5 Tricks for Living on One Income

If you either are living on one income out of choice or necessity, check out these 5 tricks for living and surviving on one income and creating a family budget that works for you.

There are many reasons you and your family may be living on one income. You may have decided for one parent to stay home and take care of the kids. Or, the decision may have been forced on you due to unemployment. Whatever the reason, losing one income can be hard on a family. However, there are so many things you can do to make things easier.

Cut Expenses

One thing you definitely want to do is to cut expenses. There are so many things we pay for that we don’t really need. You don’t really need a satellite package that costs $150 per month or to eat out several times per week. Look for ways to cut unnecessary expenses and look for ways to do the things you love for less.

Pay Ahead on Bills

Anytime you have extra income through bonuses or tax refunds, use that money to pay ahead on your bills. Some bills allow you to pay for months or a year in advance. For example, you can buy a one-year Straight Talk plan and end up getting two months free. You can also buy a Netflix gift card and cover several months in advance. You can even pay your car insurance 6 months or a year at a time. The more bills you can pay ahead, the less strain there will be.

Plan Meals

It may not seem like that big of a deal, but meal planning can save your family so much money. Each week, look to see what you have on hand and create a menu based on that. You will not believe how much money this will save each week. When planning your meals, look for ways to transform meals that will have leftovers into a new meal your family will actually want to eat. If you have money left over from your grocery budget, roll the money into the next week or put it towards debt.

Do Odd Jobs

While you may not want a full-time job, there are things you can do to make a bit of extra money each month. For example, if you’re staying home with the kids, consider babysitting for a friend who works. If your kids are friends with her kids, this is such a great way to make some extra money. You can also turn a hobby into extra income, such as making and selling crafts.

Keep Communication Open

You want to speak to your spouse and kids about finances each month. With your spouse, you want to be honest where money is going so that you can determine what is working and what’s not. With the kids, you need to explain that less money is coming into the home, but work together to come up with fun things to do that don’t cost money.

Living on one income isn’t impossible, even in today’s world. This allows you to be a stay-at-home parent or make it through unemployment without suffering. Either way, living on one income can be done.


  1. I completely agree with all of these. I’m terrible at paying bills ahead but really need to do it more often. We do still have satelitte TV but we went from $77/month to $50/month and I just and got it changed to $25/month. With Netflix and other Roku channels, it’s working out well.

    • Corrie C says:

      That’s great negotiating on your satellite bill! We actually just canceled our satellite TV a few months ago, because I was able to negotiate it down to $35 a month. When I called the last time after the promotional period ran out, they were only willing to do $45 per month, so I cancelled. That was more for me than what I’ll pay for streaming (between Netflix, Hulu, and Sling for ESPN when football season starts).

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