You’ve had it. One more day at your brick and mortar job and you might end up telling everyone exactly what you think of them. And then you might be out of a job anyway.
So what’s stopping you? (From quitting, that is, not going on a verbal tirade that might land you in an uncomfortable meeting with HR.)
For many people, it’s money. Whether you’re a single mama providing all the support or an equal partner in keeping the bills paid, suddenly losing that income would be a blow.
Instead of telling yourself it’s not possible to live on one income, live on a smaller side hustle income or otherwise cut back, work to make it possible. You may need to give up a few things, but I, for one, think the freedom of making a living on my own terms is worth it.
Not sure how to quit your job without ending up on the streets? Check out these ways to save money to quit your job.
Know How Much You Need to Cut
Start with a serious look at your budget. How much does your income contribute to the family bills? What happens if you quit? Will you still have enough with your spouse’s job to cover your expenses?
Before you start looking at costs to cut, figure out how much you need to cut. If your partner’s income covers most of the expenses, you don’t have as much work to do. But if your paycheck covers half the bills, you’re going to have to really get creative and scale back. You may need to get some side income going before you can tell your boss bye bye.
Either way, having your goal in mind is an important first step.
Look at Costs You’ll Eliminate by Quitting
Before you decide you can’t possibly afford to quit your job to freelance, start a business, work from home or otherwise make your own income, look at what you’re eliminating. By not working outside the home, you will cut back on many costs automatically.
When you factor in the costs of working, you may not actually be bringing home that much. For example, if you’re paying for daycare for two or more kids, you need a high-paying job to really bring home much after you cover daycare expenses.
Here are some potential money savings as soon as you quit your job:
- Work clothes
- Lunches at restaurants
- Gas or public transportation costs to get to work
Depending on your situation, you may be able to give up other expenses, too, including:
- Daycare for your kids
- Your car
- Memberships you held for work purposes
I didn’t give up my car when I started working at home. Some families work just fine with a single vehicle. Us? Not so much. We don’t really live in a place that makes it easy to be without a car. And, honestly, I like my freedom. I don’t want to sit at home until my husband gets home so I can run to the store or meet up with friends.
But you might live in an area that makes it very easy to go without a car during the day. If so, you can cut back on a lot of moola, depending on your specific situation, by selling one of your vehicles after you quit.
Potential cost savings by ditching the car include:
- Car payments
- Yearly registration
- Regular maintenance (oil changes, fluid refills, tires, etc.)
Even if you’re not making payments on the car, you still save in other areas. Plus, you get a chunk of money when you sell a car you own outright, which gives you a good start on your “I’m going to quit my job and wing it on my own with a really cool side hustle that I really hope works” plans.
Daycare is another one of those gray areas. If you have young kids, you may find it difficult to get much done with them at home. One option is to hire a mother’s helper or swap daycare with another entrepreneurial mom in the area. You still get some dedicated work time at a much cheaper rate than full-time daycare.
I started working from home full-time when my now 10-year-old was born. My son was almost 3 at the time. Let me tell you, you don’t get a lot of work done with a newborn and 3-year-old running around the house. But somehow I made it work without any childcare. My son went to preschool part-time. But otherwise, it was me, the kids and my freelance writing all day every day.
(We’ll just pretend like there weren’t days when I searched the local job listings convinced I couldn’t take another day.)
Bottom line: what you cut is up to you. Some things naturally fall off your budget. Others depend on just how much you need to cut and what lengths you’re willing to go to work from home.
Find Other Ways to Cut Back on Expenses
Your budget’s looking better when you factor in the savings of not working outside the home. But there’s still a gap. What do you do? Look for other ways to cut back.
Now, I’m not a financial expert. I’m thrifty. But I’m not a whiz with the numbers. But there are some very common-sense expenses that you can cut if you need to bridge the gap. Many of them are luxuries. It might feel painful to let them go. It all comes back to how bad you want this new lifestyle.
One obvious option is to downsize your home. You could potentially save a lot of cash each month. But for most people, that’s really only an option if you’re already living in a nice or large home. Selling a home and buying a new one does come with expenses, so you have to figure in the costs of that. Plus, who really wants to move? I mean, seriously. Packing. Sorting. Discovering you have 20 can openers. Organizing. Unpacking. It’s a lot of work.
Still, it is an option that many families make. Some even go so far as to sell most of their belongings and do the RV life, at least for a while. That option would be a guaranteed route to divorce for me. I may be optimistic, but I’m also realistic about how it would go trying to live in an RV with my family.
If you’re not able or willing to move to a cheaper place, look at easier ways to cut back on your spending. Here are some places to start:
- Cable (use cheaper streaming services instead)
- Gym memberships (exercise for free at home or in the community)
- Monthly memberships (unless they save you money on things you buy anyway like razors from Dollar Shave Club)
- Magazine subscriptions
- Hired services such as lawn care
Check out these other ways to save money:
- Cook at home as much as possible
- Space out trips to the salon a little longer (but not as long as my sometimes 6-month gaps!)
- Refinance loans
- Consolidate debt
- Ask for lower rates on credit card interest
- Call internet, cable and other providers to see if they’ll offer you a special if you keep those services
- Shop around for cheaper insurance (you can sometimes save hundreds of dollars by switching companies)
- Raise deductibles on insurance (just make sure you can afford those deductibles if something happens)
- Swap out incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient models
- Program your thermostat
- Make your home more energy-efficient in general
- Cut down on energy and water consumption
- Find cheaper entertainment options
- Buy fewer clothes
- Spend less on gifts or cut back on who you give gifts to around the holidays
Even when you feel like you’re already down to the bare bones in your budget, there are usually ways to cut back even more. During our tightest times, I always felt like we were already living frugally. But if I was really honest with myself, there were lots of little extras we let slip into the budget. It’s so easy to convince yourself that one little trip through the drive-thru to get the kids to stop whining won’t throw off the budget. But the truth is, those little $5, $10 and $20 stops add up quickly.
Track Your Spending
It seems like a tedious, unpleasant task (almost as bad as creating a budget!), but tracking your spending can reveal some pretty big money wasters. You don’t have to track forever. Just hold onto all those receipts for a week or a month or so. You’ll quickly see where your money goes.
The problem often happens at the store. You’re getting groceries. You’re having a rough day. So you toss in a little treat for yourself. Maybe it’s chocolate. Maybe it’s wine. Maybe it’s a new pair of shoes. But it eats into your budget.
Even the little expenses add up. Throwing a few splurges at the grocery store costs more. Buying a coffee each morning adds up.
Once you find those money leaks, make a conscious effort to stop them. Remind yourself why you’re cutting back
How are you cutting back so you can turn in your notice?