What would you do if you lost $1,100 of your monthly income? Would you be able to survive?
Recently my family had to take a pay cut. Jason & I both earn a steady income working the full time jobs that we love. But of course, we were always looking for ways to earn more. (Most of us are familiar with the Student loans struggle)
The two bedroom condo we live in now used to be shared. Before Pepper moved in with us, we had no use for the extra room. So, we rented it out for about $500-$700 per month (utilities included) depending on how many people were living in the room. We did this for a year and a half and it helped us tremendously.
We are also working a side business with my father. Making smoked meat one weekend a month and earned another $400-$600, profit. (Could you imagine if we did that every weekend? Oh, the paper!) It was nice to live a life where we didn't have to check our bank accounts to see if we had enough money.
But suddenly, my relationship with my father went sour. So we decided to stop doing business with him. There went our extra $400-$600. But, we figured we still had our room mates, so we were going to be just fine. But then our room mates decided to move out a little earlier than expected. Which took us by surprise, but being the "bright side" people we try to be.. we used it to our advantage. With Pepper having just moved in with us, we decided to renovate the second room and turned it into our kids room.
But still, that put us another $700 negative. So how we're we going to make our lives work taking an $1,100 income cut? Let me tell you what we've done so far.
1. Phone Plans
Jason and I, though we've been dating for nearly 3 years, have been on separate phone plans. So we decided to jump on the same plan & lessen our data.
2. Turning off the Cable
We decided that shutting it off wouldn't really be much of a sacrifice. Since we rarely watch TV and when we do, it's on Netflix. So really, why we're we even paying for this in the first place?
Technically, because I'm not married, I am a single mother of our 5 year old & our unborn. So I applied & qualified for WIC. A federally funded supplemental program that helps Women, Infants and Children (WIC) with foods like Milk, Eggs, Yogurt, Bread, etc. I went ahead and applied and it has saved us hundreds on groceries. Also shopping in bulk at Costco saves us a bunch too.
4. Switching Health Insurance Plans
My employer offers health benefits, we have the option to choose from Kaiser or HMSA. I was on HMSA because that's the insurance my psychologist takes. But it costs me a little over $100 a month. So I switched to Kaiser which cost nothing to me. However, I did not want to stop seeing my therapist.. So I went ahead and applied for Medicare's HMSA-Quest integration plan. I now have double coverage at no cost to me. Win-win.
We do a lot of driving to the other side of the island to visit family & we've recently decided to start turning down some events. Most events actually. We spend a lot of money on gas (which is not cheap, here in Hawai'i). This is actually a win for me because I'm in my third trimester and I'm tired half of the time anyway.
6. Weekly Budget
Lastly, we have a strict weekly budget that we review once a week to see where our money goes and what we can do to lessen some costs. We've cut out extra curricular activities like going to the movies or those spontaneous target trips. We are no longer in the same place where we don't have to check our bank accounts. Doing this keeps us responsible for our spending and opens our eyes to things we could be spending less on. Like monthly subscriptions to apps.
Doing these 6 things has helped us, but no, it does not completely make up for the $1,100 loss. But with all these little changes, I've noticed that we are still able to be truly happy. Even with the smaller budget we are still able to live in paradise, afford our beautiful condo next to the pool, take care of our children, put food on the table & provide for our families needs.
And the best part, the beaches are free 😎🌊
This is definitely a learning experience for us, and a little bit of a challenge. But I personally feel confident that we can make it. If you have any suggestions for cutting out monthly budget, feel free to comment or email me! I'm always open to listening to different perspectives.
Thanks for reading,