Today, I’m excited to reveal exactly what we’re doing to afford to live on one income!
You see, I had this crazy dream of becoming a stay-at-home mom after I had my second child (I was only 22 years old!).
But, can I be honest?
The thought of living on one income terrified me.
I just didn’t know how we were going to be able to afford it because we were always a dual income family.
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And I was totally freaked out about transitioning from two incomes to one, but it forced me to get real about our finances.
So I consumed all of the budgeting, frugal living, and personal finance tips I could find to help us lower our budget.
But, how do people live on one income?
First, let me say that it’s ABSOLUTELY possible to live on one income! Because I know there are so many women like me that just want to stay at home with your kids, I am living proof that you CAN do it.
Before I quit my job to be a stay at home mom, my husband’s gross income was just over $40,000 a year. So it was never a question if we could afford to live on less – it actually took more discipline to learn how to spend less.
18 Ways We Afford To Live On One Income (and save over $22,000!)
1. Downsizing Our Home
We sold our condo and moved into a two-bedroom apartment. We went from spending over $1,000 in living expenses (rent and utilities) to just $725/month because moved into an affordable apartment that provided free water and free heat.
The only downside was we had to do our laundry at my in-laws, but it was definitely worth the extra savings!
We saved: $4,080 (including rent and utilities)
2. Stop Eating Takeout
Not ordering takeout on the weekends was hard for us because we’d be so busy, that I’d forget to cook. So we were spending about $60 every weekend on fast food alone.
We saved: $2880
3. Bringing Lunch To Work
My husband was spending about $5-$7 a day ordering cafeteria or fast food for lunch. So I started packing his lunch instead.
We saved: $1300
4. Weekly Meal Planning
Learning how to weekly meal plan and cook more meals at home is what helped us to stop eating out. I started incorporating more pasta and casserole dishes I found on Pinterest so we could have enough food to eat for leftovers.
We saved: $2600
5. Skipping Bottled Water
We got a filtered water pitcher and use tap water instead!
We saved: $120
6. Manicure/Grooming Ourselves
My husband would go to the barbershop every two weeks for a $20 haircut, so I convinced him to let his mom cut his hair (she’s a licensed hairstylist) instead! Plus I stopped going to the salon, too.
We saved: $525
7. Lowering Our TV Bill
I have to admit, cutting the cable cord was extremely hard. It was one of the last few things we did. But once we finally got rid of cable, I bought a digital antenna to get free local channels, and we signed up for Sling TV.
But, we now watch live tv and sports on Hulu. You can read more about that here!
We saved: $960
8. Switching To A Low-Cost Phone Plan
I heard so many great things about MetroPCS that I decided to make the switch from Sprint (which was costing us almost $200 a month). Plus, we got to keep our iPhones, and I love that Metro PCS uses the T-Mobile Network, so we haven’t had any issues with our service!
We saved: $1104
9. Shopping At Secondhand Stores
I stopped buying my kids’ clothes from department stores and shop at kids resale stores instead. My favorite place to buy used kids stuff (clothes, toys, accessories, and shoes) is at Once Upon A Child – but in affluent neighborhoods, because they tend to have the best stuff!
We saved: $640
10. Printing Coupons
I started printing coupons at Coupons.com to save a little money on our favorite brands. We saved anywhere from $1-$5 extra a week.
We saved: $260
Now, I primarily use digital coupons and rebate apps like Ibotta which reimburses you (in cash!) for the groceries you buy when you upload pictures of your receipts!
11. Buy Generic Brands
We switched to Parent’s Choice (Walmart brand) diapers two months after I had my second son. We were buying Huggies and paying $25 for 140 diapers (Size 2).
But when we switched to Parent’s Choice, we got 228 diapers for $24 – and they hold up very well!
We saved: $192
12. Become A One-Car Family
Our second car was sitting in the driveway, so I let my sister rent it each month which takes care of our car payment. (win-win!)
We saved: $4008
13. Make Our Own Baby Food
Buying pre-made baby food was costing us about $12-$13 each week. So I bought a food processor and learned how to make my own!
We saved: $312
14. Buy Toiletries In Bulk
We decided to get a Sam’s Club Membership so we could buy things like toilet paper, toothpaste, trash bags, and more in bulk.
We saved: $160
15. Brew Starbucks Coffee At Home
Not going to work every day made it a lot easier to avoid the Starbucks drive-thru each morning. So I learned how to brew it at home!
We saved: $960
16. Earn Fuel Reward Points
Instead of buying groceries from Walmart, we shopped at Kroger to earn fuel points and save money on gas. For every $100 we spend on groceries, we get 10 cents off at the pump!
We saved: $520
17. Avoid Movie Theaters During Peak Hours
Going to the movies would cost us about $25 (for two adults, 1 child, and infant). So we started going to $5 Tuesdays instead, which only cost us about $10-$15!
We saved: $120
18. Breastfeed (if you can)
Infant formula where I live is expensive – $15 per can. So I breastfed my son exclusively for the first year.
We saved: $1560
In all, we saved a total of $22,183 that year! And we consistently save over $22,000 year after year.
Reducing our spending was necessary to allow us to live well on one income. So even if you only use a few of these tips, your family will start saving enough money to live on one income, too!