How to Live Well on One Income + 6 Tips to Make it Work

How to Live Well on One Income + 6 Tips to Get There

We are slowly approaching the anniversary of going to one income. I quit my job in September 2018 to stay home with our young son. My job was stressful and my schedule was never consistent. We’ve had ups and downs with living on one income, but we make it work. Have you ever wondered how to live well on one income?

Let’s note that everyone’s situation is different. Your family could have way more (or way less) income than mine does. If your family is in a high-cost-of-living (HCOL) area, that effects your lives monetarily too.

#1 – Going from two incomes to one income is a huge financial transition – talk it out.

The decision to go from two incomes down to one income is HUGE. How to live well on one income is only one broad question in the greater scheme of things (which means your lifestyle).

Don’t think that one day you’ll just wake up and decide you’re quitting your job. It is much, much more than that. Losing your job involuntarily is one thing – quitting is another.

Talk with your partner if this financial transition is in your future. Talking it over and making a plan is crucial to live on one income.

Read how we get our budget back on track after overspending >>> HERE

#2 – Make a budget.

Come together with your partner and make a new one-income-budget. Living on one income can mean a drastic reduction in cash flow. Having this conversation early can prevent budget failures.

My husband and I use a zero-based budget. This means that we allocate every single penny we earn. Mortgage, groceries, savings… you name it. Every cent has its place. Income – Expenses = ZERO. In no way do we spend all the money that comes in (money into savings is consider an “expense”). This just ensures that we know exactly where all of our cash goes.

Learn more on reducing your budget >>>
How We Slashed Our Budget
20 Ways to Be Frugal
7 Tips for Frugal Living Beginners
The Principles of Frugal Living

#3 – Be real with your budget and reduce expenses.

With two incomes, chances are that you had a little extra cash to spend on unnecessary things. We’re talking new electronics, new furniture, manicures and trips to the salon, the latest fashion, and more. Honestly, you can’t do that anymore.

Unless your partner has a significant salary, by all means, continue to make unnecessary purchases. But chances are you are reading this because you need advice on how to make this work.

Here are a few ways you can reduce expenses:

#4 – Minimize.

My husband and I have become minimalists over the past few years. We have discarded hundreds (if not thousands) of items. We’ve sold those items on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and at garage sales. We made several thousand dollars doing this – over a few years mind you.

We are so much happier with less. Now that we have less stuff crammed into our house, we are actually buying less. Gone is the need to always buy something new. Yes, we still shop, but we always try secondhand first.

I believe that if you declutter and minimize your possessions, you’ll also be able to minimize your expenses. You will see that you don’t need to buy a new TV or coffee table. Or that your kids already have a playroom full of toys.

See more on minimalism and decluttering >>> HERE

#5 – Set short term and long term goals.

If you only want to stay home or quit your job because you just don’t want to work anymore, you might be hard pressed to set long term goals. If you’re staying home or leaving your job to better your life and your family’s lives, then you’ll be able to set goals and reach them.

For us, the goal of staying home was to 1) leave my stressful job and 2) be able to provide a life for our son I didn’t think he would get if we both worked. Goal #3 would be to either go back to work once he starts school OR start homeschooling. We’re still undecided 🙂

To identify why you want to leave a job and stay without a job and what you will do next. Type it up or write it out and then go over it with your partner. Take note of concerns you each have and adjust your plan as you go.

#6 – Stick with it.

We worked so hard to move to a single income. When I finally quit my job, I had this sigh of relief the first Monday I didn’t have to go back to work.

But then I got overwhelmed.

I thought that because my husband worked all day and provided the only income our family had that I too had to contribute financially. Didn’t I leave my job in order to not be stressed out?

I started to take on too much with this blog (I thought I had time to post twice a week – ha!), I wanted to sell a lot of our clutter on Poshmark, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace which takes time, and I also tried to do everything around the house all in one day… everyday.


When I talked to my husband about it, he reminded me of our Big Why – it’s all for our son and for me to be happy. Now I’ve taken up sewing again, I’m reading more, workouts actually exist, I’ve lost weight, and I’m more motivated to work on my blog.

I was pressuring myself to be a “good mom” and a “good housewife”. And I didn’t need to! I was comparing myself to what society says is “good”. I AM a good mother and a good wife.

It might get hard and you might lose sight of why you went to one income. But remember why you’re doing this. You can absolutely live well on one income. You got this.

How to Live Well on One Income

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