You can expect some ups and downs when it comes to raising a family on one income. But there are also rules to making a single income home run smoothly. And, surprisingly, it has nothing to do with how much you make. So keep these five rules in mind when one partner is financially supporting your household.
1. Full disclosure
Trust and respect are vital to a healthy marriage. And when one partner holds all of the financial chips it becomes even more important. Whoever brings home the bacon needs to be honest about exactly how much bacon there is to fry up. No covert accounts, no hidden stashes, no secret savings. Be truthful about exactly what’s coming in AND about what’s going out. Keeping the economic truth from your partner does no one in the home any good. Make adjustments as needed if ends aren’t meeting. But don’t turn a blind eye and dig a hole your household can’t climb out of.
2. Split decisions
In a one-income home, all money is household money. That means all decisions are household decisions. Little expenditures here and there for personal entertainment is fine on the fly, but big purchases and all bills need to be well-thought-out and go through the both of you. Find the balance between what both of you want and make the decision that’s within your means and best for everyone.
3. Equal opportunity
Each person has the right to have their needs met, regardless of who goes out to work and brings in the bread. A happy single-income home gives equal opportunity to each partner to satisfy their needs, wants and desires – all within the monthly budget, of course. The breadwinner’s needs don’t come first because they make the money. The hierarchy starts with basic needs of the household, like power and food. Then comes the needs of the kids, like school expenses and healthcare. Then comes the adults. The bread winner may need a weekend getaway, while the stay-at-home spouse might desire a nice night out of the house. And planned right, you can do both!
4. Power down
No power plays are allowed in a single-income household. Displaying control with your money is a surefire way to bring tension and resentment into the home. It creates a sense of entrapment and imbalance, silencing desires and invalidating feelings. When the breadwinner starts to feel like things should automatically go their way because they earn the cash, they need to remind themselves of all the things that are taken care of by the stay-at-home partner – and all without a hefty paycheck! Life could be a lot less convenient and comfortable if you both went to work. So count your blessings as much as you count your money.
Having one partner stay home has its benefits and drawbacks. As long as the income meets the needs of the household, the big issues will come from how that money is treated. Power dynamics surrounding money can have serious effects on your marriage and family. So it’s imperative to understand how money affects your household and relationship before anyone decides to stay at home.