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5 Tips for Living on One Income

My husband and I have been together for over eight years now and we’ve finally welcomed a little baby into our family. Over the years we’ve gone in and out of being a one income family as I was in between jobs or starting a business. Now, with our son in the picture, we will be a (mostly) one income family for a year or more. Below are some tips for helping you transition into a one income family.


If you have time before the change, give it a try for a few months. Take the paycheck you’ll be losing and throw it in savings. This will get you used to all the changes you’ll have to make and let you know if you will be able to work it out.


Take a couple of hours, figure out exactly what you’re going to bring in on one income and create a budget. First lay out recurring monthly expenses like your mortgage/rent, car payment, electric, etc. When you have the number left over you can split that up into savings, groceries, eating out, etc. It’s up to you how elaborate you want to make your budget. For our family I just have 3 categories that I go by each month: Groceries, Pets and Other.


I know it sounds silly, but this has changed the way we keep our money organized. We have a couple of different accounts

  • Main Checking: Paychecks get deposited here + monthly bills get withdrawn from here.
  • Spending Checking: Each month deposit the amount we have budgeted to use aside from monthly bills into this account from the Main Checking account.
  • Savings: General savings account that has an automatic deposit coming from the Main Checking.

The beauty of the system above is that you know exactly how much you have to spend because it’s in your checking account. We always had the problem of overspending a bit and then having a bill come out and then we end up with an overdraft fee. Avoid this by keeping your money separate.


It’s important to have an emergency savings account so that when times get tough and you have a large, unexpected, expense, you have somewhere to get the money from. This can be anything from getting sick and having a few doctor bills to the car breaking down and needing repair.


If you’re up for it and have the time, try to find ways to earn a little extra money. I love to resell things we aren’t using for extra money. I also pet sit and babysit on occasion. Even if you’re just bringing in a few extra bucks, it’s nice to have a little padding. If you don’t need to money to make your one income family work, you can add this to savings or use it as fun money, it’s up to you!

Do you have an additional tips for living as a one income family?

Disclaimer: this post was originally posted on my frugality blog, Miss Tightwad, that I shut down to combine with Life By Aileen.

2 Comments on “5 Tips for Living on One Income

    1. It’s tough, especially if you’re used to living on two incomes. Luckily (maybe?) I’ve always been an entrepreneur so we’ve almost always lived off my husbands income and mine was just extra, we never depended on it.

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