Are you thinking about making the change of going from two household incomes down to one? Is the thought of living on less money a little frightening?
Or do you wonder if it’s even possible to raise a family on one low income?
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You Can Live on One Low Income
The answer is Yes!
You certainly can survive with only one source of income coming into your household. In fact, we have done it for years even with children.
The biggest trick to living on a low income or any income for that matter is to live below your means and to be frugal. It really is that simple to start off with.
So for example, if my husband was the sole financial provider of our family and he only brought home $1,000 each month, we wouldn’t attempt to find a home where the rent is $1,000 or even $950. Living below your means is living at a minimum cost of your income. So maybe I would look for a place that is half that or less for rent.
Now, this may seem strange but that is how you ensure that you have money to fall back on after paying your living expenses.
1. Set Up a Budget
Once you have found a home that fits your needs but doesn’t take all of your paychecks, you need to think about setting up a budget.
Making a budget is fairly simple. It’s following it that becomes difficult.
For example, you would first write down your income for a month at the top. Next list every single expense that needs to be paid monthly. So that includes, rent or mortgage, electricity, water, and even groceries, car payment, and car insurance.
The list goes on. Everyone has different expenses so be sure to list yours and the expected amount of that expense.
Next, you simply subtract all of your expenses from your monthly income and you will have your final amount. By writing everything down on paper you get a very good visual of where all of your money is going and if you need to make any changes to your expenses.
2. Eliminate Non-Essentials
So, of course, you have to have electricity, water, and food, but do you really need that $80 cable and internet and home phone bill?
This is one of the expenses that you can think of and decide if there may be a cheaper option or if you really need it at all.
For my family, we do not have cable at all. When my husband and I were first married we had cable, internet, and even home phone. And to be honest it was a waste.
I can’t even remember using the landline phone for anything. Since both of us had cell phones there was no need.
Once we moved into a two-bedroom and had our daughter, we were on a very tight budget so we had to only have necessary expenses and work with what we had.
And since we actually needed the internet for work purposes and it was only $20 a month we found a way to stream movies and tv shows through Hulu and Netflix. And all together we were able to watch our favorite tv shows and movies online without blowing our budget.
In fact, you can start watching your favorite shows and movies on Hulu for only $5 a month.
So this another option for saving money and being a little more flexible with your bills. While making little changes like this don’t sound like much, they truly can mean the difference between paying a bill and not.
3. Save Where You Can
When it comes to anything that you have to buy – always try to save money.
So when you are grocery shopping try to make smart decisions and give meal planning a try. It not only helps you save money but also reduces food waste. I have a whole entire post that goes into detail about how I save money every time I go to the grocery store.
You can also save tons of money with your baby and child expenses.
My family has cloth diapered two children and saved thousands by making this choice. You truly can start cloth diapering for $100. And this method will last you until potty training age.
We also save money on clothing for our kids. One trick we have learned is to always try to find hand-me-downs for our children. Hand-me-downs are like gold. Seriously. I have been given trash bags full of clothing for my kids that look barely worn and still have tons of life.
There are numerous things my family has stopped purchasing simply because it was wasteful and we can reuse and make our own. Like our kitchen towels and rags. We used to spend over $20 a month just on paper towels and it adds up to $240 a year. Now we have cloth kitchen towels and rags that we wash and reuse. These are my favorite ones.
Another huge item that we stopped buying was laundry detergent.
By making our own laundry detergent from home, I was able to go from spending over $5 a bottle to making an entire container for pennies. And the best part was that I knew exactly what ingredients were in the laundry soap. Meaning no harmful chemicals or dyes that irritate my kids’ sensitive skin.
It is Possible to Live on One Income
As you can see, there are so many different ways to stretch one income to your needs. Almost anyone can do it, you just have to take the steps and make it happen.
To be honest, for us, it wasn’t that hard to budget and make these changes. We also loved that we didn’t have those added stresses that come with wanting extra items such as paper towels and diapers for the baby. By making substitutions we’ve found our new normal.
I am also a huge numbers person and so while my husband was focusing on bringing home the bacon, I made it my job to save us as much money as I could so that I could stay home and raise our child.