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Helpful Tips and Strategies for Living On One Income

It's no news that the greater majority of workers are one-income earners. Different individuals and families change to one income for several reasons; some to take care of household responsibilities, some to cut childcare expenses by becoming more of a stay-at-home parent, and others for personal growth. Still, others live on one income due to a lack of opportunities. Whatever the reason, one-income earners are not uncommon. That's a fact. However, you would agree that living on one income, especially a minute one, can be a challenge. It can invoke changes in your lifestyle, budget, and potential goals. Makes you wonder if living on one income is actually possible. The good news is that, if done the right way, moving to one income can go smoothly.

mother and son

In this article, we will be considering some helpful tips that can assist one to live better on a single income. Let's dive in.

Create A Budget

The first step is budgeting. The importance of budgeting when living on one income cannot be over-emphasized. Budgeting will be a very beneficial tool when switching to a one-income family. A budget will enable you to have control of your finances, know where your money is spent and facilitate you to regulate your spending by specifying how much money you can afford to spend.

Building a budget is a great idea for everyone, but mostly for households living on a limited income. Pen down your budget, with certain levels of spending, and stick to it. Working with an existing budget is easier to get started. If you are not sure how to go about building a budget, it may take a little more time. You can begin with a pen and paper, an excel sheet, or one of several budgeting apps that are available on the Internet. Draft a plan of your different monthly expenditures, and how much funds to allocate to them. A basic budgeting technique that can come in handy is the 50/30/20 rule. With this strategy, you approximately spend 50 percent of your income on essentials, 30 percent on recreation, and 20 percent goes to savings. Ensure to factor in how much you’ll save when you cut out costs such as dry cleaning, lunches, and other needless expenses. This method will assist you in getting a logical view of what living on one income will look like for you.

Note that creating a budget and sticking to it is a determining factor as to if you'll be successful in your endeavors or not.

Save For Emergencies

Having an emergency fund can be of assistance in reducing the anxiety about living on a single income. It can help get you covered when in the face of unforeseen expenses such as medical payments or an unanticipated home or car repair. In general, you should have enough savings put away to cover six to nine months of living expenses by the time you switch to a single income. To achieve this, you may need to set up automatic savings. Most banks and financial institutions give this automation for free. This can help you reach your savings goal faster. As stated earlier, you may also need to make some tough decisions about what you can cut from your living expenses as well.

Building an emergency fund may look different in various single-income households. A savings account could be the most logical alternative for an emergency fund, as it is usually easily accessible. Having adequate savings can give safety to your finances, and provide security for financial emergencies.

Tackle And Pay Down Debts

With this new decrease in income, tackling debts will have to take on a different approach for your household. High-interest debts can be a budget breaker and frequently makes living off one income difficult. Being open to the possibility of pushing back your timeline if it implies you’ll have smaller debts moving forward is advisable. However, various strategies can help one-income earners better tackle debts. These techniques can help you save money while being clever about paying off debt.

  • The first strategy is called snowballing. Snowballing has to do with assigning additional income to pay up the biggest debt, or the highest interest rate debt first, and then moving on to smaller debts. This can make the debt more manageable.

    Snowballing is a strategy that is used to properly terminate debt.

  • Another strategy to tackle debt is to make extra payments monthly. This is a simple way to manage debts. Due to the financial charges and high-interest rates that come with debts, making extra monthly payments even if it's a few extra dollars monthly, can make a considerable difference in the period it takes to pay up the debt.

Earn Extra Income

If after cutting down expenses from your budget that you possibly can, you still are unable to pay your bills, you should contemplate discovering ways to generate some more cash. If for example, you’ve employed someone to assist with the housekeeping, babysitting, lawn care, or you’ve depended on takeouts for lunch or dinner since there was little or no time to cook, that may now be unnecessary. While your family won’t have as much money moving forward, you would have enough time to give to other activities, such as recreation with your kids, a new hobby, or home improvements. If you do not desire to disconnect entirely from the working world, or you have the intention to return to full working in the future, a little amount of freelancing, consulting, or babysitting can help bring in some extra cash. You can also consider starting a small home business, but be on the lookout for get-rich-quick schemes or work-from-home scams.

Switching to living on a single income can seem difficult from a distance, but if done properly, it is way easier than the thought of it seems. By following and applying the tips provided in this article, you can smoothly transition to living on a single income comfortably and conveniently.


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Blogging since 2014, he has the expertise and excellent knowledge about finance. Currently working as a researcher. Responsible for banking and mortgage coverage on Personal Finance. You can reach Tiffany Wagner at

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