ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE IN ASSOCIATION WITH VAUXHALL

INSPIRED IDEAS: Fiona Harrold, LIFE COACH

Planning for the future

My wife and I have been married for three years now and we've both decided that we're ready (mentally not financially) to start a family. My wife will not return to work after having children as she's always wanted to be a full-time mum and I fully support her decision. Our main concern is that we will lose her salary and we have no substantial savings to fall back on. We've become quite accustomed to living on a fairly decent joint salary and while we know we can't maintain the lifestyle we've been used to, I'm concerned that in the future, I alone will have to feed more than two mouths. Can you suggest any lifestyle changes, or clever budgeting ideas that may help? Matt, 38

Hi Matt, congratulations on your forward thinking. It's really quite unusual to see someone planning for such a life-changing event as having a baby. So, you're way ahead from the start. It's worth bearing in mind that, plan as you might, there's no guarantee that your wife will want to be a stay-athome mum just because it feels right now. But it's great to plan to have that choice rather than feel forced back to work. I think it's far more exciting to think about ways of making money rather than ways to make do with less. It brings out our creative side. Let's think about that first off:

1. Assess your worth. Your most valuable asset, in terms of cash flow, is your “earning ability.” You could lose everything you own – your house, your car – but as long as you still had your earning ability, you could make it all back and more. Take stock of your unique talents and abilities. Your job is to identify your special areas of uniqueness and then to commit yourself to becoming an expert in those areas.

2. Money-making opportunities are everywhere. Now is the time to get thinking about turning some of you and your wife's combined wisdom and “earning ability” into a money-making idea, in addition to your salaried jobs. This can be a joint project that you research and begin now in your spare time that can be managed and monitored without too much hands-on involvement, that gives you both the flexibility to do as little or as much as you want, and that generates extra income. This could be anything from a cleaning company, dog-walking agency, book-keeping service... whatever you can set up easily, imaginatively and can be run from home and in the evenings.

3. Plan for two pay rises! Now that you're aware of your stock and its value, figure out how you can offer additional benefits to your company in order to get not one, but two promotions and pay rises in as short a time as possible. Think about adding to their bottom line so that your increase is entirely justified. This is the time to get ambitious and move up that ladder two rungs at a time.

4. Where does your money go? Calculate EXACTLY what your monthly expenditure is. List EVERYTHING. Overestimate if you are not sure. Knowing what you spend and how you spend per month is one of the most useful pieces of information you can have. Decide where you can cut costs painlessly, leaving less of a shortfall for you to make up without your wife's salary.

5. Curb your consumerism. The culture of earning more to spend more just doesn't add up. And buying more stuff to store, tidy and take care of adds to the chores. A simpler, pared-down life is much more refined and desirable. Think before you buy. Do you really need it or really want it or are you being persuaded that you do? Watch your motivation. Buy less and buy better. A connoisseur doesn't surround himself with masses of cheap tat from thirdworld sweatshops, but carefully chosen objects that he cherishes and passes on to the next generation.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
News
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
News
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
News
Could Greece leave the EU?
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

    £7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

    £27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

    Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'