How To Transition From 2 Incomes To 1
First let me start by saying that transitioning is not easy but it is do-able. All it takes is for two people to set goals, stick to them, and motivate one another throughout your journey.
To some my method of our debt payoff journey may be considered lying to your spouse but to me, I like to think of it as showing him better than I can tell him. You see, Muffin (my spouse), is the type of person whom you have to prove things to by taking action. Solely speaking about things isn’t enough. Me, I have always been an advocate for living below your means, paying off debt, and living the life of financial freedom.
Here is our story…
In the midst of paying off debt, I came up with the brilliant idea of calculating how much Muffin and I make together per year. Yes, this is something that should be done from the start but sometimes my mind works better backwards than forwards. Anyway, so I came up with the brilliant idea to calculate our incomes and what I calculated made me nauseous. Together we made close to $60,000! No children, living in a 1 bedroom apartment and we were in debt. We weren’t head over heels in debt but we had somewhere around $30,000 worth of debt. We were working to get things paid off but we were doing it on our own time. It wasn’t until I saw these figures that I felt that we should step it up a notch.
We had 5 credit cards, 1 loan, and other bills that made up a monthly amount that was a little over $2,000. This included paying the bare minimum on the credit cards. One day while being at work I decided I was going to show Muffin just how passionate and determined I was to get us out of debt. At the time we did not have a savings account. Anything that wasn’t spent on bills was blown by the next pay period.
I wrote our bills our on paper separating out debt from our “must have” bills, such as rent, lights, gas, etc. To my surprise the majority of our monthly bills were going straight to debt but our debt wasn’t going down any faster than we would pay on it. Take it from me when I say the bare minimum never works. That is when I came up with 4 principles to transition from 2 incomes to 1. I didn’t tell Muffin until after we paid off at least 3 of our credit cards what I’d been doing all along. His reaction was that of a kid in a candy store. He couldn’t believe it! Just a month ago we were barely making payments and now 3 bills gone just like that. You know he had to ask me how I did it. This is what I told him…
I started by making a plan to pay off as much debt as possible. I started with the smallest credit card bill and worked my way up. Occasionally I would tell him that I needed extra money from him because my check didn’t cover the bills. He never asked questions, he just gave freely. I made sure that any amount that he gave went towards being split in between debt and starting a savings account because technically what I made covered all of our bills with a little left over. I did this until we paid off 3 credit cards then decided that I wanted to let him in on my secret operation. 😊
I explained to him that our next move was to create a budget. He was so motivated by the thought of us being down 3 less bills that he didn’t hesitate to sit down with me and figure out what our budget would be. I worked 2 jobs and he worked one but the hours that he worked equaled out to having 2 jobs. We agreed to work as much as we could without tiring ourselves out and put the extra towards remaining debt. Each month we adjusted our budget accordingly. Almost a year later and we only have about $15,000 to go.
Creating a budget for us spiraled into the next step. Making sacrifices. We vowed to cut back on eating out, no shopping, or blowing money of any sort unless we absolutely felt like we needed to. Sometimes you do have to treat yourself in order to prevent overspending. We’d go for occasional ice cream or to one of our favorite restaurants when we needed to treat ourselves. On the weekends when I was off I would only go to my family members home or to the closest book store. Anywhere else would have resulted in me spending unnecessary money.
The last step would be to communicate. Communicate, communicate, communicate! This step is highly important. Yes I felt bad from keeping it from him to begin with but showing him rather than telling him built more confidence in us both. Once he saw that we could move faster he jumped aboard and we haven’t looked back since. I make sure to tell him every little thing about our bills and he makes sure he listens and responds. Before now the talk of money in our home only created stress, anxiety, and arguments. Now we can openly and honestly talk without all of the other in between.
Our budget has now been adjusted to us living on one income while saving the other. We paid off as much debt as possible, set a budget, made sacrifices, and made sure we communicated throughout. Financial freedom is hard to begin with but once you start to see small victories only then will you see yourself with more confidence and motivation. You can do it, I am rooting for you!
What are some of the things that you did to achieve transitioning from 2 incomes to 1? Leave comments below.