It’s not easy. Moving from a two-income lifestyle to a one-income family is challenging. It’s not the attachment to “stuff” that’s difficult. It’s getting rid of the unnecessary “stuff” that creates the problem. Most often the things that need to be adjusted or removed when transitioning to one income include the home, unnecessary debt and the lifestyle.
The idea to move into a smaller, less expensive home sounds reasonable. It would definitely save on expenses. But in today’s economy, it can be more difficult than anticipated. With foreclosures and downsizing on the upside, there are record numbers of homes for sale.
Eliminating debt can be a slow process. It starts with changing the behaviors that resulted in the debt. Then it involves establishing a budget so that you are in charge of where your money goes…you tell it where to go vs. wondering where it went. Sometimes living on a budget can seem limiting and often too difficult to maintain.
Changing your lifestyle can prove to be challenging. Clipping coupons and shopping in bargain stores can be hard for some to adjust to. Cooking more meals for lunches and dinners instead of eating out can mean more time in the kitchen and later evenings.
Although you know that these changes will move you closer to your goal of being home with your children, it still is an adjustment, and sometimes a difficult adjustment. So what is the answer?
In The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book, there is an instruction that offers an answer. It states: “When facing a difficult task, act as though it is impossible to fail. If you’re going after Moby Dick, take along the tarter sauce. ”
Such wisdom is contained in these words. “…Act as though it’s impossible to fail.” So how does that look in a practical sense? When selling your home, do all you can to make it attractive to buyers. Declutter, paint, decorate, and clean. Talk to a realtor and get ideas. And the “tarter sauce”? Start deciding where you will live next. Begin looking for your new home. Plan how you will decorate it, who will get which room, and what flowers to plant in the yard.
When tackling debt, do all you can to eliminate it. Get an extra part-time job. Hold a garage sale. Have the kids sell lemonade. Find creative ways to cut expenses or generate income. Sign up for online coupons or start a home-based business. Find creative recipes, swap dinners with a neighbor or friend, or eat “out” at a friend’s house. And the tarter sauce? Make a new budget that reflects the debt being paid in full and that money allocated to other areas.
When you act as though it’s impossible to fail, then you are more likely to find ways to make sure you succeed. However, if you do fail, you will be in a much better position to try again.. So as you go after your Moby’s in life, be sure to take along your tarter sauce.
 H. Jackson Brown Jr., The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book, Vol. I, number 271