May 7, 2010
Making Ends Meet
IconMAKING ENDS MEET By Joanne Watson Getting By On One Income If your spouse's income alone doesn't cover all your expenses, you may havethought putting your child in day-care and working outside the home was youronly option. However, by lowering your expenses or raising your spouse's income (or acombination of both) you may be able to stay home with your child and stillmake ends meet. Expenses With the expenses of you working (daycare, a second car, work clothes,lunches out, a possible higher tax bracket due to combined incomes) you mayfind that the second job isn't bringing in as much money as you thought. By cutting back here and there, you may be able to make up for thedifference, and still stay home with your child. Money-saving tips: Your Mortgage You can check mortgage rates on-line at sites like and . If your current mortgageis at a much higher rate, you may be able to bring your bills in line byrefinancing at a lower interest rate. Groceries Plan meals ahead for 1 week, and only go to the grocery store after you'veeaten. You are much less likely to blow your budget on impulse buys. Take advantage of sales and coupons. Try to stock up when there is a greatprice, and check your pantry before going to the store. On-line coupons are available on sites such as. and that can help you lower your expenses. Major purchases Another great feature of the Internet is that you can comparison shopwithout running all over town. On major purchases, you may save asubstantial amount of money. Surf the sites you are familiar with, and don't forget to check the searchengines for new places to shop. Sites like can help you findthe best bargains on larger items Car payments Can you do without the second car? If your husband works nearby, maybe hecan leave you the car if he takes the bus or if you drop him off. Whether you have one or two cars, if your payments are too high, think abouttrading in and reducing your payment. Keep track of spending. Those "helpful" ATM cards may be using up your freedom $20 at a time. It'seasy to lose track of spending when you don't register each purchase in acheckbook. Put away your ATM and credit cards. Try using only checks for 30days, and for smaller items, decide at the beginning of the month exactlyhow much money you want to spend. Take that out in cash and put it in anenvelope. Then, when it's gone-it's gone-you can't spend money that isn'tthere. A useful guide to cutting back is You Can Afford to Stay Home by MaliaWyckoff and Mary Snyder. Income Sometimes, no matter how much you cut back or how many coupons you clip, youjust need more money. By helping to raise your husband's income, he may be able to make up for thedifference in what you would be bringing home in after-tax (and afterwork-related expense) dollars, so you can stay home.. The just released book, Team Work: How to Help Your Husband make More Money,So You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom by Joanne Watson provides strategies on howto build your husband's confidence, help him negotiate a raise, find a new,higher-paying job, or build a business of his own, and how to use theInternet to help him succeed. Team Work tips include: Build his confidence - and you may build his income. Remind him of how terrific he is by asking himto tell you about the five accomplishments he is most proud of. Tell him youknow he is worth more, and his employer is lucky to have him Network Think about who you know. One of those people may be in a position to helpyour husband by introducing him to a potential employer. Employers oftenprefer to hire someone who has been referred to them by a person they trust.Also encourage your husband to join the trade association for his professionand add to his network. Find one at Help your husband to learn new skills. Knowledge is power-and more money. Take advantage of sites that offer freeon-line training such as or , and check outthe low cost management training from the American Management Association at . Offer to watch the kids so he can study. Help "market" your husband. Make sure his resume shows him in the best possible light. You can get yourhusband's resume re-done professionally at a site like . oruse your local phone book. Ask to see samples of their work before choosinga resume writer. Find out if your husband is underpaid. Check out the salary surveys at or at the reference desk ofyour local library to find out what the average pay is for your husband'sposition. If he is underpaid, print out the survey for him to use innegotiating for a raise. Practice for success Help your husband practice asking for a raise or interviewing for a new job.By being prepared, he is much more likely to be cool, calm and collected inthe actual interview. Drill the possible responses and his come-backs to his raise request untilhe is comfortable and confident at it. Rather than let your financial situation dictate your decision about whetherto stay home or return to work, getting (and using) the right informationcan empower you to make choices based on what is right for you and yourfamily. Ed. Note: Tips from Team Work: How to Help Your Husband Make More Money, SoYou Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom by Joanne Watson are re-printed with permission from Family Books. Permission granted for use on

Posted by Staff at 1:29 AM