The other day I was in my car thinking, can my family live on one income? Can your family live on one income?
Can we live on one income?
It’s been 3 years since I last lost a job. My history of unstable employment (working at startups is fun… and stressful when the money runs out) always keeps me mindful of the fact that no job is secure and stable forever. Things like potential job loss or decisions to work less lead me to question our lives and finances. If either one of us were no longer working, could we survive and thrive as a family on just one income?
My natural instinct is to say no, because I can’t currently see how it would be possible with our current income and spending.
I was considering a drop in income when I went back to work and hated being away from Penny, but it felt like I couldn’t afford to quit or even work half time hours. I can’t fathom being able to survive right now on just one income, but I keep questioning the statements I’ve told myself.
Would it really be impossible for us to live on one income, or do I just tell myself that because I fear the instability of past job losses?
Other People Living On One Income
I know it’s possible to live on one income because I see other families doing it.
Some do it out of necessity, some do it to spend more time with their kids, and some do it just to save one income for a more secure financial future.
Regardless of the reasons, I’ve seen families cut their spending and change priorities in their lives to live on just one income. I know it’s possible.
When I posted on YouTube asking if people could live on one income I got a lot of interesting replies:
So we live on one income about 50,000 a year. What we do to save is not have cable we find the cheapest insurance company for our two cars which we own. We do not have payments on anything. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT we do not go out to eat i cook monday – sunday and if there left over we eat them and we do not have birthday parties and we have a very small Christmas like one or two gifts each. We do not go crazy on things that we know they kids are going to break and lose because in reality your wasting the money we live like no one else. We tend to spend to much money on food. We don’t go out much just to do my coupon hauls. And church of course. So in a way you can live on one income if you have no debt and are comfortable on how you live. – I luv couponing
We did it with $40,000 and let me tell you it was a struggle, never realized how we did it! Then my hubby lost his job and i went back and made $25,000 and it was even harder but i totally did it, as for paying off debt then we couldn’t! Now we are way over that and wonder how we did it for real!!! Frugal, vegetable garden kind of not buying anything, worked on freebies, Christmas did as much gift card incentives i could find! You can i totally did it! We didn’t go anywhere and my car was 17 years old, made choices and it worked for us! – Happy 4us
We are very fortunate that we can live on one income. We’ve had to make some sacrifices through the years but it’s been worth it. It’s a ‘stepping out on faith’ kind of thing. :-) We’ve had one vehicle for years, until recently, cut our cable bill, had ‘free’ dates, like just going out and looking around, maybe eating out on the $1 menu. Bought groceries in bulk, it’s cheaper and lasts longer. Sometimes you have to cut out the extras in life to survive on one income. We had NO credit cards and still don’t. Found the cheapest car insurance.We’ve lived on one income of 35,000 to 40,000 before. I hope this helps some. –Life’s Little Thingz
It is possible. Having said that, possible doesn’t always mean it is pretty. How do I do it? Well, we committed to paying off all consumer debt before we had our daughter so that helped. We live 16 hours away from both of our families and childcare in Washington, DC is outrageous (it does not make sense for me to work). A few lifestyle choices play into it. We only have one car and we live in an apartment. Our phones are not the latest or greatest (but they are paid for!) and my daughter uses diapers from Aldi. I take my daughter to local parks, mommy groups, museums that are all free and within walking distance. We rarely eat out and never go on date nights simply because we don’t have family or a babysitter here (we are new to the city). I cook every meal possible and we buy a lot of her things second hand. We rarely travel (certainly not for vacation). I’m not extreme with our budget and we do not earn a lot (especially for living in a city with very high cost living). I do have a small amount of spending money budgeted for us for coffee or small amazon purchases. We have yet to build a fully-funded emergency fund or start saving for our daughter, but I am home with her. – mostagreeable
We live on 1 income, with one kid. We rent from my in-laws but without that we could do it as well. We don’t have to pay for childcare, which would be what I mostly paid for if I went to work. Being at work also adds in possibly a second car (we have 1), more gas, new clothes, convenience food/eating out, less time with your kids/why have them if you’re not around them, more Drs visits because kids catch lots more sicknesses in daycare… – The Babcocks
So clearly people are out there doing it and living on one income for less than $50,000. It is possible.
Our Goal to Live On One Income
Ultimately I’d like for us to move to living on one income if possible just so I feel more secure in our situation. Saving an entire paycheck right now sounds like a dream.
I’d like for us to move toward living off just one income so we can have more freedom in the future, instead of less. Being tied to a two income household means we ultimately have less options in how we spend our time and our lives, not more.
I would like to have the option to stay at home with Penny for a while, or take a longer maternity leave if we have another baby. Needing two incomes to survive doesn’t give me any options like that.
So I want to know. Can you live on one income? Do you live on one income? How do you do it? Does your location help or do you end up making lots of sacrifices?