budget living

 How to Save Money When Living on One Income

As a military significant other, I know many spouses and girlfriends who can’t find jobs when the military member moves to a new duty station. I’m fortunate that my job allows me to work remotely, meaning I will have a job wherever we move, but many other military SO’s are not as fortunate. My friend Bailey is one such military spouse. When she got married this summer, she thought it would be easy to find another Human Resources job at her new husband’s duty station, but she’s been married for 6 months now with no new job in sight. She and her husband have been living on one income ever since the wedding. I asked Bailey for her tips on how to save money while living on one income.

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Negotiate bills.

Call your internet and cell phone providers to negotiate your bills. If the service provider of your cell phone bill refuses to lower the price outright, analyze your cell phone usage to see if there’s somewhere you can switch. For example, if one spouse stays at home the majority of the time, see about reducing your data amount. Or, look into switching your cell phone provider. I suggest using Billcutterz and tell them Emilie Burke sent you!

Get rid of cable.

There are so many online streaming options these days, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, that you can do without cable. For local channels, buy a digital antenna.

RELATED: How to Save Money Even If You Think You Don’t Think You Have Enough

Adjust your thermostat wisely.

Instead of changing the temperature whenever you are hot or cold, turn on a fan or put on a sweater. Plus, this is great for the environment!

Eat at home the majority of the time.

If only one household member is working, then the non-working partner can cook the majority of the meals to save money. I’ve found meal planning to be a great resource to curb off the “Oh no, I don’t know what to cook so I’ll go through the drive-thru” situations.

Buy groceries at discount grocers like Aldi’s.

Aldi’s is my go-to grocer! They have less product than a typical grocer– so less items to choose from!– but their store-brand is comparable to name-brand. To save even more money, plan your purchases around the sales circular. Also, buying larger packages of snacks and making your own serving-size baggies will save you money!

Buy used.

When Bailey and her husband were furnishing their new house, they bought almost everything used. Check out sites like Craigslist, Bookoo, and Facebook barter-and-trade groups. Buying used clothes is another great way to save money! However, I don’t recommend buying any soft furniture used (mattresses, sofas, or chairs) because of the potential for bed bugs. If you’re buying things for a baby, the experts recommend not buying used cribs, mattresses, or car seats for safety reasons.

Use sites like Swagbucks and Ebates or apps like Ibotta and Checkout51.

You can earn cash back for online purchases. With Swagbucks, you can also earn points (redeemable for e-gift cards) for surfing the Internet, watching videos, and answering surveys. Thanks to Swagbucks, Bailey earned enough money to buy her husband’s Christmas gift!

RELATED: 6 Ways to Stay Positive When You’re On a Tight Budget

Pay off debt.

I regularly share my debt updates, but I’m still single and only working on my stuff. Like me, Bailey is committed to paying off debt as soon as she can. However, since she and her husband only have one income, it’s a bit trickier. They decided to put $25 a month towards their debt snowball. It’s not a large sum of money, but it will still reduce the amount of interest they are paying on their credit cards. Every little bit counts!

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Emilie Burke

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