Increasing household income, part 1

In a previous post, I wrote about why my husband and I are interested in creating a lifestyle sustainable by one income. I focused on cutting expenses and saving money. In summary, our formula  includes (1) reducing and eliminating expenses (2) paying off the remainder of our credit card debt (3) building a very healthy savings account and (4) increasing our household income.

We haven’t reached the goal of a one-income lifestyle yet. And it may be some time before we do. Even if I subtract the amount we are putting towards debt reduction and savings, we still rely on approximately 75% of our take-home pay to meet our current monthly expenses.

In reality, we could probably scrape by without that “added” 25%  we are currently relying on. Even with our fairly strict spending budget, we do allow ourselves several luxuries we could eliminate in a real bind. For example, we could cancel our cable. We could stop going out to eat once or twice a week. We could stop buying beer and wine. We could stop buying some organic groceries, stop meeting friends a few times a month for drinks, stop giving to charity, stop contributing to retirement funds, stop hosting people in our home, and stop going camping or out to the Oregon coast from time to time.

The problem with those drastic measures is that I don’t believe that would be any fun, or sustainable, for any extended amount of time. That’s why if we ever needed to go down to one income for any significant amount of time, I’d like for our lifestyle to still include at least some of those luxuries.

But how would we maintain our current lifestyle on one income if we still rely on 75% of our take-home pay to cover all those expenses?

In addition to saving and budgeting, we are also always looking for ways to individually increase our incomes. That way, if we did have to rely on just one paycheck, that one paycheck would be as high as reasonably possible. As a side note, I should specify that we are definitely work/life balance people. We don’t work insane amounts of hours nor are we interested in careers that require that sort of sacrifice. If we were interested in working 60 plus hours a week, I’m sure we could raise our monthly take-home pay but the expense of time outweighs the benefit for us.

Over the past seven years, we’ve both employed various strategies to ensure we are making a fair salary. Increasing our household income truly is a joint goal, one that we both need to work towards. Stay tuned. On Monday I’ll share some strategies that have worked for us.

In the meantime, you can check out some of my other posts about household finances. I previously wrote about how we established a budget and bought a condo instead of a house. I also wrote about my feelings on frugality here and here.

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