We live in a world that tells us that we NEED to have two incomes for a family to live well. However, this simply isn’t true – not even one bit!
Think about it. Up until a few decades ago, the majority of households lived on one income.
Traditionally, the man worked outside the home, while the woman stayed at home, raising the babies and taking care of the household.
In today’s society, it is very normal for both spouses to work outside the home. This can be a wonderful advantage to the financial well-being of a family.
But what happens when your family wants (or needs) to start living on one income?
Perhaps it’s your heart’s desire is to be a stay-at-home (work-at-home) Mom. Maybe you want to start your own business or take a leave of absence to take care of yourself or a loved one. Sometimes, you want to keep working, but want to save one income for retirement and live off the other.
If you want to start living off of one income, this article is for you!
Here are 10 ways to live well on only one income.
1.) ALWAYS CREATE AN EMERGENCY FUND
If you decide to live on one income, do whatever it takes to create an emergency fund.
An emergency fund is a huge source of security for you and your family. It is an absolute necessity!
Unexpected expenses, unemployment, and sickness are very normal parts of life. You must be prepared for them.
Ideally, an emergency fund should be enough to pay 3-6 months’ worth of expenses. Try to save at least 10% of each paycheck until you reach your goal. Occasionally, add extra to your emergency fund to accelerate the process. Put your tax return into the fund and cut back on monthly expenses.
If you find yourself in unfortunate circumstances, you have two choices. You can either fall back on your emergency fund or get into credit card debt.
Proverbs 27:12 “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
2.) FOLLOW THE “DO I NEED THIS?” PRINCIPLE
I Timothy 6:6 “ But godliness with contentment is great gain…”
Every time you’re about to buy an “impulse item”, ask yourself “Do I really need this?”
No, it isn’t easy! And of course it is difficult to take something out of your shopping cart and put it back on the shelf. However, if you want to live on one income, it is a huge necessity!
You must learn to differentiate a “want” from a “need”.
Right now, at this moment, I have four items in my Amazon.com shopping cart that have been sitting there for 2 months. I really want to buy them, but I don’t absolutely need them.
The #1 reason people get into credit card debt is because they wanted something before they could afford it.
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3.) SHOP AROUND FOR EVERYTHING
Car insurance, cable, cellphone plans, internet, car mechanic, etc.
Shopping around for deals always takes some extra work, but it will save you thousands of dollars!
If you need to find a car mechanic, call around your area or take your vehicle in for a quote. The costs can differ in the thousands of dollars – depending on where you go. Always shop around!
When it comes to car insurance, insurance companies have a bad habit of increasing your rates even when you have a perfect driving record. Every 6 months, research insurance rates with competitors. You will almost always find a better deal.
As for cellphone plans, there is a vast difference in monthly costs depending on which carrier you use! Try not to be “brand loyal” to one company just because your family used it or you like their logo color. 🙂 With so many discount cell services out there, there are countless options for a more cost-effective route.
Always do your homework when it comes to these types of services. You can almost always find a better deal!
4.) CREATE A BUDGET – AND STICK TO IT
Anyone can create a budget! But not everyone sticks to it.
To create a budget, all you need to know is the amount of money you make per month and the amount of money you spend per month.
All you need to do is input all the data and credit/debit card information – then the app will start to track your budget by itself. Don’t forget to input any purchases you made in cash.
5.) CAREFULLY PLAN FOR VACATIONS
We all need a break once in a while!
However, we sometimes underestimate the financial side of the getaway. Food, hotel, airfare, gas, rental car, entertainment, etc. Expenses accumulate very quickly, often adding up to much more than we previously anticipated.
There are some incredibly valuable ways to cut costs when it come to vacations! You can travel during low-tourist seasons or book your vacation on travel sights like TravelZoo.com.
At first, I thought that TravelZoo vacations were too cheap to be true! But my family and I have been on many vacations booked through this site. A great way to save on vacation!
6.) BUY (Almost) EVERYTHING SECOND-HAND
OK – not everything…but you know what I mean.
Don’t fall for the big, fat lie that says, “You can have it all now!” Sure, you can buy the trendiest items right now, but you will pay for it later.
Let’s be serious. You do not need brand new furniture, a new car, a new house, an in-ground pool, and new appliances. All of that will come in time – as you make wise financial decisions and work hard towards your financial goals.
Even when you can technically afford brand-new things, you can still opt for the second-hand route! We do!
Take a look through Facebook Marketplace. Also, almost every town has an online community for people to post second-hand goods.
If you are looking for a particular style, check out Pinterest Tutorials and DIY your favorite farmhouse decor hutch or beach-styled console table.
You can always get “the look” for a fraction of the price if you choose to do a little extra work.
7.) LEARN TO MAKE SOME SACRIFICES
Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
If you want to live on one income, you are going to have to learn to make some personal sacrifices.
Maybe, at one point, you could go out shopping whenever you wanted and eat out several times a week. Perhaps you’ve always driven the nicest vehicles, worn the trendiest clothes, and got your hair colored every few weeks. Or maybe you LOVE your Starbucks coffee every morning.
Choosing to live on one income means that you will have to learn to live without some of these things.
You will probably have to drive an older vehicle, find new ways to wear your old clothes, go out to eat less, make your coffee at home, take fewer and shorter vacations, search for free entertainment, and plan for anything that is not an absolute necessity.
Just know that in the end, happiness is a choice! You can turn these sacrifices into a challenge and try to find the best ways to enjoy life, while spending less.
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8.) MAKE SURE YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE ARE ON THE SAME PAGE
Proverbs 31:11 “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.”
You need to have deep talks about your finances, so that there is mutual trust when it comes to your financial decisions.
Money is famous for being one of the main things couples argue about. Sadly, many times it is the cause marital difficulties or divorce.
To make a financial plan work, both spouses must be in agreement over how money will be spent and saved.
Take some time to sit down and go over the finances! Talk through your frustrations and expectations.
If one spouse is more money-savvy, this does not excuse the other spouse from knowing how to take care of the bills, budget, save, and know how much is in their accounts.
Imagine how difficult it would be if there was a family emergency and the other spouse had no idea how to take care of any of the finances.
It is CRITICAL for you to create a secured document that lists all your bills, accounts, and passwords.
Most households have quite a number of bills to pay each month: electricity, water, cellphone, internet, cable, credit card, etc. Both spouses need to be aware of how to access and pay each bill, so there isn’t any additional stress if there is an emergency.
9.) DON’T FORGET ABOUT FUN MONEY
Every couple needs to have some fun money! Without it, you may start to feel restricted, which eventually grows into resentment.
It doesn’t have to be much, but it does have to be an amount that you both agree on and have included in your monthly budget.
This amount can be spent on anything you want and you don’t have to consult each other. This will help you not to feel the pressure of being under the financial restrictions of living on one income.
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10.) ALWAYS TRY TO SIDE HUSTLE AT SOMETHING
Proverbs 31 is a perfect example of the woman who mastered side-hustling! 🙂
Any small amount of extra money coming in is always a blessing.
What are you good at? Do you love Instagram and have a decent following? Then start selling something! (No, don’t go out and spam people. A lot of companies encourage you to spam your friends and acquaintances. Don’t do that!)
If you have a natural gift for something, don’t let it go to waste!
If you love flipping furniture, taking pictures, doing hair and makeup, or babysitting – start using your talents to make some cash!
And don’t be hesitant to invest in yourself. If you need to purchase a program or take a course on how to improve your skills at something, by all means go for it!
Sometimes, you have to spend a little money (invest in yourself), so you can make some money. (Of course, make sure you and your spouse are 100% on the same page!)
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At the end of the day, it all starts with a plan!
If you can, create a plan before one of you quits their job. However, if you are currently living on one income, you will need to get serious about creating a budget!
From there, you can start implementing the tips listed above.