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By Thea Theresa English

How you can raise a family on a modest salary

Too often we think we need a big salary in order to raise a family and live well but for decades many families purchased or rented homes with modest salaries while still having enough time to spend with each other. You can still live this way today; it takes delayed gratification and hard work to achieve this work-family balance. Here are tips on doing it.

Budget every penny that comes in

It is important to budget your income if you have a modest salary because it ensures that you are able to sustain your family financially for years. Start by writing down all sources of income and how often you receive the income. Then you will need to write down a list of the necessary expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, taxes and credit card bills. After this you can write your miscellaneous expenses such as cable or internet service. Once you do this write down the surplus money you have after paying bills. Use some of the surplus money for savings.

Cut down on credit card usage

Once you pay down your credit card debts, it would be wise to stop using them for a period of time because when you cut back on credit card usage, it is less likely that you will have to struggle with long term credit card debt. This enables you to save more of your income towards long term goals such as your child's education or a family vacation next summer.

No more impulse shopping

You want to stay away from impulse shopping because you waste money by doing this, and that wasted money sets you farther away from the long term financial stability that your family needs. Instead you should engage in needs-based shopping. You might want a new TV set but at the moment you need to buy a new refrigerator since the current one no longer works.

Choose an affordable housing option

Look for a home that falls within your income level and if you buy a home, don't borrow more funds than you need even if you are qualified to do so. Sometimes you might need to move to a cheaper neighborhood or city in order to live within your means.

Find free activities for the kids

Living well on a modest salary also means that you should look for free or low-cost activities for the kids to participate in. If the local recreation center offers free swimming and basketball classes in the summer, enroll the kids. Prepare some snacks and drive on a long highway with the kids while holding fun conversations.

Save for emergencies

Another thing you should do is save your money for emergencies. By doing this you reduce the need for payday loans or government benefits. Each pay period you should set aside funds for the savings account and you will have less to worry about when hard times come.

It is possible to live comfortably on a modest salary with effort, resourcefulness and a new mindset.

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