How we live WELL on one income!

live well on one income

I have been a stay at home mom for all of my 3 kids and have really enjoyed the privilege of raising and training my own babies.  Whether you work or stay home with your kiddos, this post can still help your family save money as I share how we live well on one income.

Our family has gone on vacations EVERY year since we have had children.  We’ve taken a trip once a year just as a couple.  We have been able to throw parties, go to many great restaurants, treat others, give to friends, family and our church.  We own a house and 2 cars, and our kids have never lacked in any area.  We have never been late on our mortgage, utilities or any bill.   We even have money to put into savings every month.  How??! #1 because of the grace of God and we have truly trusted Him with our finances since day one! #2 He has shown us ways to truly thrive on one income.  #3 we obeyed Him when He told us that I should be home with the kids while they are little and we believe, He has blessed that sacrifice.

Let me first tell you, no one wants to hear how a family of 5 can survive on their husbands 6 figure salary!! That is not the majority of the world and, definitely not us.  Most Americans make an average salary and, try to make that work and, for most it just doesn’t cut it.  Especially, if they have children.  My husband does have a college degree and a good job at a well-known bank but, we are still nowhere near that.  I am not that “stay at home mom.”LOL

The amazing thing is that when I first decided to stay home with my children we made so little that we could have qualified for every form of assistance but, God still blessed it to be enough and that we were still able to do so much with it.  So here are some of the tips that we use that allow us to live well on one income.

Live Well On One Budget

We Tithe

As a christian, we believe that God asks us to give back at least 10% of our income to the church and there are promises attached to that as well.  This is such an example of faith in God to provide, especially when the bills are piling up and you need that extra money but, you still write the check to give to the church trusting that God will take care of your needs.  Well, guess what? He has always been faithful to do it! It didn’t even always make sense on paper but, He would take care of all of our needs and  even give us extra at the end of the month.

We Budget

We have budgeted since day 1.  There are so many resources online to help you budget your finances.  We create a category for everything.  We put savings in a category, eating out, toiletries, clothes, everything.  We currently use Dave Ramsey’s every dollar budget. That means that every dollar goes into the budget so it is all designated to a certain place.  There is no guessing work left, which lessens our chances of overspending.  This helps get control over your money ( no matter how much of it you have) and, stop letting it control you.  If you’re looking for a great, life changing read that will help you get your finances in order try:

I Cook A Lot

One thing I LOVE is food and to eat out, but I have always cooked a lot to save money.  It’s very rare that I do not cook Monday-Friday.  This actually helped me become a better cook because, I wanted really good food so I just had to learn to make it myself.  Looking up a lot of recipes on blogs, pinterest and allrecipes helped me create a variety of meals for my family at a fraction of the cost.  When times were really tight, I would look up ideas for super cheap meals and focus on making more of those.  I always use coupons from  www.coupons.com  and grocery shop my weekly flyer or stick to buying store brands to help slash my bill in half.  I share more about saving money on your grocery bill HERE

We dont’ throw away money on TV

Whenever I talk to friends who are struggling financially there seems to be the common factor that they have an expensive cable package.  My husband loves sports as much as the next guy but, he loves his family being financially stable more.  He finds ways to watch games, etc. on various websites or goes to a sports bar with friends.  Everyone’s family and financial priorities are different.  That is ok.  We personally would rather go on vacations, have fun experiences and eat at great restaurants than sit on our couch watching cable every night.  We realize we cannot do both on our income, so we have to pick one.   We always have a very low cable (mostly local channels) package.  It is cheaper for us to get internet with cable than without (it’s crazy how these cable companies con us) so, that is what we do.  Once in a while over the years we will get Netflix as well, for only $8 a month.

In regards to movies, we usually wait for movies to come to Redbox.  They constantly put out codes online to get a rental for FREE so we rarely pay for one.  We do sometimes go to the movie theater for a treat for the family or if there is a movie coming out that we are just dying to see.  Again, we usually rather use $50 to do something else than sit in a movie though.   If that is your thing, and you love movies like i love food, that’s fine.  Plan your sacrifices in other categories to be able to do that more often.

We eat out for cheap

This isn’t all the time but, most of our nights out as a family are with a coupon that I signed up for or a deal the restaurant is having.  You can sign up for almost any restaurant chains e-mail list and receive coupons for discounts & free kids meals.  Also, many restaurants offer kids eat FREE nights during the week to get more business.   Some of my favorite chains for e -mail deals are : Chilis, Applebees, Outback, Friendly’s, Dairy Queen, Bonefish Grill, and Ruby Tuesdays.  Dicky’s BBQ has a kids eat free day, Moe’s Southwest Grill has 99 cent tacos on Sundays, and our local, organic pizza shop has $6 extra-large pizzas on Mondays.  There are many places that run promotions like this.  It just takes a little research.

However, when we do our “date nights” we usually just pay full price.  We are able to do that because, we save in these other areas so much.  I really like farm-to-table food and to try new “non-chain” restaurants so we save those for our kid-free nights.

Have a Side Hustle

Since I became a stay at home mom I always looked for other ways to bring in income.  There hasn’t been a year that I didn’t have a side job that helped create extra money to save and add to the budget.  I have watched many different children (don’t take on more than one or two so that you can still pour into your own children), I was a Mary Kay consultant, I did Mystery Shopping for years, I got paid for doing surveys online and I was an assistant to a real estate agent.  Currently, I am starting to monetize this blog, I am a referral agent with Remax, and I watch my niece and nephew a few days every week.  Any income I bring in is just extra in the budget because, we only live on my husband’s income.  This is a great way to pay off debt, pay for a vacation or build up your savings.

I Consign

I have 3 boys, so hand me downs are a must.  I only buy clothes on sale ( preferably end the of season) or with a coupon or a store deal.  Everything goes on sale.  Whether you want popular brands or you don’t care, you can get everything for a discount if you are patient.  We are not planning on having any more babies, so we sell my youngest clothes to consignment stores for some extra cash as well.  The older my boys get the least I can find to buy at these stores but, ages 6 and under are prime for consignment shops! The stuff almost looks brand new and is a steal.

I hope these tips can help you and your family do and save more despite what your income is.  I realize this isn’t possible for everyone and, that many people have incomes so low that it truly does not take care of all of their needs but, if there is a way to cut..do it! These sacrifices are worth using your money on the experiences that really make life enjoyable for you!

For more on saving money, check out: “15 ways I cut our grocery budget in half.” 

how we live well on one income
How we live well on one incomehow we live well on one income
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30 Comments:
July 20, 2016

And don’t forget those coupon apps. Love them! We are a family of 5 with 2 dogs that eat expensive dog food. My husband laughed when I told him I’m able to pay for the dogs’ food from the cashback from these apps. He now has them and checks them before shopping. That has saved these little critters. Lol

July 20, 2016

LOL yes! I will write a post in the future about all the apps and sites I use to get money back! It’s definitely helpful!

July 21, 2016

Very insightful, My husband and I have to work on living on one income because I do realize the importance of it.

July 21, 2016

Thanks so much! Yes, I know a lot of people who live on 1 income even when they have two so that they can save or take the vacations they want to!

July 21, 2016

LOVE this post; I’m trying to navigate this side hustle thing in order to survive on my husband’s salary as well.
I downloaded the coupon app and am hoping that helps. Tithes and Budget Keeping are our top two priorities. I’m planning on substitute teaching once or twice a week to make ends meet.

July 21, 2016

Yes, it’s definitely a juggling act but it definitely helps if there is a way you can bring in some money here and there as well.

July 21, 2016

I agree with these! I can’t believe how many people throw their money away on cable! Ridiculous! Thanks for sharing!

July 21, 2016

LOL Yes i agree! Thanks!

July 23, 2016

I dont belive in god, but I think it is good to donate to some charity 🙂

July 23, 2016

Yes, charities are always a great way to give!

July 24, 2016

These are great tips. Budgeting and smart choices are key!

July 24, 2016

Thanks! I definitely agree as well!

I’m also a mom of 3 boys and a SAHM. I worked full time until 3 years ago when I became a SAHM. We still save just as much money as we did when I worked (and I earned half the household income) because we spent my entire salary on daycare, eating out and lots of stuff we didn’t need. Our quality of life has changed for the better and we still live well using many of the same tips you mentioned. Happy to meet you, us boymoms gotta stick together!

July 24, 2016

So awesome! Thanks for sharing!! I definitely agree with the quality of life!It is priceless! So great to meet you!

July 25, 2016

Nice tips, I’m not very good at budgeting so I shall be using them. xx

July 25, 2016

I’m so glad!!I will be posting much more on this issue going forward!

July 25, 2016

This is an amazing read. Since, right now I am a student, I dont think much on these terms but my student life ends in another two months. posts like these will help me prepare for my future.

July 25, 2016

Aww I’m glad you enjoyed it and I’m sure it will come in handy! Thanks!

July 26, 2016

Me and my partner live off one income at the moment while I am putting all my time into blogging. I am so happy that you have written this post, I think it is so important to share these things and raise awareness so that no one suffers in silence. GREAT POST!

July 26, 2016

Thanks appreciate it! Glad you enjoyed it and can relate!

August 5, 2016

Your post came to me at the perfect time! While we have two incomes, I am facing mounting medical bills. Such wonderful advice–I just started consigning and I’m blown away at the extra cash I am making!

August 5, 2016

I’m so happy to hear that! Yes, consigning is such a great way to pull in some extra cash! Don’t get overwhelmed by the bills just take it day by day doing what you can and, adding to them as you find ways to save and bring in extra income! Blessings!

August 5, 2016

This is great advice! I’m living off of one income currently and it’s hard sometimes. But we make do with some help like these articles. 🙂

August 5, 2016

That’s awesome! Yes, it’s worth the sacrifices and it is definitely possible!

August 5, 2016

These are some great tips! I too am a stay at home mom and at times its has been such a struggle to make ends meet. I truly agree about tithing, I think this is so important.

August 6, 2016

Yes, it is a challenge but, it is possible to still thrive and enjoy life!

August 7, 2016

Great article, Will definitely read more from you. You have really great ideas for living off of one income.

August 7, 2016

Thanks so much! I appreciate you following!

August 8, 2016

Great tips, we are a two household income but there are tips that can help us out with saving more money.

August 8, 2016

Exactly! They are even more helpful if you have 2 incomes!LOL

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