
  8. Not having a firm grasp on your budget, knowing when to save
  9. Not saving a set amount automatically out of every paycheck
  10. Ignoring coupons
  11. Living beyond your means

Many people go through the fear of facing their habits and not knowing whether they can change. The good news is, we have the victory in Christ to change, and God is doing a new work in us! Romans 12:2 states this clearly, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

He does not want us to spend time in our old habits, because this distracts us from truly working hard to become stewards of His resources.

So what do we do now? How do we change our habits that we’ve developed for years? The first tip is to pick just one. Don’t tackle on all of them just yet, but instead, pick one habit that really hinders your stewardship, and work on it for 30 days. Set your mind to it, and after 30 days, you will see the fruit of your labor. Whether it be at a certain time of day, or as a trigger from something else, purpose in your heart to lean on the Lord and not your own way of doing things.

Here are some good habits to look towards and to replace your bad habits:

  1. De-cluttering  & Organizing your financial papers
  2. Saving up for a purchase (avoiding credit)
  3. Using a 30-day list for all non-essential purchases-(When you desire something, don’t purchase it immediately, put it on a list and look at it 30 days later to see if you really need it.)
  4. Pay your bills right when you get them
  5. Take 20 minutes a week to update your budget
  6. Search through the 2,000 verses that speak on money/possessions
  7. Use an envelope system (only cash)
  8. Find accountability in a friend

Remember, practice makes perfect, and the Lord loves to see His children honoring Him in their everyday lives.  Think about what you might need to change, consider that the Lord needs to be your rock and security, not your finances.

Do you have a bad habit you want to kick? Share it below!

By: Erika from Faithful with Financesget-attachment.aspx-9

What it Takes to Live Below Your Means

loose changeYou want the hard truth? The absolute hard truth?

Living below your means is NOT easy.

You will have to make sacrifices … on many occasions.

You will feel like giving up.

You will take each purchase seriously … even when it’s your favorite Starbucks drink.

You will want to complain.

You will feel deprived at times.

But in the end … you will GROW to love this lifestyle.

You will see your bank account slowly grow.

You will feel a huge relief from stress.

Your heart and mind will begin to seek God.

You will let go of the material, and look towards the immaterial.

You will appreciate the little things.

You will care more about the people around you … not the things around you.

You will meet your goals.

You will banish debt.

You will release contentment.

It can happen to you … yes you!

The only way to start is to start today.

Think about the sacrifices you will have to make, but more importantly, think about the rewards.

– Faithful with Finances 

Can Money Affect Your Marriage?

I think we all know the answer to this one, money and all the baggage that it carries can cause great destruction in our marriages, and if we are not careful, it can cause the best of relationships to fall apart.

Just last night I was with a group of close couples, and we are reading through Paul Tripp’s book “What Did You Expect”. This book has been a wonderful tool to open my eyes to see what marriage really is, two sinners trying to make the best of their circumstances before we are perfected in heaven with Christ.

Yet as I was reading, I couldn’t help but think about how relevant this is to the way we treat our spouses in the use of our money together.

Isn’t it funny how money can become both a source of comfort in our lives, as well as a source of complete heartache? The biggest problem with this situation is that we make it a source of comfort in the first place. Let me give you a quote from Tripp’s book on where our comfort should rest;

“When your heart rests in the amazing wisdom of the choices of a powerful Creator, you have given yourself reason to continue. When your heart celebrates the myriad of careful choices that were made to bring your stories together, you have given yourself reason to continue. When your heart is filled with gratitude for the amazing grace that you both have been and are being given, you have given yourself reason to continue. You are not alone. Your creating, ruling, transforming Lord is still with you.”

His point in this chapter was that life can be so difficult at times, that we find it very hard to continue. I think that this relates very directly to our money, and what life throws at us.

In going into the different churches we have been blessed to go to, I can’t help but hurt for some of the people in those congregations.

It isn’t that they didn’t work hard enough, it isn’t that they made bad financial choices along the way, and it isn’t even that they specifically chose not to give.

No, life just handed them a HORRIBLE deck of cards, and their circumstances are very broken.

What it really takes in these situations are a few different things. I will give you specific points below that will help you through all of this, but what you must keep in mind in the process is one thing, and one thing only: God is Your reason to continue.

He will carry you through whatever you are facing, and He is sovereign over your circumstances, meaning, He already knows what will happen!

Rest in the fact that He gives you a reason to wake up every morning, and whatever you might be facing at this moment financially, is small in comparison to His grand plan for your life.

Because money can affect your marriage, it is important to be equipped with the tools to handle money, and to be ready to work through your issues together.

Tip 1: Work together to create a savings plan.

You may be married to a spender, or you yourself might be a spender, but either way, you must begin to work together to start saving for your future. Sit down and talk about your future goals, don’t be afraid to put it all on the table, and begin to work towards a savings plan that will help you achieve some of those goals.

Tip 2: Look at that person through the eyes of Christ.

At every opportunity, show love to your spouse. They will fail, they will let you down, and they will ultimately hurt you, but your response in these moments is crucial. Look at them in a way that Christ would look at them, with compassion and grace, knowing that they are trying their best to deal with the sin that is in their lives. Love them despite their sin, because you know what, you have quite a bit of sin yourself!

Tip 3: Pay off your debts as soon as possible.

Everyone knows that debt is a huge weight on marriage. One or both of you are CONSTANTLY thinking about it, and it weighs heavy on your heart. Don’t forget to give your concerns over to God, and actively pursue paying off your debt as soon as you can. This WILL make your marriage easier, and will probably eliminate a lot of small and meaningless fights. For more tips on paying of your debt visit my latest post.

Tip 4: Be on the same page.

Make sure that you are your husband or wife’s best and most helpful accountability partner. Don’t let this lead to more fights or heartache, but rather seek to make that person what they are meant to be, a beautiful reflection of Christ. Have weekly or monthly meetings on your budget, see how you are doing, and enjoy the time you have to be together and talk through these issues. You are growing, and that is a beautiful thing.

Tip 5: Give together on a regular basis.

For awhile, I was writing the checks to give to our church, and I didn’t really give that much involvement to my husband. In this way, I was robbing him of a really great inner joy! It wasn’t until tax time that he really realized what we had given, and it almost came as a surprise to him. I realized that if I had included him more, this would have caused him to be more grateful for what God had provided for us this year. Include your spouse on the giving process, and do it together. Even find a ministry that brings both of you great joy and excitement, and let that drive you to continue to give more and more.

 

My final point is to encourage you that money is temporal, it won’t last, but hopefully your relationship that reflects Christ will last. Seek to serve your partner in the way you handle the money in your household, and God will be smiling down from heaven saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

 

 

By: Erika Pizzo