Living on one income

What do I know about living on one income? 

I have been a stay at home mom for a year and a half now. Before this season of life I was a working mom for 7 months. I have been in both situations, I’m not saying I know it all, but I have probably been in a similar situation that you are in. 

Let me give you a little back story, I had to go back to work after 12 weeks of maternity leave because there was no way we could afford to live on one income. With hard work in 2020 we paid off $20,000 in debt (view our debt free journey here) and in 2021 with the help of my in-laws that was another $25,000 gone. In 2022 we plan to pay off more debt to give some more room in our budget including my student loan of just over $23,000. I do not like debt!!!!! Actually I don’t know who likes debt? After paying off our debt in 2020 I was/am making an extra income with Herbalife Nutrition so I was still bringing in a small income for our family that was extra. I quit my job June 6, 2020 and never looked back. 

I did not like my job, they were unfair about the pumping situation at work, and just overall was a negative environment to be in. I was looking for other jobs, but realized that actually would not help my mental health situation. What I really wanted was to be able to stay home with Julian. My husband was super supportive, but we were both scared what this would look like. You know how they say, you don’t know until you try? This absolutely rings true in this situation. Worst case scenario was that I would have to go find a job again, but I was determined to not have to do that. So Kristi, how did you guys make it work? I’m getting there.

For reference my husband makes about $45,000-$50,000 gross annually. I do make a part time income as well of about $200 a month. If you want to find an income at home I would love to chat with you about joining my team. Visit my website,, and fill out the wellness profile so we can chat! 

For us, living on one income did take planning and sacrifices. Our situation was not where one of us makes significantly more than the other and quitting a job was going to be a piece of cake. A few things that helped us, we refinanced our house and car. This cut about $250-300 a month which was pretty significant for us. After I quit my job and in July 2021 we decided to sell our car that we had a payment on and be a one car family. Now this takes so dedication ya’ll. I was staying home at that point so we didn’t really need 2 cars. So we sold our car which eliminated another $400 a month. So this brings me to my first point of planning to live on one income. 

The prep

Come to terms that you may have to make some sacrifices. 

This is where frugal living comes in. Living on one income may take some adjustments financially. We sacrificed a car. We sold our house and moved to an apartment. Don’t be intimidated by the planning part, that’s just the start of the process and will get you to where you need to be to be successful with living on one income.

What do your sacrifices look like, if any? 

Prepare your emergency savings and budget

Life continues on even when you let go of one income. An emergency fund is essential- I recommend 3 times your monthly bills saved up in your emergency fund. For reference, I always have at least $10,000 saved. Last year our air conditioner gave out on us and I was thankful we had our emergency fund to pay for it. 

And then the budget, I am a budget fanatic. Know the take home income and the bills that come out of the bank account. Create a new budget of one income. This will help you understand if living on one income is realistic for you. Also figure out your debt payoff amounts. If you have some debt that is almost paid off, work on paying it off sooner to get rid of it. Lastly, realizing where your money is being spent will help determine if there are any monthly costs that you can cut or let go of all together. 

Give it a try before making the leap

Dip your toes in the water first before fully submerging. As you continue to have two incomes, act as if you are living on one income. The other income is all extra and goes towards building that emergency fund of paying off debt. Do this for 2-3 months while adjusting your budget to make sure it works for one income. This gives you a trial run to see if you can do it before you quit your job. 

How to live on one income 

Find cheaper solutions

This may look like finding a cheaper insurance company, refinancing your home or car, shopping at Aldi instead of Whole Foods, and the list goes on. These are just a few examples and what we did. There are endless cheaper solutions, you have to commit to the changes. 

Let go of subscriptions

Do you really need Spotify, pandora, cable, HULU, netflix, and Disney? This is overkill, but you get my point. The little things add up too, so figure out the necessities and let go of the rest.

We cut all subscriptions except for Disney (because we have a toddler) and share Netflix with family. We couldn’t justify the cost of $75+ a month on subscriptions.

Create a meal plan instead of eating out 

There are times where we are just too lazy to cook and I get that. It can be so much easier to do DoorDash than make a meal. However, cooking will save you tons of money. Create a meal plan for the week that the family will enjoy and then buy those ingredients. Now you have the plan and the ingredients. 

Find free or discounted entertainment in your area

My husband and I took our son to see a movie not too long ago and it was $50 for us 3, that was insane. You can also find discounts on groupon for entertainment. On this note, many times season passes to places are cheaper and will pay for themselves so that is worth considering. 

Sell your car or find a cheaper one

You may be thinking, that is absolutely impossible. Well my friend, it is not and if you need to make a big sacrifice then you need to make a big sacrifice. We sold our car almost a year ago and saved $400+ a month, not including maintenance and registration. If you are living on one income and one person is staying home, is there a need for more than one car? This is just something to think about. We will eventually buy another car, but will pay it in full when we do. 

Find an extra income source

If you are living on one income and the bills are barely getting paid, but you don’t want to go back to work, consider working from home. lists out 25 stay at home mom jobs that pay well. This is something to consider if you want to continue living on one income. 

Living on one income does not have to be restrictive. You can still live your life and have fun even on one income. It may take a little extra creativity and thought for some things, but that’s not all bad. 

Living on one income may seem impossible to some, but to many they make it work and love it! It really is not as bad or as hard as it may seem. You can be happy with less money, living on one income has it’s pros and cons and you just have to weigh what is right for you. I hope you found these tips helpful!

I would love to hear more tips that you have and your story of living on one income!


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