Survive the Summer on a Single Income

Scott McEachern |

As most of you may know, my wife Stephanie is a teacher and we have a 15 month old son, Elliott. What that translates to financially is 12 months of maternity leave, 3 months of teaching, and now a summer with Steph earning zero income (by choice). Below are the steps we took to make sure our plan could be accomplished.

Proper Planning

Sure, Steph could teach summer school or get a part time job, but when we found out we were expecting and looked ahead at the next 2 years, we realized that if we started planning at that exact moment, we could save enough so she wouldn’t have to work over this summer. We set up automatic withdrawals to a separate savings account from each of our paycheques so the money would be saved for these upcoming months.

We figured we would need about $2,500 for each month to help pay the bills, or $5,000 total in savings to get through summer. While we were both still working full time early in the pregnancy, we began saving $500 a month. This became such a habit (as we altered our spending behaviours) that even while Steph was on maternity leave, we kept saving the $500 per month. Ultimately we used some of the money to visit my sister in BC recently, but the rest will help us get through the summer worry-free.

Free/Cheap Entertainment

Living in Barrie, we’re very lucky. There’s a beautiful lake, great parks, splash pads, family resource centres – all for free! Between Barrie and its surrounding communities, there is a free event every weekend in the summer we can attend: Kempenfest, Promenade Days, Craft Beerfest (that’s mostly for my enjoyment!) We’re also big fans of the zoo, so we decided to get season pass tickets to the Elmvale Zoo, which are pretty inexpensive and will provide hours of entertainment over the next few months.

Lowered Bills

Here’s where some big lifestyle changes happened. Cable was cut (really, we just never got cable when we moved 2 years ago). Gym memberships were cancelled. One of our cellphones still doesn’t have a data plan. We bought our second car used, with cash so we wouldn’t have monthly payments. 


Over time, we’ve made a series of decisions that have helped us save money and not impact our cash flow over the summer. (If you don’t know what cash flow is, I explain in a video here). It has given us the flexibility and opportunity to spend much of the summer as a family.

I love planning for these rare opportunities and I love helping others plan for them too. If you have a lofty financial goal, let’s chat and make sure you achieve it!