How to thrive as a single income family!
So here’s the thing. We never planned on being a single income family… and then we had kids!
Does this sound familiar?
Or maybe it wasn’t starting a family that got you into this situation
Whatever the reason is, I’m here to tell you that you can flourish living on one income.
We know because WE HAVE and we still are! I never dreamed of being a stay at home mom. But it’s what works best for our family while the kids are little.
Salary.com did this awesome survey, stating that the average stay-at-home mom is worth a whopping $143,000 a year. So technically I make more than my husband, right! =)
Benefits Of Being A Single Income Household:
- More family time! Moving down to a single income family allows one parent to stay home with the kids. You can’t beat family time!
- You don’t have to pay for daycare or after school care. Daycare costs can be intense.
- Save money on transportation costs. If you live in a city or close to mass transit you could even become a single-vehicle family.
Here are some ways we have been able to not only live but thrive on a single income.
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Lowering Your Bills As A One Income Family
Did you know that by picking up your phone and calling your service providers you can lower your bills? If you’re a smooth talker you can persuade them to drop your bill.. If negotiating doesn’t work tell them you would like to have your service turned off. This changes their mind real quick!
I promise this works, I do it all the time.
Here are a few companies I have persuaded to drop my bill over the years:
- Direct TV
Depending on your cell phone service providers, some of them give discounts to city workers, military members, and emergency response members as well as others. They don’t usually advertise this so you have to ask.
The same goes for cable and internet.
If you qualify as any of the above, make sure to ask about how to get discounts for their products or services!
We were able to save $20 dollars a month on our Verizon phone bill just by walking in and talking to a customer service rep.
Here are a few other things you want to check out if you are trying to lower your bills:
- If you are looking for a cheap phone service and your current provider isn’t working for you, check out Republic Wireless. I have heard great things about their 4G service. They have Unlimited Talk & Text plans starting at $15 a month. Plus, you don’t have to sign a contract!
- If you haven’t checked your credit score yet, you should! We use Credit Sesame and have had only good experiences. Credit Sesame gives you your first credit check for free. It takes you less than 5 minutes to get your credit score. You can’t beat that!! Get your free credit report here.
- Use LED light bulbs. They are energy efficient and use 90% less energy than a normal light bulb. These are our favorite LED light bulbs that we use in our house.
- To save on your electricity bill by hanging your clothes up to dry. Your dryer is the most inefficient appliance in your home. In the summer I hang our clothes up on my lovely drying rack. Yes… It takes more time to do than throwing your clothes in the dryer but it will save you money on your monthly electricity bill. So if you’re like me and your husband won’t let you hang a clothesline in your backyard check out these awesome drying racks.
- Switch to an energy-efficient or programmable thermostat. Being able to program the heating and cooling will save you a lot of money throughout the year. What I like about most energy-efficient and programmable thermostats is that they hook up to wifi and you can control them via your phone.
Related article: 5 House Hacks To Reduce Your Energy Bill This Winter
How To Live On One Income- The Budget
We talk a lot about budgeting. Why.. because it works!!
If you are currently living on one income or are going to be in the near future, implementing a budget of some sort is a must!
I wouldn’t say we have mastered budgeting, but we’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years. Yes, we still have months where we to totally mess up our budget.
Life happens! You can’t budget for every rainy day, but we try.
Our favorite way to budget is by using the envelope system. If you haven’t used the cash envelope system make sure to check it out here!
I love the cash budget system because it doesn’t allow me to overspend.
If you only have $50 dollars in your pocket for the week for “fun money” you aren’t going to spend $100 because once that $50 is gone you are done spending.
Also, don’t forget to check out our Full Budget Binder!
It has everything you need to build a strong budget for your family!
Budget Tips For a One Income Family
Here are a few tips for living on one income, if you are trying to save money:
- Cut out cable for good! This is one of the easiest ways to save money each month when you live on one income. There are many great options that still allow you to watch your favorite T.V. shows. Our favorite is Hulu. We pay $8 dollars a month to watch our favorite T.V. shows. Start your 30-day free trial here.
- Quit eating out for lunch, bring lunch from home instead. Try to bring a sandwich from home for a month and see how much you save. Or make extra big dinners so you have leftovers for work. Eating out each day really adds up.
- Start living below your means. Every financially independent person will tell you this is their key to staying out of debt and saving.
- Pay for everything with cash! When you can physically see money leaving your wallet you spend less because it hurts more. Put your card away and start paying for everything with cash!
- Put your savings into a high-interest rate bank account where it will accumulate interest. Don’t let your money sit in a savings account at your local bank. We have earned 5 figures of interest this year just by letting our money sit!
Tools that will help you live on one income!
Shop Smarter Not Harder
When you go shopping, go with a purpose, a mission, a list!! Have you ever gone grocery shopping without a grocery list?
How did that turn out for you?
My guess is not very well.
You probably spent a lot more than you intended to spend, and you probably didn’t come out with very many meals.
Never leave your house without a list and stick to it.
Here are some “shop smarter” strategies you might be interested in:
- I’m not a huge couponing guru but I do believe that you should take the extra time to cut coupons when you need household essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels and other necessities. There are always coupons for these items!
- Shop at a discount grocery store. We love Aldi and I save a ton of money by shopping there.
- If you’re tired of making your weekly grocery list try $5 Meal Plan! They send you meal plans right to your email. This takes out the challenge of creating your weekly meal plan and makes life so much easier. Try it free for 14 days, when you sign up through my link.
- Don’t buy something you don’t need just because it’s on clearance. This will lead you down the road of overspending.
- Always shop with a website like Ebates when you are doing your shopping online. They give you cash back when you shop your favorite stores such as Target, Kohls, Amazon, Walmart, Nike and many more. When you sign up with our link you get a free $10 welcome bonus when you spend $25 or more!
Related Article: The Best Grocery Store Hacks That Will Help You Save Money On Food
Live Within Your Means
This is self-explanatory but yet hard to do for so many. If you live on one income you need to live within your means.
You have to be real with yourself. Living in a single-income household most likely means missing out on things from time to time.
You’ll also be staying away from the mall and other consumer-driven stores.
Be The Boss Of Your Bills
Who’s ready to be the boss of their own bills? If you want to be a one-income household you need to be the boss of your bills!!
If it wasn’t for this amazing strategy we’ve implemented into our lives we wouldn’t be where we are now.
At the beginning of every month, we know exactly where every dollar is going to go, because we tell it where to go.
You might ask how… what’s our secret?
Put All Of Your Bills On Auto Draft
By using auto-draft for all of our bills and savings accounts we are able to tell all of our money where it needs to go!
This is a lifesaver!
We have all of our bills set up to come out via auto-draft the day after my husband gets paid. After, we take out our money (in cash) that is budgeted to pay for our groceries and necessities for the two-week cycle.
We use our cash to pay for “everything” without touching our check card.
The extra money that we have left after budgeting gets transferred to our savings account. This leaves us with paid bills, no unnecessary spending, and we know where every dollar of ours goes.
Best of all, this allows our savings to continue to grow!
Side Hustles – You Must Try
We’ve all been there, trying any “side hustle” just to get by.
When you can’t make ends meet, or you’re just looking to make a little side money, these are legit
I tried a lot of these methods back in college (some of which I continue to use today) when my side hustle days were at an all-time high.
My favorite side hustles when you are trying to increase your income:
- Start answering surveys! If you haven’t tried, you need to start. Here are a few of my favorites… MyPoints, Pinecone Research, Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Consumer Opinions, and Opinion Outposts! Those are only a few of the survey sites out there. It’s free to sign up, and the more surveys you take, the more money you make, so start today!
- Check out our post 40 Ways to Make Extra Money. This includes easy ways for you to start making money this week.
- Start a Blog! The possibilities are endless when it comes to blogging and so are the salary ranges. You can start your own blog for $3.95 per month when you sign up here. Start here to read all about what goes into making your own blog. If you are interested in making money blogging, start here for step by step directions to see what it takes to be successful. You can also check out our 3 part series on How To Start A Blog.
- Try out Uber! I have a few friends who drive for Uber in the evenings and on weekends and make a good amount of money. So try it out and let us know what you think.
- Join Swagbucks! Swagbucks is awesome and if you haven’t tried it out, you have to! It’s free to sign up. You can take surveys, watch videos and shop online to earn Swagbucks. You then can cash in your Swagbucks for gift cards. Who doesn’t love gift cards!! So next time you are watching TV jump on Swagbucks and earn yourself some gift cards. They even have an app so it makes making money that much easier!
Thriving as a single-income family is reachable. You just have to follow the steps necessary to make it possible.
Are you a single-income family? If so, share with us how you thrive.
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Emily | The Multitasking Mom
These are excellent tips! I love the tips about lowering your bills. We dropped cable too!
Thanks Emily! I’m glad you loved these tips. There are so many “cheaper” alternatives to cable these days. I’m glad you pulled the plug too =)
Love all these tips! We’ve cut the cable too and just this year I started talking down my bill costs! –Haven’t tried my cell phone provider yet! Thanks for the inspiration!
Hi Renee, Thanks for checking out the post, I’m glad you like it! Cutting cable was one of the best decisions we made to reduce our monthly bills and from a quality of living aspect. I enjoy not being glued to the TV every night.
These are great tips to help cut down expenses by living below your means to live a financially stable life.
Suite City Woman
These are all great tips, single-income household are not. And that a stay at home parent is worth about $143,000 a year (when their partner works outside home) is astounding!
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the tips!
Thanks for all of the great tips! I should really start paying for things with cash and try the envelope method. I never have cash, everything goes on a card so it is pretty easy to go over budget.
Hi Meagan, Thanks for checking out the post! Spending with cash hurts so much more because I can see the money leaving my hand. When we started using the cash envelope system is when we really started saving a lot of money.
This was great! What an easy read! Thanks for sharing what works for you. 🙂
Thanks Logan! I’m glad you liked the post!
I love all of your tips. My family of four has lived on one income for most of our marriage and have learned a lot of ways to live frugally.
Hi Heather, Thanks for checking out the post! I really think that once people get over the initial change of living on a single income, they start to get crafty and find ways to save money. I like to think of it as a little challenge to find new ways to save money each month 🙂
Great ideas! Love all the different angles you go over! I do the Swagbucks and Inbox dollars and have for quite a while!
Hi Lynn, Thanks for checking out our post! Have you tried Ebates? It’s an online shopping site where they give you cash back for purchases you make. We really like using it.
wow these tips are amazing thank you for share them, I love the idea I am going to follow , I wish I knew this early, I have been at home for three months but I have to come back to work because at London one income looks impossible but with this advice I have to try again. I will tell you how it goes. All the best
It can definitely be tough to adjust to living on a single income. We are glad that these tips were able to help you. We hope it works out for you and please do let us know how it goes!! Good Luck!!
One of the best things I ever did was cut up my DEBIT CARD. Yup. Having only $50 to $100 (pending on if gas or food is needed) all week helped me limit my spending habits. Most companies also allow you to set up auto pay using electronic checks. I also switched my credit card to the same bank as my Checking account. That saved me about $3 a month because there was no external transfer fees for an auto pay within the bank.
Hi Emily, we love limiting our spending to only using cash too. We’ve found it to be our favorite way to save money.