Living as a single income family is a wonderful way of life. It certainly takes planning and effort, like all good things do! I recently asked a friend of mine how she has learned to thrive in a one income household. I wanted to share some of our tips with you! (I have opted to leave her name out for privacy reasons, but her tips are just as great!)
What do I mean by “One Income Family?”
Before jumping in, I want to clarify just what I mean when I say “single income household.” For my friend and I, it means that our husband is the primary breadwinner and we (the mothers) stay at home. We both happen to have some fun hobbies that bring in a tiny bit of side money, but not enough to count as an income. My friend is all about essential oils, and I love to sew for Etsy, but our families both rely on our amazing husbands to provide for us and our kids.
Why Live On One Income?
Living as a one income household might sound crazy, but it has so many benefits. Being responsible with our m oney is an important part of life, bit it is not the only important part of life. Living on a single income allows us mothers to take care of other vital aspects of home and family life ourselves (which is convenient, since we do it best!) and give our kids what they want most – the presence of their mother close by.
Here are just a few benefits and perks to choosing to live as a single income family:
- The children get to stay home with their mother as their primary caretaker.
- The stay at home mother has more time to balance housekeeping, hobbies, cooking real food, and teaching her children.
- Choosing a single income lifestyle means the husband and wife have to be on the same page financially, they have to work as a team!
- Sacrificing expensive purchases and working less hours can mean more quality family time together.
How is it possible for a family to live on a single income?
Living on one income is sometimes a challenge especially if you choose to have a large family. But it is totally possible and even joyful!
My personal experience as a single income family has been very good. We have chosen to live beneath our means, budget well, build a savings, and get out of debt. These things have all helped us learn self control, financial control, team work, and especially gratitude for what we have.
It also has practical benefits. We don’t have to schedule babysitters, drive to and fro, or pack diaper bags. We live at home!
There have been times when we have to get creative to be frugal, including making our own gifts and mending our own clothes, buying in bulk and cooking from scratch, and even owning only one car. But these lifestyle choices are actually not only doable, they have been fun. And it has been great to be able to raise our children with this skill of frugality and eventually budgeting also.
My friend’s family also has learned to thrive on one income, and she has 4 children! She and I worked together to come up with these 6 tips that we have personally used in our own lives. These tips and more have helped us successfully live and raise families while being stay at home mothers — a blessing we wouldn’t change.
6 Ways To Thrive As A Single Income Family
1. Make your Own Food From Scratch
This is a huge one! Making your own food from scratch not only provides you with healthier meals, and skills in self sufficiency, it also can save you a ton of money!
I have learned how to cook from scratch one baby step at a time. I still have to make some compromises, I don’t make all our bread products from scratch. (although I used to!) I have learned to buy in bulk and work our food budget so that we can eat well, healthily, and inexpensively.
2. Consider Being a One Car Family
This is one that was a huge hurdle for me. How is it even possible to be a one car family these days? But in the summer of 2020 when BOTH of our cars suddenly broke and we had to sell them, we made the crazy decision to only replace one of them. I learned to run all the errands on the weekends, and change to doctor’s offices that were open on saturdays. We played outside a lot, and had some amazing family time. My house was also very clean!
We still only own one car, which has saved us a ton with gas payments, repairs, oil changes, and insurance payments. But my husband also now has a work vehicle, so I am no longer stuck at home. We did it for a year, and to be honest, I miss it! It is possible and worth it!
3. Get Rid Of Credit Cards
It has been a financial goal of mine to NOT use credit cards, and we have succeeded! We built a house with no credit cards, bought a car, and more. It is important to have an emergency fund in place just in case you ever need it. We learn to pay with cash (from our debit card) and are very choosy with our spending!
4. Consider Homeschooling
This seems a bit counter intuitive because don’t you have to spend money on homeschooling supplies?
You’d be surprised that homeschooling actually is a great way to thrive as a single income family. Not necessarily because it saves huge amounts of money—although it can! The reason is because it provides the thriving element to your family.
Homeschooling is such a good way to strengthen your family bond, learn more about your children, and become a team. Those traits are all important when you have a big family goal such as financial freedom.
In addition, homeschooling is as expensive as you want it to be! There are homeschool fund reimbursement programs and other types of programs that can help with the funds needed for homeschooling too.
5. Evaluate your space – Are you paying for more than you need?
My friend says this from experience. She and her family have chosen to live the small space lifestyle, and it is working for them.
(Remember, she has 4 daughters in that space!)
We also live in a decently small space compared to what is considered normal these days. When we built our house, we decided to build a 1500 square foot house.
Living smaller means having less possessions, less payments, and more physical closeness as a family!
6. Have a discussion with your family about cutting back.
How many mugs do you really need? How many toys? Do you really need that many sweaters?
My friend’s suggestion was to make this fun!
“Pretend you’re the Ingles family, and go through an entire day with no tv, etc.”
It isn’t hard to think of ways to cut back. Maybe you are spending extra money on monthly subscriptions, or eating out a little too often? Maybe you could start building a thrifted wardrobe! There are so many options.
If you need some inspiration, be sure to check out my post “12 Super Random But Effective Ways We Save Our Family Money”.
Being A Single Income Family Is Possible
I hope these few ideas have helped illustrate to you that it is not hard to live well as a single income family, in fact you can thrive! I believe that all good things in life take effort, work, and a goal, and this is one of them. Being a one income household has made all the difference in our lives, as it has helped us not only get closer to financial freedom but also happy living.
Do you have any other tips to add to this list? What works in your family?