~How to Live on One Income~

I promise you, it can be done! Ever since we had our son & made the decision that I would stay home with him, we’ve learned to cut back! We were so accustomed to two incomes; we never would’ve thought it possible to survive on one (especially with three of us now!)

Maybe you can relate to our previous habits; my husband & I were both guilty of over- spending daily. For me it was a tea & a bagel in the morning (didn’t have time to make cereal?!), a fast food lunch & then since I had an hour, I might go to the drug store or department store & end up spending more money! I also thought nothing of regular clothes shopping, dinners out & other entertainment, gifts etc. & of course we enjoyed trips each year. These are just a few spots our money went. I’m sure my husband could add to this list with his own habits😉

Well, we have definitely changed our ways! We’re NOT perfect but we’re getting better & better all the time!


Is your family living on one income? Or maybe you’re about to? Here are some of the changes we’ve made & general tips I’ve found that might help you as well;


Practice Living on One Income Beforehand

This is not something we did but I wish we had. Start putting one person’s complete salary into a savings account. Not only will you be used to living on the one income but you’ll have savings for any emergencies that come up. It’s also a good practice in case one person was to suddenly lose their job.

Eliminating One Vehicle

My husband can walk to work in about 10 minutes, so this helps + it’s great exercise (his words, not mine ;))! Other options might be public transit; riding a bicycle in the right seasons or carpooling!

Downsizing Your Home

This one is more extreme but it might be necessary depending on your circumstances. Talk to your partner about whether this is something you’d both be comfortable with. You might save by purchasing a condo, a smaller or older home, maybe one in a less expensive area or perhaps a fixer upper if you’re handy. It doesn’t hurt to have a look at what’s available.

Assess Every Purchase

Do you look through flyers like me & think “that’s a good deal”? Ask yourself if it’s necessary; it’s only a good deal if it’s something you really need. Or maybe you’re at the mall & something catches your eye… WALK AWAY! If you’re still thinking about it a few days later & it’s in your budget, then it may be worth it. If you have trouble walking away, consider putting yourself on a “cash diet” & leave your debit & credit cards at home, locked up if you must! Another option; just avoid the malls unless you need something.

Now if shopping on-line is your downfall, that can be trickier! It’s so easy and accessible but if you want to/have to live on one income, you’ll find a way. Consider unsubscribing to websites that send you emails about sales. That could eliminate some of the temptation.

Reduce Spending on Tech

Let’s face it, in today’s world, you could spend a fortune! Try not to give in to the urge to have the latest & best of everything. At the least, try to find ways to reduce spending in this area. Shop around for the best deals & the best plans. We just had our land line/internet bill reduced by making a simple call questioning the rates. Several families are eliminating their land lines altogether & just using their cell or smart phones; definitely something to consider. Really assess your need for any new purchases…you don’t have to go without any tech, just remember, there was life before smart phones, tablets, even computers!

Save for the Important Stuff

For us, this has become experiences we want to give our son. Maybe you want to travel? Save for your children’s education? Reno’s for your home? It’s also important to have savings in case of emergency, for example, if an appliance needs replacing. Start those savings accounts for whatever it is that’s important to you!

Buy Second Hand

Say an appliance does break down & you’re not able to fix it. You have a professional come look & they say it’s not worth fixing. Buying a brand-new appliance can be costly, especially when you’re living on one income. There are lots of sites to check on-line to purchase something second hand.

This goes for smaller items too; you can shop at thrift stores, consignment stores, online…for just about anything you need! Not only will it save you money; but by re-using, you’re being environmentally conscious too.

Grocery Shop Like a Pro

This needed its own section for sure! Check flyers for the sales & go to a grocery store that Price Matches so you don’t have to go all over town to get the best deals! My husband does most of the grocery shopping & has become a pro; price matching, checking off his list, even shops with his pen behind his ear;) People ask him for advice at the grocery store!

Plan your meals for the week so you get exactly what you need. That doesn’t mean you can’t stock up on sale items that will keep or can be frozen, as long as you’ll use them. When planning meals, try to utilize the fresh foods into more than one meal i.e. cauliflower might be utilized in two meals that week (instead of one & the remainder rotting in the fridge). Utilize your left-overs for lunches or another supper. You can always spruce it up with a fresh salad or make it into another dish; fajita’s, a casserole etc.

Lastly, try to shop somewhere that gives you points towards something; like free groceries!

Budget for the Necessities

It helps to have a clear picture of your finances. We use an excel spreadsheet for this. We budget for the mortgage, groceries, all our bills, some personals, recreation etc. & this leads me to my next tip…

Discover Hobbies/Entertainment With Little to No Cost

Sadly, I don’t think my husband & I ever went to our local Conservation Area before having our son. The first day we went, it was a winter wonderland out there! It was a mild day with fresh fallen snow, just beautiful! Perhaps you have parks, trails & places like this in your area?

Another tip; watch for free events & entertainment in your area; check on-line or in the newspapers!

In warm weather, there are countless free activities; rollerblading, bicycling, a beach day etc. & when is the last time you enjoyed a picnic with your partner or family?

Whatever your situation, I hope some of these tips will help you & your family!


This is such a broad topic & so many possibilities; if you have tips you’d like to share with other readers, please leave them below!

Lastly, do you know others who might benefit from reading this post? Please share using the buttons below ~ thanks!

Please follow, share and like us!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

  • Follow by Email
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn