9 Life Changing Tips for living on one income

Tips for Living on one income

Do you want to know how you can live off one income with your family? Or perhaps you are already living on one income and looking for ways to thrive while doing so?

Do you have a dream of being a Stay At Home Mom, but don’t know how to make that happen?

If any of these questions apply to you, then you are in the right place.

We have always been a one income family. Mr Dentist and I have taken turns on who makes that one income, as our life circumstances have changed through the years. But when we had our first child, I knew that I wanted to stay home with him. And so we made it happen. 

I have been staying home ever since (and we now have 3 kiddos).

Living on one income with a family can be hard, but I promise it is not impossible. And, in fact, it is possible to reach your financial goals and thrive, while being a one income family.

Is it possible to live off one income?

In this world of two income households, it can seem impossible to live off income. But our little family is proof that it can be done! Like the old adage, where there is a will there is a way!

So, yes, it is possible to live off one income! The trick is to learn how to manage the one income well. You need to learn to live below your means and make your money work for you the best ways possible. 

Keep reading to learn tips to make living off one income easier.

How to live on one income with a family

Have a Budget

The first step to being able to live on one income is to create a budget that works for you family. If you have never budgeted before, or have tried and failed, I encourage you to try again.

The thing about budgets is that they can change and be adapted to how your family works and your priorities. Your budget does not need to be (and should not be) the same as someone else’s.

So if you have struggled budgeting in the past, try again. And give yourself time to find a budget that works for you–if you fail the first month, adjust and tweak it. Keep doing that until it works.

Budgeting For Beginners
Example Family Budget
Using a Budget Calendar with your budget
100+ Family Budget Categories to Master Your Budget
Free Printable Budget Planner

A budget really well help you see where your money is going so that you can plan where you want it to go in the future.

This means you will be able to meet all your financial obligations, because you will be prepared, even with having only one income.

Pay Off Debt

When your income is more restricted, you need as much of it as possible to live day to day. This also means that you need to pay off any debts you have, so your money isn’t immediately leaving once you get it.

Paying off debt is key to being able to keep more of your hard earned money, and using it for what you need.

I get it–paying off debt is hard. Believe me–paying of Mr Dentist’s $300,000+ in student loans was no picnic! But once we did, we suddenly had much more income to use for our financial goals.

And the relief we felt was incredible.

I highly recommend using Dave’s Ramsey’s Debt Snowball method to work on paying down your debts. This is the method we used and it really helped us to get out from the student loan nightmare we were in.

If you haven’t made the switch from two incomes to one yet, make a plan to pay off as much debt as possible with the help of both incomes. If you are already on one income, work your budget to see how you can pay down those loans as quickly as possible.

Have an Emergency Fund

It is always important to have a stash of cash you can use when an emergency comes up. But when you live on one income, this emergency fund is super important.

With only one income, you can’t just rely on another income to get yourself out of a bind. So take the time to build up a good stash of savings.

Once you are down to one income, it is important to continue saving as well. Even if it is small amounts each month or paycheck, the process of saving will bring you peace and help you be prepared for the future. ANd the more you can save, the better your financial situation will be overall.

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Meal Plan

Probably the most difficult expense to keep down each month is your grocery budget. It always seems to get higher and higher, no matter how hard you try.

I have learned that creating a meal plan, making my grocery list based on that meal plan, and then sticking to my list when I shop is one of the BEST ways to save money on groceries.

When you create a meal plan, you know exactly what you need and what you plan to cook. No more running out for last minute pizza or take out.

Meal Planning has been a huge budget saver when it comes to groceries! In fact, I consider meal planning one of the best tricks I used to help us get out of debt sooner, because it allowed me to keep our food budget so low.

Meal Planning for beginners
Save Money on Groceries
$50 Per Week Meal Plan

Shop the Sales

This tip for living on one income can be applied to so many aspects of your budget and finances. You can shop the sales for groceries, to keep the food budget low. You can shop the sales for clothes to spend less on clothing.

And so much more.

I have learned, when buying clothes for my kids, to shop the clearance section. I usually buy clothing a year in advance. So I will buy summer clothes for my kids to wear next summer, at the end of this summer.

Don’t be afraid of second hand stores and consignment sales either. There are often some amazing treasures to be found there. In fact, when we were paying off loans and didn’t have much for buying kids clothes, second hand stores and baby/kid consignment sales are how my babies were clothed.

You can apply this “shop the sales” idea to buying furniture, appliances, cars, you name it. The trick is to learn to not pay full price for items if you can help it.

Get a Side Hustle

Being a stay at home mom does not mean you have to neglect your ambitions, if you don’t want to. So many moms these days are taking care of their family AND starting an at home business they can do while home with the kids.

The internet has made creating your own side hustle so much easier if you want to go for it.

I have worked several different side hustles over the years to help bring in some extra money, and have loved the challenge of it.

If you are interested in trying out some side hustle ideas, check out this post all about the side hustles I have tried. You might find just what you are looking for! 9 Awesome Business Ideas for Women

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How to Thrive living on one income

Plan for Fun

Just because you are living on one income, doesn’t mean all the fun has to be taken out of life. In fact, I consider “fun” an essential budget category each and every month.

When you are making your budget, plan some money just for fun things as a family, or as a couple. You can save up for something bigger over time, or you can do small things each month.

The point is to plan for having some fun. Life is meant to be lived and memories as a family need to be made! Towns will often have free events for families or low cost activities. Look around and see what your town has to offer.

When you allow fun to be part of your life, you will feel less restricted with your finances, and thus better able to manage living on a lower income overall. 

Change Your Mindset

When you are moving from two incomes down to one, that will require a mindset shift.

No longer do you have all this extra income you have been used to. Your income is limited, but that doesn’t mean your life has to be.

It is time to start thinking creatively. How can you save money in creative ways? How can you live a more frugal lifestyle to create a life that you love?

Be open to ideas that are a different way of doing things, in order to save money. Look for ways to have fun, and have family experiences, that don’t require lots of money.

Being frugal does mean being cheap or not having any fun. It just means you look for ways to get the same result, but for less. Living a frugal lifestyle has become our way of life and we love it!

Learn to Be Content with what you have

The last piece to being able to live off one income, and possibly the hardest part, is to learn how to be content with what you have.

Learning how to be happier living on less is definitely a process. You really have to work on delaying gratification and being happy with your current situation. You might not have the newest and best all the time (we drive cars that are several years old, for example), but you can be grateful for what you do have.

This is also why planning for fun is important. Happiness comes from your experiences, memories, and the relationships with the people around you. Having extra money to make it easier to buy things is nice, but it isn’t where being truly happy comes in.

When you can learn to be content, you will find that your life is full of the things that really matter most. And thus you will be happier over all.

Final Thoughts on living off one income

I hope that this article has allowed you to see that living well on one income really is possible. Yes, it can be hard. And yes, having double the income for a family would be nice.

But the extra money doesn’t have to be a necessity. If you can learn to make good plans for your money, sacrifice when needed and keep the right mindset, you and your family can have a life that you love, while living on one income.

Do you live on one income, or do you plan to? How do you do it? I would love to know your tips and tricks. Let me know in the comments!

9 Life Changing Tips for living on one income

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