How To Keep A Household Budget With A Single Income

Guest Blog by Carol Ferguson

What gives me the right to teach you about household budgeting? I’ve been there and done that and as the saying goes: “I’ve got the T-shirt”.

After 18 years of marriage, it was over. Why doesn’t matter. Whose fault it was doesn’t matter. That was part of my “moving on”. It took me a while to get to that conclusion. I went through all the emotions – anger, fear, resentment, acceptance etc.. I lost a lot of confidence in myself…if he didn’t want me, who would? I spent a lot of time thinking about what happened, not to blame, but to understand and to learn.

In the middle of all this soul-searching and being mother and father to my two young children, of course, the bills had to get paid. How was I going to do a budget with only one income? How could I do this without drastically affecting the lifestyle my children were used to?

  • I have been saving for retirement since I was 18 years old, so that definitely had to continue. Monthly deposits right off my paycheck.
  • Then of course the necessities – mortgage, heat, electricity, car, food etc… I was ok so far.
  • Also, made sure I gave to those less fortunate. Again, right off my paycheck and only a few dollars if that’s all I could afford at the time.
  • I gave myself and my children a treat and every year I saved all my income tax return money and we went away for spring break. We all needed a break and rather than change my paycheck to pay more taxes every week, I learned to live with a little less so we could have a big payout at tax time!

The single most important thing I did, my AHA moment, to stay on track financially even though I was down to one income – was to be very frugal. I only went to the store if I needed something and only bought what I needed. If it was not a necessity I talked myself out of buying it. I would always say “Do I really NEED this?” If the answer was no, I did not buy it. Now some of you might say this can’t be done but I assure you, with practice and patience and support, it can. Just don’t go to the store! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall back into bad habits. Realize what you’ve done and keep trying. I know you can do it! If you truly want to be financially successful, you need to work on this step.

We went out for dinner only once a month. We had birthday parties at home. We had a sandbox in the backyard and we went to the park to play. I kept my car for 14 years. I still have my refrigerator and oven after 26 years. Yes, new appliances would be nice but, these still work. I buy second-hand or used when I can. My daughter is even better than I am at this…she uses shower curtains for drapes; she shops at second-hand clothing stores; she buys sample sizes of paint to paint a wall or furniture etc.. And when it comes right down to it, I would rather spend my money on experiences than things. There are so many ways to spend less and still enjoy life and each other!

I recently read a book called “The Millionaire Women Next Door”. All the women in the book are millionaires and while they all have different backgrounds and upbringing, they all became wealthy. They are not celebrity millionaires, they are ordinary women, even housewives, that have 2 things in common. They work hard and smart and they are frugal. And those that are the most frugal are also the biggest givers. And they all got where they are by budgeting first, then they got wealthy.

So now, I own my house, I am on early retirement at age 55, I started a successful business, I travel and I help others to achieve financial success.

And to help you achieve financial success and by first discovering how to do a budget, I invite you to claim your Free 4 Day Email Mini-Course at:

Because we all deserve to be financially free.

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Carol Ferguson is a divorced mother of 2 wonderful children.  Carol’s husband divorced her when our children were 6 and 10 years old.  She is now 57 and financially free, owns a business, she works because she wants to, she owns her house and travels all over the world. She is passionate about showing divorced women, that they can manage their money, that they can understand finances and that they can become financially free.  They can be just as good at the money game as men, maybe even better.


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