How To Live On One Income

How To Live on One Income: 9 Tips To Help You 

how to survive on one income

Are you facing a hard decision? Is the thought of learning how to live on one income on your mind?

Let me start this off by saying that living off one income is very possible. My family did it for over 5 years. It may not seem possible when you are staring down all these new changes and challenges. But it really is!

Talking about money is obviously a necessary conversation but not always a crowd favorite. 

It can be easier to keep putting these conversations off. But one day the elephant won’t fit in the room anymore. Rip that band-aid off sooner rather than later. 

 You will most likely have to bust out your creative skills. And you have to get used to the idea of some changes!

It is hard. It is a lifestyle change. For some, it can literally feel like your world is being flipped upside down. All of the habits you have formed over the years will be getting a little makeover. 

But with a little determination, you can do it!

Here Are 9 Tips to Help You Discover How to Live on One Income

1) Budget

You have to sit down and create a budget. Skip this step and you are just taking a shot in the dark. 

This allows you to see where all your money is going. Write down everything coming in and every single dollar going out. I mean every single dollar. You may be surprised by some things. Those little expenses can really add up!

Having everything right in front of you makes it easier to evaluate the situation. Can you afford this? Is living on one income doable?

This is also a great step to start thinking about what monthly expenses you can cross off pretty quickly. Shed a tear for those skinny lattes and move on. 

2) Meal Planning

Food costs can get out of control if you’re not careful. I know when my husband and I were both working full time I was not really concerned about our grocery bill. I threw what I wanted in the cart and that was that. Our cart would be overflowing with lots of miscellaneous things. 

Things go a little (or A LOT) differently when you say goodbye to one entire income.

This can take some getting used to. But get the hang of it and you will be smooth sailing. And a smaller grocery bill is my kind of grocery bill. My eyes literally bulge out of my head when I think about how much we used to spend on food. 

Check out my simple guide for meal planning!

3) Eating Out

This was another big one for my family. My husband and I ate out quite a bit. Not to mention all the overpriced coffee I used to get. Let’s be real, I still love that overpriced coffee. I just get it much much less! Like hardly ever so when I do it is such a treat and I feel like a dang queen. 

To me, saying you will never eat out is just not realistic. It is fun to go out to eat. But doing it too often makes it just another Tuesday. Going out for dinner when you don’t do it on a weekly basis makes it that much more special. 

Getting a handle on ALL of your food costs will without a doubt make a huge difference in your life. I promise you!

4) Free Fun

You know the best kind of fun? Free fun! I mean anything free is a winner in my book. When your “fun” budget is not very big you have to get a little creative. 

A little research never hurt anybody. I am always on the hunt for free events in my community. 

You know the easiest way we have free fun? We go outside. We go hiking or for a walk or a bike ride. Pack a picnic and go the park. 

My husband and I have also become pros at having inexpensive date nights!

5) Buy What You Need

OK, buying things is fun. Shopping is fun, people! I know. And I have always been the queen of finding good deals. Thanks, mom!

But a bargain is not a bargain if it’s going to sit at the back of the closet. A bargain is only really truly a bargain if you needed it. 

Do not get sucked into the good deal trap. Too many good deals can wreak havoc on your bank account if you are not careful. 

6) Downsize

We became a one-car family.

I’m going to be honest. This is a tough one and every family situation is unique. This may not be something you can swing. 

But right off the bat doing this saved us $400. 

The money we saved was basically enough to pay for our groceries for the month. So all the money we set aside for food was now extra money to be used toward something else. Or just to be saved. 

If having two cars is necessary, look into more affordable options. 

Having a nice car is great. But not if it makes you broke. 

Downsizing can apply to other areas as well. What are you paying for cable? This is an area that many people could downsize on.

Heck, I am going to go as far as to say you could eliminate this bill all together. To some that may sound crazy. But I have one word for you. Library. Free rentals for movies and TV shows. Oh, and there is that little thing called Netflix. 

7) Shop Around

When you need to buy something, don’t be afraid to shop around.

Buy used. Be patient and a good deal may smack you right in the face. 

8) Earn Extra Income

Maybe you can make it work with one income. But if things get a little tight. Have no fear. Look into some ways to earn extra income.

I do this from blogging

9) Prioritize not Sacrifice

Becoming a single income family will take some sacrificing. But I do not like using that word. Giving up eating out or having my favorite drink from Starbucks five days a week seems like a small price to pay to be able to stay home with my daughter.

It is all about prioritizing and choosing to focus on what you will earn from eliminating something else. 

Make a priorities list that makes you feel good. This will be a great reminder of what you are doing everything for. 

A new mindset will make things much easier. 


You know what I found? Being more selective about where your money goes makes you appreciate things more. We can get a little spoiled just swiping our cards and not giving it any thought. Now, I don’t take things for granted.

When “stuff” is not such a big factor, you learn that having things does not directly relate to your happiness.

Spending money is not the key to a full life. 

And dare I say you may start to enjoy living a simpler life. I know this is the case with me. Saving money becomes a way of life. And maybe even a small addiction. 

Changes are hard at first. Especially if change is not your jam.  But for me, doing all these things was more than worth it. 

These tips worked for my family. I hope they help your family learn how to live on one income!

You Can Do it!

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How To Save Money Each Month

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How To Live on One Income: 9 Tips To Help You

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