Adjusting to life on one income after the loss of job of a partner, an illness where one partner can no longer work, death of a partner or a divorce can come as a huge shock.
For couples accustomed to living on two incomes or in the case of once again being single the shock is just the same. Keeping track of spending can seem a daunting task let alone coming up with ways to make dramatic cuts. In the case of couples at least you have someone to discuss it with. Newly singles will have to rely on family or friends to advice – that is if you want to discuss your private financial affairs with them! Don’t let the big picture or the big sums put you off. You have to pull yourself together and be strong again!
If you find yourself alone again after a divorce or death of a spouse, the best way to handle the changes was with small manageable steps. Set your priorities. Don’t look at a budget as what you can’t have, view it as a priority planner. Write down all your expenses like rent, loan payments, childcare (if you have children) and utility bills. The biggest mistake you can make is not developing a realistic budget and sticking to it. Knowing how much your fixed expenses are, you will then know how to allocate your remaining income to other areas such as clothing, furniture, outings etc. Keep the money for fixed expenses in a separate untouchable account if you need that discipline. Look at other regular expenses which you can cut down such as phone bills, aso-ebi (party) wears, gym/club memberships that are not being used. What are you spending on work days, e.g. for food, transportation etc? Is there a way you can hike ride with a friend? Join public transport instead of taking the car? Take food to work instead of buying lunch? The car is one of the biggest areas where you can save. – In the case of a couple – try to do without the second family car or if single maybe sell the car and try using public transport if possible.
In the case of illness or widowhood, will it be possible to let out a portion of your home if the house is big enough? Or rent out the whole building and move to a smaller apartment in a less expensive part of the town?
Don’t forget yourself or selves in all of these changes. It is true that you are trying to live on a budget but you still have to take care of yourself. Somewhere along the line put aside an amount that you, or you and your partner can spend on whatever you like. It’s important to be able to have spending money that you don’t have to justify to anyone, even yourself. The amount doesn’t have to be large! It could go on having your nails done – or lunch with the “guys” whatever is going to make you feel good.
Make sure to spend smarter. You can exist on one income – without going begging of falling into depression!