5 Steps to Living on One Income: How Our Family of 5 Thrives

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We have been living on one income for the past 10 years. It’s a choice we made based on raising our children.

I stopped working when my daughters were 3 years old and I was pregnant with my son. It’s one of those decisions I look back on and wouldn’t change a thing.

I never thought that I would be a stay-at-home mom. I always pictured myself working. I was a real estate agent and I loved every minute of it.

I loved the people I got to meet and I loved seeing the different houses that were for sale. It was a job but it was fun. We started thinking about living on one income when I was pregnant with my son.

We were already paying around $1,000 a month for my twin girls to go to daycare and I didn’t want to pay an additional $500 to send my son. Especially because he was a baby.

My girls were able to come to work with me until they were about 2 years old and then they got too active to be at the office. I really didn’t want to bring my son to the office. It was too hard to get work done.

The Lord started tugging at our hearts. I didn’t want my kids to grow up with me working all the time. Real estate is an “over” full-time type job. Clients would call me at all hours of the day, holidays, weekends, you name it!

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Living on One Income

Making the Decision to Live on One Income

We prayed and came to the decision that I would stay home with the kids. Now, this may seem amazing but we had to give up so much.

We had to downsize our house, survive with one car, sell our extra toys, and cut back on our expenses.  It was tough but we survived.

I’m here to tell you that living on one income isn’t as bad as you think. It’s completely possible. It’s a sacrifice you make for your family.  It may also only be for a season. I plan on going back to work when my kiddos are grown.

They won’t need me as much and I’ll probably be bored. I keep renewing my real estate license so I’m prepared when the time comes.

In this post, I want to share my tips about living on one income. I’ve learned a lot over the past 10 years and I want to share what I’ve learned.

How to Live on One Income

1. Sit with Your Spouse and Discuss Finances

My husband and I share a bank account. Neither one of us has our own money. All the money that comes into our house is in a joint bank account.  You need to be on the same page as your spouse from the beginning.

If you have a budget already set up, you will need to re-evaluate it.  I’ve been the money handler in our marriage for the past 16 years. My husband is pretty easygoing and lets me manage it however I want.

It’s because he trusts me with our money (he knows I love to save money) and doesn’t want to be bothered with it. We’ve agreed that he gets a monthly allowance and that works for us.

2. Make Sure You Can Survive Living on One Income

It would be nice if you could make a quick decision about living on one income but it’s not reality. Most likely, you are both working because you need to (or you think you need to).

After you discuss finances, you need to make sure you can survive living on one income.

After you make a budget, practice using it. Put the extra income in your savings account and see if you are comfortable. You can make the transition slow and put money away into your savings. It’s always a good idea to have an emergency savings account.

3. Tighten Up Your Budget

It takes a little bit of trial and error to tighten up your budget. We decided to cut back on cable and eventually get rid of cable, cut back our grocery budget, stop going out to eat as much, and create a weekly meal plan. There are some great ways to save money that you may not be aware of.

Tightening up your budget will make it much easier to live on one income. Once you get the hang of it, you may be able to add some things back in.

Don’t miss these online budget tools to help you stay on track.

4. Be Content Living on Less

I consider it a blessing to stay home and raise children. If that means I have to cut back on my personal luxuries so be it. We’ve learned to buy less expensive clothes and actually love shopping for used clothing online. ┬áThe clothes end up being really nice at a fraction of the cost.

It’s a great example for our children to see that we don’t have to have everything we see. Splurging once in a while makes it more memorable. We buy all the necessities for our children and if they want anything in excess, they buy it themselves.  It’s a great way to learn how money works.

5. Make Saving Money a Part of Your Life

I moved out of my parent’s house when I was 17 years old. I didn’t have a clue about saving money. I was working and providing for myself.

I could have saved myself a lot of money and wouldn’t have had to stress as much. Thankfully a few years later, I learned how to use coupons and learned other ways to save money.

Saving money is a huge part of my life. It has actually rubbed off on my family members. Once you find the easy ways to save money there’s no going back to full price.

You won’t want to pay full price knowing that you can get a better deal. I also love using Amazon promo codes to save big.

Are You Living on One Income?

Those are my tips for living on one income. It can be done. You can even stay at home and earn extra money. It’s really hard for me to do that because I homeschool my kids.

My girls are entering 8th grade so they are pretty independent but my son is entering 5th grade and we are trying to get him independent. It will happen one day, just not now.

Do you have any tips to share?

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  1. Wow, you’re an inspiration!!

    1. Thank you! I hope it lets others see that it is possible!

  2. We are also a family of 5 basically surviving on one income as well. The sacrifices are worth it!

    1. That’s awesome! I agree, it’s well worth the sacrifice!

  3. We’ve made it work for several years and are so grateful! These are great tips for others who are making that transition.

    1. That’s great! It is truly a blessing!

  4. Seriously I know it’s almost unPC to say but I applaud you for staying home (although blogging is TONS of work). Kids need a parent at home. If you can swing it, I truly believe it’s the best.

    1. Thank you! Yes, my blog can be consuming at times but my first priority is being a homemaker.

  5. Great tips for large families! We’re a family of 9, and my husband works outside the house and I work at home full time. Its not easy but with tips like this it’s doable if you know your priorities.