5 Tips for Living Well on One Income

This post may contain affiliate or referral links that help keep this site running. For more information about this, please see our disclosure policy.

Our family lives on one income. I don’t know how many of you do, but what I can tell you? Is that it is super hard to do sometimes. One wrong step in your budget and you’re off track so far that it can take months to get back to where you need to be.  Living comfortably on one income IS possible though. I have lived off of one income for the past 7 years…first as a single mom and now, with Tom as a stay at home Dad. There are a whole slew of things that we do to live comfortably on one income, but the 5 below are the main ones. Without these, we wouldn’t stand a chance.


When your family is living on only one income, things can get tight! These 5 tips will help you to not only survive, but to live well on one income!


If you’ve only got one income coming into the house, then everyone that spends money? Needs to be on the same page. Once a week, the hubby and I sit down and go over our budget. We balance our checking account, total up income that we have left for the month, total up our expenses and divide it up. We even take it as far as to assign each bill a paycheck so that when that check comes in? We know exactly where its going. If one person is left out of the loop on where the money is going, they could accidentally spend important money and not even know it until its too late.

5 Tips for Living Well on One Income

The second thing we’ve done is curbing most of our unnecessary spending. If we don’t need it, we don’t buy it. Cable was dropped for Hulu and Netflix. We shopped around and lowered our car insurance. We did whatever we could to reasonably lower our expenses. Even things like regular household items don’t get purchased on a regular basis. Instead, we make these items ourselves and save. Making those items yourself is a fantastic way to save and most of them are very quick to do. Here are a few tutorials to get you started:

Menu planning is another thing that I consider a must do. When grocery money is tight, having a planned menu ready allows you to know just how long you can eat on what you currently have in your home and exactly how much money you’ll need to spend money to spend for the rest of your menu. Aside from that, it also make dinner time SO much easier! I personally only plan out dinners, but you can do breakfast and lunch if that’s what you want. It really is a personal preference and only you will know which will work best for your family.

The fourth thing for us is that we’re always on the lookout for a way to add extra money into our budget. I use several sites and apps each month to add over $225.00 a month to my budget. Actually most months it is closer to $500 or $600 extra. Those gift cards can be used in place of cash when I need to buy something off budget (like with the heaters I just had to buy last week) or to grab everyday items without paying cash out of my budget (like pet supplies).

I use my local Facebook buy sell and trade groups to get rid of clutter or no longer needed items that way. I also use Swap.com to consign Emma’s clothing that doesn’t fit, movies we no longer watch, books and more. I tend to not use Ebay if I can help it simply because of their high fees, but I will if I have to. I also have friends and family that will save their no longer wanted items for me so that I can resell what I can and donate the rest so be sure to ask yours if they are willing to do that for you too. If you have a lot of items to sell, Shopify can be a good option. It will cost you $9.00/mo to host your store on Facebook or $29/mo for them to give you a website to sell on, but reselling can be very profitable so it is worth it to take a chance and try it for one month.

Shop Your Way Rewards is actually another awesome way to earn extra money. How? By becoming a personal shopper. You will get paid commision for gaining clients (your friends, family and neighbors!) when they buy online at Kmart or Sears or in store! You can earn a nice tidy sum this way!

Another great way to bring in extra income is by starting your own blog. This blog originally started for that reason and today it provides my family’s sole income each month. Starting a blog does take some work, but if that is something you’re interested in, I walk you through the first 3 steps of getting yours live HERE.

While it won’t keep you from spending, if you do any shopping online, you need to be using Ebates too. Using them with the shopping you’re already doing means that they will pay you cash back for the shopping that you are already doing. It won’t stop spending, but it will help put back a little bit of the money you spent (plus earn you a free gift card on your first purchase).

Finally the final tip I can give you for living on one income comfortably is this:

Be consistent. If you wake up one day, get everything set up and then never look at it again? You’ll soon find yourself in a financial hole so big that you may not be able to dig out. Be consistent with your budget, track your spending and don’t give up the fight and soon, you’ll be on track and living comfortably.


Stacy Barr
Follow Me

Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family. A true gypsy soul, her newest blog, Unsettled Hearts, chronicles the journey of her family to become full-time travelers. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

Click here to learn how I made over $100,000 blogging in 2016!
Stacy Barr
Follow Me

Our Readers Also Love:

Share the Wealth!
Pin on Pinterest935Share on Facebook50Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Yummly0Share on Google+1Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone


  1. My family does all of these! We also like to bake so around the holidays we sell goodies and use that money for entertainment, clothing, or if we don’t have anything special in mind, it goes toward extra bill payments. The kids get a share of the profit for helping too! When they have money, we don’t have to buy as much for them!

  2. Hi Stacy, I’m in a 1 income household as well and I love your article but I am curious about what everyday items you make yourselves? I’d love to hear back from you. Thanks for all your tips! 🙂

    • Hey Maria, I literally make everything I can. 99% of my cleaning products are made, bread, “convenience” snacks for my daughter and so on.

Speak Your Mind