By Tony Ogunlowo In an attempt to raise much needed…
Let’s face it, a lot of families in Nigeria depend on one source of income which is usually from the husband. And a lot must at one point or the other deal with living on one stream of income due to various reasons which may include the wife quitting her job to take care of the kids, unexpected loss of job from either of the couple, or the decision to start a new career path which might require taking some academic courses to be qualified. However, the case may be, the first few months of depending on one source of income would be the longest and the toughest if you are not prepared for it.
You might not need this now, but whenever this becomes inevitable, you would need to prepare well ahead for those months of depending on one source of income and below are some guidelines to get started.
Update your budget
This seems obvious, but many people still don’t have a budget. Without a budget in place, it’ll be near impossible to keep things on track. The first thing you would need to do is to update your budget based on the new income. For instance, if you have been budgeting on a joint income of N600, 000 and you would need to live on a single income of N400,000, you would need to also cut your budget to accommodate just the things the new income can afford. You can no longer live a N600, 000 lifestyle on a N400,000 income, it just won’t work.
When setting your budget, you have to be ruthless. Focus on your fixed needs, and cut off the things you do not need. This is the time to stop hanging out regularly and paying the bills for the tight G’s. Even if you can afford it, you would still need to cut some if not all of the extra splurges off because you are not quite certain of how long you might need to live on one source of income. To make this work more effectively, assume you have no savings (that’s if you had one before) because, at this point, your savings automatically becomes your emergency fund. If you had no savings before, well, you would have to start one now. Though it would not be as much, it’s still something.
Become a DIY Pro
The truth is, some of the things you are quick to call a repairman for are things you can do yourself. You can tighten the pipe to the kitchen zinc when it becomes loose and also fix the blocked drainage in the bathroom without calling the plumber, all you need is a plunger. And not only that, you can make your own smoothie or coffee without paying too much for just a cup when you can have a jug in the refrigerator. Moreover, since one person would be home more, you can go to the market and get the foodstuff and other things yourself. This also means you would be doing the cooking yourself, instead of eating out every day, and we all know eating out in Nigeria especially in Lagos is quite affordable, but not cheap. Therefore, for those minor things that cost extra Naira here and there, do it yourself. But this does not mean you should try the things that require a professional. Call a professional when you are certain you cannot do it yourself.
Start a hustle
If you are the one staying back for maternity reasons, academic reason or whatever reason, you should pick up a side hustle. Start with a hobby or something small that does not require your physical presence. It’s easier now with social media. You can sell something online. Get a supplier, get pictures of the items, and post it online. When you get an order, get a delivery agent to pick up from your supplier and deliver directly to your customer. Not bad right? And you necessarily don’t have to do so much.
Finally, there’s no doubt that dealing with a single income can be tough. You may be forced to make tough decisions, but if you prioritize things and have open discussions with your partner, things will hopefully be easier to manage, but if the needs become overwhelming, seek help fast from a financial institution close to you to ease the stress financially.