Nowadays, living on one income is harder than ever. Most families simply don’t think they can make it work. Unfortunately, most are right! However, if you do need to live on one income (or you just want to financially live as if you are living on one income) here are some tips to make it easier!
First and foremost, you will need to learn the art of bargain shopping! This includes knowing how to use coupons and how to follow sales. Here are some helpful articles to get you started:
- How To Use Coupons
- How To Play The Drugstore Game
- How To Get the Best Bargains When You Shop Online
- How To Stockpile
- and more!
You might also find it helpful to shop at thrift stores and clearance racks. Set aside a day a week to go peruse the clearance racks and thrift stores. You might ask your local stores when they have their restock days or markdown days. You can start to form a weekly schedule to go check out what is on sale.
You can get some amazing deals if you stay vigilent and stay ahead of the needs for your family (for instance, if you know your son has a program coming up next month that he’ll need a white shirt for…put that on your list now so you don’t have to pay full price at the last minute!).
Make food from scratch:
This is a big one. For the most part (and especially if you are cooking for a family), you will save a ton of money if you make most of your food from scratch. Pre-prepared meals or meals that you eat out will almost ALWAYS cost more than you can get away with spending if you make it from scratch at home. This does mean more work in the kitchen, but the money you save will be well worth it.
Here are some great from scratch recipes that your family might enjoy:
- Easy Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Soup
- Homemade Buttermilk Drop Biscuits (Made From DIY Baking Mix!)
- Easy Weeknight Lasagna-Yes, Really
- My Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- and more!
Get a side hustle
Just because you are planning to live on one income does NOT mean you can’t earn some extra income from a side hustle! My side hustle is this blog (learn how to make money blogging here!).
Depending on your skills, some options are:
- Sell on Ebay
- Freelance writing (check out Fiverr!)
- Freelance Photography
- Selling on Amazon
There are so many different ways to make money from home. You can do one thing or many things. Chances are, every little bit of extra funds you can bring in will help!
If you have less, you’ll find you need less. This one is a struggle for me in my already very cluttered household! The truth of the matter is, the more you have to store, the more expensive your lifestyle will be. Live with less and you will be able to live ON less.
To begin this new minimalist lifestyle, you should have a yardsale!
Build an emergency fund
I have written extensively about having an emergency fund and on it’s importance. This emergency fund will be used and it will need to be regularly replenished. If possible though, don’t go down to one income until you have this well funded.
If you are already down to one income and do not currently have an emergency fund, read this article for details on how to build yours up quickly.
Use cash instead of credit
This could also be called just living within your means. If you can responsibily use a credit card each month and pay it off (and earn the associated perks), by all means, you can continue to use your credit card.
If you have a habit of letting the month get away from you and just paying minimum payments on your debt, I would strongly advise paying cash wherever you go. Don’t allow yourself to drown in debt!
Downsize where possible
Move to a smaller home. Purchase a less expensive vehicle. Go to the lowest cable plan. Whatever it takes to trim your budget to be more manageable on one income…do it! You might be able to live on one income VERY comfortably if you just cut some costs by downsizing!
Constantly shop around
Make a phone date with your electricity, phone, cable, insurance, etc providers on a regular basis. Pay special attention to special rates and when they expire. Do not let yourself get caught “off contract” and paying some overly inflated market rate because you did not pay attention to your terms and contract dates.
Sometimes loyalty pays off, but sometimes it doesn’t. If another company can give you a comparable service/product, then jump ship. If loyalty is so important to the company you have been with for years and years, they will be able to match the quote. This alone can take HOURS of your time, but it is worth it for the savings!
Make a budget and stick to it
This should have probably been first! The only way you can be succesful living off one income (unless you have an endless amount of discretionary funds, in which case you are probably not reading this article!) is by budgeting!
I have written a whole series on budgeting, so rather than reinventing the wheel, just check out these posts:
Step 1: Decide Your Non Negotiables
Finally, you just might have to sacrifice. You will need to decide if the sacrifices you need to make to be a one income household are worth it. Maybe you won’t have the hot new bag the second it goes on the market.
Maybe you won’t get to go on a fancy vacation every year, or even every 5 years! You and your family need to decide if the sacrifices necessary to maintain a one income lifestyle are worth the trade off of being/becoming a dual income household.
Do you have any tips/advice for anyone planning to transition to a one income household? Comment below!