Every mom should have an option to stay home with her children, regardless of income

8 Tips for Affording to Live on One Income

In this economy, it may seem impossible to afford to be a stay at home mom. With rising costs, less jobs, and higher bills, it may not make sense to try to live on one income, and what with the world constantly blasting in your ears that you’ll never make it, how is it even possible to stay home with your kids? I stand here today to tell you it is SO possible. As a single stay-at-home-mom, I can prove it, and with a little bit of creative planning and a few lifestyle changes, you can too!

In this economy, it may seem impossible to afford to be a stay at home mom, but as a single SAHM myself, I assure you, it's not! Click to find out some fantastic tips. Want more? Sign up for my newsletter and get the free guide: "How to Afford Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom" absolutely free!

8 Tips for Affording to live on One Income

In this article, I’m going to give you the most foundational, basic principles you will need to adopt to live on one income, and if you’d like more of the nuts and bolts how it’s all possible with step-by-step directions, please join my newsletter.

The first thing you’ll want to do is…

Start saving

Start saving for an emergency fund in case your husband loses his job, his pay is cut, he gets injured, etc. While this is sound advice for a 2-income home, it is even more prudent in a 1-income household. You absolutely must have a savings account for emergencies. Especially for like in my case. My income is so unstable. One month I’m rich, the next, I have nothing. I had to learn real quick how to live with highly inconsistent paychecks.

Start living more frugally

I love this era in our economy. Even the very affluent people in our nation are saving money. People are becoming more and more educated on how to live more frugally, yet, still most of us spend excessively at times. The truth is, you CAN live a very good life frugally. How I pay for all my fancy smancy stuff is by NOT paying for some of the basics that others are. This frees up my money like you wouldn’t believe so that I can have all that I want and more. The truth is, that while I spent most of my career in the financial world and know how to budget very well, I rarely budget my bills. I don’t spend frivolously, I rarely buy things, and when I do, I know the money is there. Why? Because I’ve become so good at conditioning myself to not want everything I see, and in turn, not buy everything I want.

As a result, there are few things that I truly want in my life, and if I want something, I buy it. For you, this may mean starting on a smaller scale just like I did when I first started. Not buying new clothes when you don’t need them, not buying the newest gadgets when you don’t need them, and not eating out as often as you like (that was a huge one that used to suck up a LOT of my money each month!) Cutting out some expenses that are unnecessary will often open up a lot of room in most people’s budgets, and I would definitely suggest having a budget.

Prioritize things

This is one of the hardest ways to become stable on a 1-income household. It means taking an honest look at where your money is going and creating a budget for your spending. Could you do without Netflix? How about that $10 charge that is going through your bank account each month for who knows what. Call and find out what it is and get rid of it. Place all your bills in a pile and decide which ones you can actually cut. For me, it’s pretty simple. I like internet, I like the fastest highest speed internet available, so I pay extra for that. I also like my satellite T.V. so I pay extra for that. I like my iPhone, okay, that’s more of a love. lol. But outside of those 3 bills, I do NOT have any other irregular bills, just utilities. I don’t have debt because I am determined to pay cash for everything, even large purchases. So, my bills are pretty simple and pretty basic, and I like it that way. Yours may not be so simple. The goal is prioritizing and trying to figure out what you really don’t need. I mean, really, are you really ever going to use that gym membership? Why not get a treadmill and put it in your garage and save some money! Again, eating out is another HUGE money sucker.

Negotiate on your bills

You may not realize it, but many places that you pay money to, may be willing to work with you on coming up with a better amount to pay that will fit your budget. Look into this option and see how much you can cut. I know for me, a lot of times I will call a company and just blatantly ask, okay, how can I save money on this? Sometimes they will not tell me. Most times they will. When they don’t tell me, I call right back again, and get someone who WILL tell me. It could be as simple as paying a 6 month car insurance policy all at once, which I do, and it saves me $48/year. That is almost my whole T.V. bill right there. One month free T.V. every year. Oh yeah!

Now, imagine doing that with everything and you are literally saving a lot. Then, once you know a company’s policy, you won’t likely be ripped off the next time some sales guy calls you and tells you that YOU NEED to upgrade your plan. Not if you know the rules. This also saves you a lot of money!

Meal Plan

Something as simple as coming up with a meal plan can really help you cut hundreds of dollars a year off your food budget. Meal planning is the easiest act of deciding what you will be eating for the week (or month), and using leftovers, what you already have in your pantry and freezer, and a few bought items to work with. It is very good for those that don’t really know how much they are spending on groceries, to reign in some of that extra spending.

Clip coupons

There are many 1-income households that rely heavily on coupons to allow them to stay home. In fact, you really can get free or nearly free food, household goods, beauty supplies, and personal care items with just the use of coupons and matching them with sales. If you are new to couponing, start reading blogs that deal with the subject as well as consider joining a class that may be near you. My favorite couponing site, the one that taught me most everything I know way back in the day, is FabulesslyFrugal. Although I rarely coupon anymore, it is a fantastic way to save an obscene amount of money each month. Just one tip, don’t go overboard. Don’t buy something you won’t use just because it’s cheap or free.

Don’t get any new debts

This means paying off your credit cards and not getting any more. It also means not taking on new loans of any kind. The less debt you have, the more income you have. It’s that simple.

If you can, downsize some things. If you have two cars, get rid of one (as long as it is paid off and makes sense to do so). If you rent, consider renting a smaller place if you can. Downsizing can often make a lot of sense if you can make it work for your lifestyle. In time, after you are great at saving money and living on one income is a breeze, you will be able to have more, but in the beginning, you have to downsize and get out of debt, get your finances in order and prioritize that you want to stay home with your kids, knowing there will be sacrifices to do so. In the end, it’s all worth it, I assure you. I’d rather have less than what I do and be home with my kids, than miss their lives working at some job. No matter how rewarding my career was before kids, nothing will ever compare!



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In this economy, it may seem impossible to afford to be a stay at home mom, but as a single SAHM myself, I assure you, it's not! Click to find out some fantastic tips. Want more? Sign up for my newsletter and get the free guide: "How to Afford Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom" absolutely free!

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  1. I think awareness and a meal plan are so important. I know that it helps us when I am especially aware of where the money is going and what we are eating for the week. Coupons can help as well, although I am not an extreme couponer. Great post!

    • Yes, great ideas Elizabeth! I know a lot of women really save their families a lot of money by freezer cooking as well. It’s something that I want to get more into when life is more settled. Food prices are just outrageous these past couple years. Seems like they’ve gone up and up and up, like gas. lol.

  2. I found your post through Twitter. Thank you so much for the tips! I’ve worked full time the past 4.9 years and now that I’m a mom I really want to stay home and raise my son. These tips are a starting point for me. I’m signing up for your newsletter, but if you have any more advice/websites anything I would really love it!

    • Glad you found me Whitney! Welcome. 🙂 I pray that God leads the way for you to be able to stay home. It is SO possible! You will get a lot of in-depth info. in the newsletter, but another thing you’ll want to do is go through the 30 days section. Also, right now I am working on something that will take readers way more in depth than I can go on in the blog. You’re gonna love it! 🙂

  3. Often time people think that living frugally makes you cheap. But, it is really a mindset like you mentioned above. Taking the time to figure out where you can cut back without spending excessively each month can make a huge difference.

  4. So admirable and necessary to try to live on one income! I have been able to swing it for years now, and while it’s had it’s challenges, it’s been so worth it. With three children, there is always something that is needed! And when I have to shop, I love online shopping- no hassle! My favorite new discovery is that there are sites with professional bargain hunters that find you the best deals out there- they do all the comparisons and really get THE best possible deal out there- especially the big ticket items!

    • There are a lot of good sites out there that do that. Makes it so easy to save money, but I find that I have to be careful/stay away from sites like that personally. While they make it easy to save, they make it easy to spend! LOL

  5. Great list, Sarah! We lived poor so we could live better later. The month before we graduated college we paid off $12,000 in school loans to be debt free. We’ve gone with no tv. Drove a crappy car for years. Don’t eat out much. But it was so worth it!! Bought a home two years out of college. And we can afford things like a two week Mediterranean cruise and installing an air conditioner, all in cash. I would gladly cut back on some things and coupon if I can afford those things. 🙂