How To Stretch Your Work from Home Income

stretch your work from home income

When I started working for Cloud 10 I was so happy. The job offer couldn’t have come at a better time because that’s when my sweetie wasn’t working due to a work-related injury. Sure he was receiving workman’s comp but it wasn’t nearly as much as he used to bring home.

That meant I had to make my money stretch and stretching a $10.00 an hour paycheck to support the needs of a family of six was going to be a challenge. Since my check was dedicated to groceries, the utility bills and other expenses, the first thing I had to do was change the way I shopped and managed my expenses.

Don’t think I’ve gone and reinvented the wheel and did something so spectacular that I lived comfortably on $10 an hour. No way, Jose! What I was able to do was learn how to stretch my dollar and keep more money in my purse.

Here are some adjustments I made to stretch my paycheck.

Monthly Bills

I put our monthly expenses on an Excel sheet. I have a list of all my creditors, when the bill is due, and how much it is. What I like about this is I can see whether I’m saving money from the previous month.

Check if your electricity provider has monitoring features. My provider sends me an email once a week with my usage information. I admit I ignored these at first but then I realized it could help me make quick adjustments to lower my usage for the following week and by the end of the month have an affordable bill.

Food Expenses

Feeding a family of six especially when it includes a 6’3” teen that weighs about 300 pounds who has a hearty football player’s appetite well, the grocery bill tends to add up.

The first change I made was making a grocery list and sticking to it. I started clipping coupons and going to stores that have programs I could use. Kroger has a point system that takes .10 cents off the cost per gallon of fuel. And as a card holder, I get more coupons in the mail tailored to my shopping habits.

Shopping Habits

When we went from buying whatever we wanted to only buying what we needed, we’ve never had such a rude awakening. I had to learn how to be a savvy shopper. I found out about sites like Ebates and BeFrugal that offer cash back rebate coupons for all our shopping needs. Not only was I saving money but I made a little extra money on the side too.

Other Suggestions

If you’re going for take-out, don’t miss out on “kids eat free” nights.

Take advantage of coupons and deals like two-for-one meals.

Don’t fall for those deals “you couldn’t pass up”. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.

You can also call and ask creditors to lower your credit card interest rate. As they say, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

If you travel and stay at hotels, look for promotions like a free night’s stay or kids eat free.

Over To You

If you’re living on a work-from-home income what are some of the ways you’re stretching your dollar? Let’s help each other out and exchange ideas. Fill out the comments section below.

I would really appreciate it if you shared this post with anyone you know who could use these suggestions!

corina

Corina Ramos

Corina is a work-from-home mom rolling with the punches while trying to balance a family and an online business. She is dealing with teens, grey hair, and wrinkles all at the same time! She recently launched a new blog known as Not Now Mom's Busy which talks about teen issues, juggling family life with work life, living on a budget, and so much more.

Follow Corina on Twitter at Corina Ramos or Facebook.


Comments

    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 07/17/2013 5:10 a.m. #

      Well I don't work from home full-time, but I still like to stretch my dollars. I do this through deals and coupons, making sure I'm always buying the best value on things, and trying to learn DIY repairs and home maintenance.

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/17/2013 10:14 a.m. #

        That's the way to do it DC!

        I don't know about those DIY though...Every time my hubs has a project he always has to buy a new gadget specifically for it. But I'm catching on, LOL.

        Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!

    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 07/17/2013 8:56 a.m. #

      We benefit from many of the same things in running our own business. One of my favorites is cutting down on our gas mileage. Now that our commute is all of 50 feet, we spend so little on gas.

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/17/2013 10:20 a.m. #

        I love that a full tank of gas can go seven days! The summer break is when I save the most on fuel but now that school is about to start, I'll be driving more.

        Sicorra knows all about that LOL :). Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation! Have a great day!

    • krantcents

      krantcents 07/17/2013 9:20 a.m. #

      Difficult times make us more creative in our finances. I learned a lot when I was in that situation as a college student. When things get better, don't forget what you learned. Good luck.

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/17/2013 10:26 a.m. #

        That is so true krantcents...I've learned so much through this journey.

        Thank you for that advice...I've become rather frugal and I'll stay that way too.

        Have a great day, Happy Hump Day!

    • Tanya @ The Heavy Purse

      Tanya @ The Heavy Purse 07/17/2013 11:09 a.m. #

      I definitely feel your pain, Corina. I'm stretching my dollar as far as possible these days too. Some days it's pretty easy and other days it's hard and I just want to spend! :) Meal planning and comparison shopping has made a difference for me. I quickly learned that grocery stores are more expensive than Target for pantry staples. I try to shop once a week in a loop so I hit all the stores with my list and knowing where the best deals are.

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/17/2013 11:44 a.m. #

        Looks like you have your plan in place girlfriend!

        I stayed away from Target and Walmart...even though they have great prices, I always end up getting more than what's on my list LOL.

        Now I can enjoy a trip there now and then but I still love Kroger for the savings on fuel.

        Thanks for stopping by and sharing your what's been working for you :)! Happy Wednesday!

    • Jake @ Common Cents Wealth

      Jake @ Common Cents Wealth 07/17/2013 11:23 a.m. #

      I think coupons and finding deals is key to making your dollar stretch. I rarely buy anything at the grocery store without it being on sale or having a coupon. As long as you're not brand loyal, you can almost always find something on sale.

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/17/2013 11:48 a.m. #

        My husband always asks me why it takes so long for me to make out my grocery list. When I break it down to him from meal planning to coupon clipping he's shaking his head (LOL) but he knows at the end of the day we're saving money.

        I have to admit I'm brand loyal but if I'll save a dollar, I won't mind trying another brand. :)

        Thanks for keeping the conversation going :). Happy Wednesday!

    • Bren

      Bren 07/17/2013 1:31 p.m. #

      Wow! Great tips Corina! I don't care how much money someone has or doesn't have but there are times all of us could use these tips. Thanks for sharing!

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/17/2013 2:45 p.m. #

        You're right about that girlfriend!

        I'm always on the lookout for coupons and sales! It's like hitting the jackpot :)

        Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Bren! Happy Hump Day girly!

    • Arelis Cintron

      Arelis Cintron 07/17/2013 3:33 p.m. #

      These are great tips! I myself use an excel sheet with all of my monthly commitments and it helps keep me on budget. I'd also suggest, like the grocery store, cutting back on things that are not necessity. Basic or no cable maybe? Might make the kids super crazy or your husband, but if you could do more family activities, might be worth the trouble. Or if you have cell phones, cutting off either the cell phone or the house phone if you have one. In the summer months, when it is hot, think about spending the day at the mall, to lower your cooling bill for the day, depending on the distance, if its not close by, might not be worth it because of gas $ spent. I also limit most of my shopping to one store, to reap the rewards of getting points to use off of gasoline, which is pretty pricey.

      Great tips Corina!

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/17/2013 6:53 p.m. #

        Hey there Arelis,

        Good to see you here :)!

        I like the idea of the cable...I pay out the nose for that but then again it's our means of entertainment when we have movie night. I'm not sure if my husband would let me finish the sentence if I were to tell him I'm cutting down on the cable...his beloved ESPN. LOL.

        Thanks for adding more value to this post...your suggestions are awesome! Hope you're having a great week!

    • Cynthia

      Cynthia 07/18/2013 3:38 a.m. #

      Hi Corina,

      When I moved to the United Kingdom, we all of a sudden realized that our income though the same felt like we have taken a 1/2 income cut due to the exchange rate. I really had to get creative. There was no more buying a toy on a whelm or going out to eat just because I did not feel like cooking.

      We really have to budget out dinners out to special occasions and toys were only done on a reward system. We purchased games and invested in movie subscriptions.

      At first it felt like a punishment but over the course of the three years, I really improved on my cooking and food presentation skills and noticed that my child appreciated her toys more.

      We moved back to the US this week and I plan to keep up with the traditional. We don't have to be so budget conscious now but I think that we could use the extra money to save for retirement if we stick to a similar budget.

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/23/2013 4:58 p.m. #

        Oh girl I felt like we were being punished too...but
        like you I learned to love my frugal way of living. It makes those special purchases sweeter :)

        It sounds like you've got a great plan there lady...we should all keep our retirement in mind when it comes to expenses and saving money.

        Welcome back to the US! Hope you're having a great Tuesday and getting situated at home :)

    • Donna

      Donna 07/18/2013 10:22 a.m. #

      Corina, this statement is so true - "Don’t fall for those deals “you couldn’t pass up”. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it." I was (and still am on occasion) guilty of this. I thought if it was such a great deal I just couldn't pass it up.

      I think this should go to anyone... even if you're not living on a budget. Honestly, it's just wasteful, buying things you don't even need just because it's on sale. We have become such a wasteful nation, and I'd love to see this mentality change. Just my two cents. :)

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/23/2013 5:03 p.m. #

        I myself am guilty of that too...especially when it comes to ice cream :).

        I think the department stores know as consumers fall for those deals...like you said, we have to change our mindset.

        Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about this :). Hope you're having a great week so far!

    • Ashutosh

      Ashutosh 07/21/2013 1:59 a.m. #

      Hi Corina,

      I use credit cards but I use it diligently so that I never have to make any over payment. I use the free rotation cycle so that there are no charges levied on me. Yes, it helps me enjoy a certain sum of money that completely comes interest free and I am sure that many people around can do the same.

      Thanks for sharing your tips. It is the small small points that helps us save some good money in long time and the worst part is that, most of the time we don't value small savings.

    • Adrienne

      Adrienne 07/21/2013 1:56 p.m. #

      Hey Cori,

      I cannot imagine having to take care of a family the size of yours on $10 an hour. Is that even possible?

      Okay, here comes my confession. I've always been a bargain shopper and probably not to the extent of some people but I always buy the lower priced items because I know that they are all really just the same. I also don't go out to eat a lot, seldom really, and I never buy anything I don't really need or have to have.

      I got that from my Mom, darn her! But, I don't have much debt at all because of it and my expenses are low. Granted I don't have a big family to take care of but I am only banking on what I bring in. Man oh man, that's got to count for something.

      Great job girl, I'm very impressed.

      ~Adrienne

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/23/2013 5:24 p.m. #

        Mama's always know best don't they? I wish I had taken my mom's advice and I'm sure if she knew I said that, she'd sing the "I told ya so" song LOL.

        Yes, that time for us was definitely a test of our resilience and faith.

        Now I'm all about finding the best deals and using coupons to save money. Lesson learned that's for sure. :)

        Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Adrienne. Hope you're having a great week!

    • Mayura

      Mayura 07/23/2013 12:17 p.m. #

      Hey Corina,

      Nice suggestions indeed! :) I don't think we should use these suggestions only when we run into hard times. I see people around me freak out when they run out of enough money. They could have saved more :)

      Yet I'm not responsible to pay the bills, cover food expenses or such at home :) But I do contribute time to time, and take care of my own expenses. I'm a firm believer on having things that we need, not everything we can afford. It's easy for me to be organized too.

      I'd like to add recycling and focusing on long-term benefits when we buying stuff Corina :) Might looks like costy at first, but it will really save more bucks than what you spent over time.

      You both have a lovely week, Corina and Sicorra :)

      Cheers...

      • Corina Ramos

        Corina Ramos 07/23/2013 5:29 p.m. #

        Thanks Mayura!

        You remind me of my 19-year-old.He's got his job but can't afford to be out on his own just yet. And yes, having the mindset of making purchases for only things you need rather than what we want can definitely help us in the long run :)

        I'm sure your family appreciates when and what you can contribute :).

        Thank you for adding recycling...we should all be conscious about that. It helps our environment and our wallets :)

        Thanks so much for stopping by and adding value to this post! Hope you're having a great week!

    • SuburbanFinance

      SuburbanFinance 07/26/2013 1:29 p.m. #

      Taking advantage of coupons and better control on shopping are something I would go for. I also monitor my monthly bills regularly in order to avoid any mistake!

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