Living on one income in a two income world.
It is hard to overcome the emotions and the feelings of living with less money.
However, it doesn't have to be that way. It is easy to thrive when living on one income.
But, life is about happiness - not money. Money doesn't equal happiness.
For pretty much all of my adult life I (or we) have lived on one income. Yes, there was a short time period we were a dual income family, but that was short lived with a baby on the way.
It doesn't matter the reason you may have choose or been forced into living on one income. That isn't what we are going to discuss today. Life happens. Living on one income in a two income world may have been what you wanted or it was thrown upon you. Regardless, you can survive and thrive in your current situation.
So, in the end, you don't need more money in your life. Just to be purposeful with what money you have.
You can live on one income!
You may be still wondering, so... how do people survive on a single income? We are going to cover that and give you specific ways to living on one income.
Plus you can find plenty of tips to make it more enjoyable and find success!
How to Live on One Income?
Today, we are going to layout the exact information you need to be successful with living on one income. You will find the process harder at the beginning, but over time it will become easier and easier.
Whether you want to stay at home parent, a health issue, a forced layoff, or a personal choice, you are gong to find tips for living on one income.
1. Know Your Why
What is the reason for wanting to be a single income family? That will answer how you become a single income family that will work for you.
What is your why?
Your why is your reason to be one income family in a dual income world.
Everyone's reason for living on one income is different. Maybe to a stay at home parent? Maybe to enjoy life and less stress? Possibly a health condition holding you back? Maybe you plan to save the second person's income to reach financial independence faster? Very possibly, you were forced into this situation when you lost a job.
It doesn't matter to the world why you are choosing to live on one income. It only matters to you why you want to do it.
Make sure you understand your reason and your why. That will help you when you need reminding.
Don't go any further until you answer these questions:
- What is the reason for wanting to be a single income family?
- What is your why?
- Are you willing to make sacrifices?
- Are you okay living differently than most of society?
In order to be successful, you must know your why.
That will keep you going in the good and bad times.
Related Reading: With the Right Money Mindset, Go from Broke to Rich
2. Make the Hard Choices
When less money is available, you are forced to make the hard decisions.
Luxuries more often than not are out of the equation. You may be forced to decide which bill to pay and which bill not to pay.
That is part of living on one income. You can't always say yes.
To help you decide what stays and what goes, figure out your bare bones budget. That number will help make the hard choices easier.
Also, for us, going on a spending freeze helped us decide what we wanted to spend money on and what we didn't. Many of the things we regularly spent money on and wouldn't consider giving up in the past never made it back into our new spending habits. Give it a try for 30 days! To help you, grab our free no spend printables.
Related Reading: How to Live Below Your Means and Love Life
3. Build a Strong Foundation
This is paramount in order to have financial success when living on one income.
One financial storm or personal crisis comes in and you can be left without any solid ground to stand upon.
Therefore, make sure you do these things:
- Organize your personal finances
- Have an emergency fund in place
- Set aside money to pay for medical expenses
- Work hard to get out of debt
- Start a rainy day or a big expense fund
That is the basis to make sure you have a strong foundation. To read more and change your life forever, learn the Money Bliss Steps to Financial Freedom.
Building a strong foundation with money is crucial especially when living off of one income. You have less flexibility (specifically income) to make money management happen.
4. Set Money Goals
Money goals are paramount when making choices to successfully live on one income.
Your money goals become a path for you to follow. Things to look forward to accomplishing.
When living on one income, there is less money overall to go around. While your basic needs are taken care of, you may have less discretionary or fun spending than your friends, family, and neighbors. That doesn't mean you can't have any fun, you just have to become more creative!
For us personally, money goals were critical when we were surviving on one income. We were able to accomplish little things like build a bigger emergency fund, start sinking funds... but, the best one of all is we were able to pay off debt while living on one income! If we can do it, so can you! Here is our debt free story!
So, you have to prioritize what is important in your life. Set your money goals today!
5. Find Contentment
When living on one income, you must be happy for what you have. Grateful and thankful for what you are able to accomplish in a dual income society.
A jealous heart will never find happiness. Money will never provide happiness.
Happiness is found within your heart. You can't artificially manufacture it. It just grows along with contentment.
Too many times, we try to overcome what we don't have in our bank accounts by pretending we do. This isn't just like keeping up with the Joneses'. This is about proving to yourself that you do have more money because of all of the material stuff you were able to acquire and purchase.
This leads to overspending money that you don't have in the first place.
Next time, look around you to find contentment with what you do have. Also, be wary of the lifestyle creep that can sneak up on you!
Oh, my! This is the simplest way to live on one income.
Minimize what you own, what you have, and what you desire.
The less stuff you have, the more money you will have since you don't need to pay to maintain so many things.
Plus it makes you find contentment in what you own. No more overwhelm and stress.
If you don't know where to start on your minimizing journey, I highly recommend this book on minimizing (don't worry, it isn't the Marie Kondo method of sparking joy). My favorite book helped me to minimize and eliminate so much unnecessary items out of our house. Pick it up for your motivation and then pass it along to a friend after you are done (or keep it because each year you probably will want minimize more and more out of your house).
Living with less makes living on one income easier on your budget.
Related Reading: Our Journey to Own Less Stuff After 6 Weeks Without Our Things
7. The B-Word... Budget
The most critical factor for being successful when living on one income is to budget. And I don't mean create a budget and never look at it. I mean make a budget that works for you and stick to it.
When living on one income, allocating and spending every dollar is of utmost importance.
Wasteful spending is painful because you can't reach your money goals because a dollar here and there adds up fast.
Budgeting is crucial for success when living on one income.
Even a loose budget is better than nothing. You need to know that your income is less than you expenses.
It will take you from just barely getting by to understanding what truly matters in your life and focusing on those things. You can manage your money and not be managed by your money.
- How to Budget Money and Still Enjoy Life
- 9 Surprising Advantages of Budgeting your Money
- Full List of Budgeting Apps on the Market
- How to Make a Budget in 7 Simple Steps
- The Best Methods of Budgeting You Need to Know
Current Dual Income Families
This is one piece of advice I wished someone would have given to me. So, I am going to give it to you.
If you are blessed to be a dual income family, then save the 2nd person's income and willingly live off just one income.
That way you are always living below your means and able to withstand any financial storm or personal crisis.
If you are thinking, we can barely make ends meet now there is no way that can happen. Start the process slowly by saving a greater percentage each and every year.
Then, you will be prepared if you ever need to transition from two incomes to one. Also, you are laying the foundation to reach financial independence sooner.
Are You Ready to Live on One Income?
It is all about your mindset.
Living on one income isn't hard. It is just an adjustment in the dual income world.
You are completely capable of living on one income.
If you are wondering how to live on one income with debt, that is something we did for many years. So, it is possible and doable. Plus we were able to become debt free while we were a single income family.
The key to success is knowing why you are living on one income and the non-tangible benefits that come with it.
Remembering your why can help you when times get tough. Also, building a strong foundation with money will make sure you can stay an one income family in a dual income world.
If you have desired to be a single income family, then it is possible for you do to it. We have lived a modest and frugal living to make it happen. You can do the same thing, too!