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If you're considering living on one income – find out how this was the smartest financial decision that we've ever made!
Living On One Income – The Smartest Financial Decision We Ever Made!
Goodness, I have been so hesitant to share this but feel like there might be someone out there who needs to read it. Please know that I grew up in a single-parent home and I COMPLETELY know that for many of you this is not an option (I don't know how you single mommas do it all!), but I felt like it was something worth sharing. And I know that we ALL come from different financial places, but this is something that's changed our finances and might help you out too!
Several years ago, My husband and I had a long drive back one weekend with three sleeping kiddos in the car after visiting Cedar Point for a conference, and started talking about our finances (and really, how we got from HERE to HERE.)
A long time ago (way back in 1996 to be exact), we decided as a young married couple that we wanted me to be able to stay at home with our kids. So, when we bought our very first little-fixer-upper house (even though I was working), we based every financial decision we made on my husband's income alone. (I never made much more than minimum wage, so it wasn't all that difficult a decision in some ways!)
In fact, when I sat down to interview for a better paying position in my first job, the interviewers asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Naivelystupidly (at age twenty-one), I replied, “Um, I really just want to be a mom.” 😉
Yup, moving up the ladder to success with that position clearly wasn't going to happen.
That very clueless comment was the truth though, and shaped the way we looked at every financial decision we were faced with. It made us purchase homes that we could afford on just one income (even while we both worked outside the home), and forced us to stay frugal when our children were small as we were determined to stick it out.
That's when we learned to just live a frugal life. And how to clip coupons. And how to watch our grocery prices. And it's when we decided that we wouldn't live in debt other than our home.
Fast forward 18 (plus!) years.
All those things I learned in those early days apparently paid off, and I'm lucky enough to write about them for a
few several hundred thousand readers each month. (Can I just tell y'all that's crazy?????)
And while this blog does now earn an income (learn more about how to make money blogging HERE and HERE), we've chosen not to spend any of the money we make from it.
(We have spent a little of the income on a few specific splurges, but the bulk of it goes towards saving for our kid's college and for giving.)
I wish I could give you just a taste of what it feels like to have that financial freedom after years of working towards it. It's still so weird to know that if something unexpected comes up our finances are in decent shape (which was an incredible blessing during our recent move!), and I wish I could just let you feel for a moment the peace that comes with that.
Do you know what's the coolest thing about our decision? That one choice has given me so much freedom as a business owner. (I really don't think of myself as a business owner, more a crazy-momma-who's-too-excited-not-to-share-a-deal-with-you all day long? Ahem.) Our choices early on gave me the opportunity to learn this crazy blogging thing; it gave me wisdom in an area that some folks don't really understand; and it gave me the ability not to worry about making an income while I was learning the ropes of blogging and running a business.
We didn't make the decision to live on one income purposefully because we wanted an extra savings account or extra cash flow or anything. We simply decided that it's what we wanted for our own family (and don't feel like it's bad at all for moms to work – it was just what we hoped for when we looked at our future!) However, in a crazy turn of life, it's turned out to be the best financial decision we could ever make.
I have no idea where your family's finances are at. I do know that we are incredibly blessed to be in this position after many years of hard work, and I know that it simply won't work for some folks.
But, maybe you're a young couple just looking at your future and trying to determine where you really want to go. Maybe you're a mom thinking about re-entering the workforce now that your children are a wee bit older. Or maybe you're a family that does have two incomes, and have never considered trying to live on one and allowing the second to go towards savings.
I encourage you to maybe consider what life would look like with living with one income (if that's even a possibility – I know it absolutely won't work for everyone!) Even if you have two incomes (which is fantastic if both of you love your jobs – I'm not at all against mommas working here!), consider what would happen if you continued those jobs and chose to live on just one income to allow the excess to bulk up your savings account?
I firmly believe that the only way we did it in those early lean years was by clipping coupons and shopping the sales ads. Even today our grocery budget rarely exceeds $300 a month, and I talk to so many folks who are spending two to three times that on groceries alone (almost enough to be a second income alone!) Please understand that I know this won't work for everyone, but as we've watched the peace that's come from years of penny pinching, I guess I don't want to miss this opportunity to tell you something that we (truly accidentally) learned along the way.
Your turn now? I'll be honest, I've been a little afraid to share this post as I hate the thought of offending anyone, but I'm so thankful (truly, overwhelmingly thankful) for the peace that we're finally feeling after so many years of penny pinching. I just wanted to mention it as a possibility to consider, and would love to hear your thoughts too.
If you're looking for a unique look at your finances and to get everything in order, check out the Passionate Penny Pincher Money Planner. This has everything you need to keep your finances in order (and is undated so you can start at any time!)
Curious about how blogging works? See how I make a full time income as a stay-at-home mom.
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Do you have an updated blog post for how you are sticking to $400 a month in 2021 or 2022 with the rise in grocery prices? We recently went down to one income and are struggling on the grocery category. We use to only budget $100 a week but I feel like our grocery spending has gotten way out of control the past few years. Also, how many meals do you eat out each week? We don’t eat out much, and I know they can drastically change a grocery budget when you are comparing. Thanks so much for recognizing not everyone can afford to live on one salary depending on their careers and where they live. That can be so damaging to hear for a young couple or family starting out in life, especially when those comments come from someone that stayed at home in the 70s or 80s as opposed to now and can appear extremely non validating and out of touch.
Thanks so much for your kind words and for stopping by Paige! 🙂 These articles may be helpful: https://passionatepennypincher.com/how-much-should-a-family-spend-on-groceries/ and https://passionatepennypincher.com/the-ultimate-guide-better-grocery-budget/. Sending hugs and cheering for you ~ just take it one step at a time and give yourself plenty of grace along the way!
Virginia C says
We choose a similar path for our family. My husband & I dated, got married & had our first child within 2 years of meeting. We opted for me to stay home with her & I continued to when my 2nd child was born 2 years later. I did work part-time when my youngest was in preschool for two years until the school closed. That’s when we decided I would no longer seek employment while raising our children. It was a struggle but we would not change our path. Many people lost touch with what’s important in life – it’s not more things, bigger cars & houses or lots of vacations every year, all paid with debt and to keep up with others. It’s the piece of mind that comes with living below your income(s).
It’s funny how our priorities affect our “needs”. Before my husband and I had children, I told him we can have kids or not, but if we have them we’re going to be the one to raise them, (as in we won’t be sending them to sitters or daycare). It has been great for us as well but it certainly affects every financial decision ❤️
Some things we do to save. We don’t have car payments even though we could upgrade. Never listen to what a lender says you can afford, you can’t afford anywhere near what they say. Our house is probably 50% of what we could get loan for, and we get 15 year loans saving a fortune on interest. We purchase houses with wells to avoid overpriced city water (and fluoride) We buy in the county for lower taxes. We remodel junky homes instead of buying finished houses (you can learn anything from YouTube) so when we sell we profit. We recently (and intentionally) moved and took a huge pay cut and we’re easily able to adjust. My husband has flipped cars, pressure washed, painted homes etc when he wants to splurge on something but we certainly don’t have to do these things
My husband and I were just talking about how we feel that our ability to live on one income has been one of our greatest assets. So many in our age group do not or cannot. We are so used to it that while I held a short term job we were able to save all the money to upgrade one of our vehicles and pay cash, and still managed to save each month. I would love more info on how to save on groceries. Do you have price lists somewhere? How do you research and plan?
Made the same choice 23 years ago. Wasn’t sure what the future held. I was in a career that could definitely advance just by sticking around. I could easily have stayed 15 more years getting promotions every 2-4 years for sure. We started living off one salary because it felt like the right thing to do. Three years into it i made the decision to punch and stay home with my kids and it was the easiest decision bc there wasn’t this financial anvil hanging over our heads. Yes there was some belt tightening – but honestly, who doesn’t once kids arrive? Now 23yrs later i wouldn’t change a thing and am so glad we buckled down before things got crazy. Made the crazy a lot less of a challenge.
We do the same in our household and it has worked so well for us!
Quick question. I noticed this was written in 2014 and was wondering if your monthly grocery budget is still $300. We are a family of 5, that includes 3 kids 7 and under. we coupon and shop sales and I feel like our grocery budget has been slowly climbing the last 6 – 12 months.
Hi Jennie! We’re around $400 right now (family of 4 at home now that my son is at college.) Hope that helps!
Ashley M says
I’m curious what your budget is now? It feels hard to save money shopping these days.
Jennifer G. says
Okay, I’ve got my work cut out for me… we’re a family of six (blended family: his, mine and ours). We both work and while I love the company I work for (I don’t always like my current role) I feel God calling me on a different path. We are one of those families that spend three times that in groceries per month… how do YOU do it… I know you have teenagers who eat A LOT?!?!?
Kristen Jones says
Hi Jennifer, I know the struggle, that is for sure! I would say that the biggest tip I have is to menu plan carefully and then use what is on sale for the week and stock up on those items to plan for future meal plans. I hope that helps! I know you can do it though!!! 🙂
When my husband and I got married at 22, we always knew eventually I would leave my career and stay home once we had kids. After a year of marriage we decided to put everyone of my paychecks in savings and live off just his income. We knew we would have to do this once I quit working and it also gave us a nice nest egg, and a small down payment on a house. 1 month after buying a house, quitting my job and having a baby 2008, the market crashed. My husband did construction and was only getting 5-10 hours a week. Thank god for that nest egg! We learned to live even more frugal during that time. Now 9 years later and we replenished that nest egg and still live frugal. We would have lost everything if not for that choice at 23.
My life the oast 4 years have been fast paced. I went from single to married to our first child all in one year. That was in 2013.In January of 2017 we had our 3 rd bundle of joy and thats where the dream of being a stay at home mom became a reality. We were so unprepared for the finacial switch that i felt myself wanting to kust go back to work. But after trully following your page and changing the things i can with our budget I see a small glimps of light in being able to stay at home with my kids!!! Thank you!
Amy Bowman says
I can relate to this in so many ways! We have only been married for 8 years and I am now a stay at home mom. I always knew this was what I wanted and when we got married we based every decision on that. While our friends were buying super nice cars and super nice houses, we had an old car and bought a foreclosure. It gave us the freedom for me to stay home after I had my daughter (even though things were right) and we were strapped to a high mortgage payment.
It is my dream to be able to live just on my husband’s income as once we (finally) start our family we would both like it if I could stay home. We have been trying to use my income exclusively for debt repayment and are almost to the point that we can make it work with sown additional tweaking when I do get pregnant (fingers crossed that will be soon!) Thanks for the post, I always love reading stuff like this because it strikes so close to my own heart as to the ultimate goal!
Hang in there! It’s not easy, but so so so worth it – you can do this (and I so hope this encourages you!)
I just want to thank you for posts like these. As a working mommy who would rather be home with her kids it’s so easy to start a debate on the sensitive subject because it entails all the *feelings* and emotions some of us deal with on a daily basis. Your posts are all always conscious of the fact that your situation is not attainable for everyone and I thank you for recognizing that. Student loans, low paying professional jobs, medical expenses, single parenthood and a host of other life situations can make staying at home unattainable and you are so sensitive to that issue. I think the disconnect comes from some stay-at-home moms who would rather be working and working moms who would rather be at home and frankly the inability for some people to empathize or see beyond their own world view. The key is to being able to do what makes you happy, and unfortunately, there are many moms (and dads) on both sides of that fence who unable to “work” (whether that be in the home or out) in a situation that meets their individual needs and wants. You are one of the few bloggers who have bridged the gap!
Thank you so much for your kind words! It is such a hard divide – and I so don’t think people should or shouldn’t work as we’re all in such different places. (And SO MANY of the women who impacted my life as a child were women who worked – can’t imagine my life without them and know that they were called exactly to that place!)
Thanks for sharing your heart on this one and know that we’re all in different places – and all of those places can be GOOD ~ exactly where we’re called to for this season!
Jamie @ Coffee With Us 3 says
My husband and I have been frugal for most of our marriage, but didn’t have a budget for several years. Once we finally got on a budget it was easy to see how much more money we could be saving. We are currently putting away money each month while living on my husband’s income alone. It is such a blessing to have that buffer. When the water heater went out, it was a bummer but didn’t strap us. We pay for cars with cash, which is so freeing as well. Now if we can just get rid of the mortgage we’ll be thrilled!
I am going to read and read everything you wrote. I am losing my stay at home job and really want to keep staying home. Good for you and thanks for posting
Hugs to you Becky! You *can* do this – I can’t imagine how hard it must be right now for you but I have no doubt you’ll get through it and there may be some huge other awesome thing out there you never even dreamed of. Hang in there and know you can do this!
I just graduated college and people have been asking me for the last oh I don’t know probably 10 years “What do you want to do with that?” At first when I was still in high school I wanted to be a teacher. I made it 2 years in college before I changed my mind on that. Then I just went with the next easiest degree from what I was already doing so I wouldn’t have to change too much of what I had already learned/start over in a new major. Now going on interviews people are asking me the same “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” question…honestly I see myself working and momming…It doesn’t matter WHAT the work is my kids are the most important thing. My kids are my passion. Some might think that’s a bad thing not to have passion or personal goals outside of your kids but to me that’s what being a parent is (not that you’re a bad parent if you don’t feel the way I do…that’s just what it means to me.)
Thanks for sharing this. this comes at the heels of a very stressful month. I stay at home with my girls (age 5 and 2) and we have lived off one income for about 4 years. I left after having my first. It has been hard, but recently our credit card interest rate reset and the payment doubled. So now I feel like we are sinking in it. Ugh… so hard. I have a business (I am a realtor) but I am sooo new. Its just getting off the ground and I have no clients to speak of. Everyone says, “oh T… it just takes time, stick with it” but its so hard when I just counted out the last money I have the rest of the month. I know it will work out, its just hard waiting. But that CS Lewis quote went straight to the heart! ugh… that guy should write books! 🙂 (thats a joke)
Bless your heart Tenley – I know that has got to be so difficult! Praying for you and for your family as you all work through this as I know it has to be so heavy on your heart -and will pray specifically for your business as you get going. It’s so hard in the middle of where you are to see what’s at the end of the tunnel, but I trust it will work out (hang in there!)
Laure D says
18 years ago, I made the decision to stop working when my first son was born. We cut our income in half with that decision and it wasn’t a very big income to begin with. However, we too had bought a small house with this in mind. It was the right decision for us, though not without it’s sacrifices. I did return to work when my youngest entered 1st grade but also chose to work at the school they attended at a much lesser salary than I could have made elsewhere. Again, it worked for us and helped us to meet our ultimate goal which was to focus on family rather than getting more stuff. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s nice to hear I’m not crazy for not wanting the rat race, more money, or bigger house.
Hi! I love this idea! My husband and I both worked, and after we had our 2 kids, we decided that I would stay home. Now this fall, my youngest will be in Kindergarten so my husband feels that there is no reason I shouldn’t get a full time job. We don’t have any debt except for our house payment. He feels its important that I have my own retirement in case something happens to him. We are used to living on one salary, and I coupon and buy used often. All I ever wanted was to be a Mom, but I’m not sure how I can argue back when he says he’s just thinking of my future 🙂 Any advice?
Hi KLB! I will tell you that going back full time would be HARD (even on him – he might be surprised!) Even when your kids are in school and you kind of think your days are empty, most days I’m betting you’ll have way more to do than you realized.
If it’s possible, you might think about ways to find something part time – I work from home here on PPP probably 40 hours a week and goodness, every single day I have something pop up so I’m lucky to get in 4-5 hours of work while my kids are at school. This adds a lot of stress to our family, and in a perfect world I would love to cut back to 20 hours a week or even less (just have never figured that out – one of these days I’ll get there!) If you could find something part time that would allow you to put extra money only into retirement (I wouldn’t spend it if you don’t really need to!), that would definitely help and allow you to get your foot back in the door. Working with kids at home (even if they’re in school), just isn’t as easy as it is without children, so it might be worth having a long heart to heart about how that will really look for your family.
Even today as I’m typing this my kids are out of school because of a snow day – thankfully I can still work while they’re here, but if I had a regular job it would be pretty stressful! Just something to consider as you’re looking to make those decisions – you may end up saving more with coupons than you would by going back to work 🙂
Laure D says
I agree with Laurie. It’s hard to be full time with 2 kids. What happens when they get sick, have a day off school and summertime? You’ll be paying child care which could offset the benefit of having a 2nd income. If you want to be a mom, be a mom. Their only young once and time flies. Trust me, mine are 18 and 16 and I don’t know where the time went. By the way, I do work full-time and have since my youngest entered first grade and if I’d had the option at the time, I would have not gone back so soon. I feel I missed a lot because of working. Consider part-time or an at home business. I did Pampered Chef and tutored before going back full time. I made $700 a month with PC doing about 1 show a week from just my own shows. There are a lot of home based companies to check out. Good luck!
Leslie Poffenberger Gibby says
I notice that most of the food coupons are for foods my family doesn't eat. What do you suggest for saving money when that's the case? I know one area I need to work harder in is saving on toiletries and household items. Thanks!
I think saving as much as you can on toiletries/household items helps a ton. Then, to save a lot just on basic foods (not processed, which a lot of coupons are for!), try shopping your local Aldi, and REALLY watch for sales on the items that your family does use. Make sure you know if what a “good” price is so that you can always compare the best deals (i.e. boneless skinless chicken for $1.99/lb is a good price), and when you see a price that’s a great price on something that your family does use, purchase as much of it as your budget can afford (and make a menu plan based on those sale deals!)
You can download this free stock up price list which should help as well – good luck getting started! https://passionatepennypincher.com/2013/09/free-grocery-stock-up-price-list-printable/
Laura Houser White says
I am very thankful that you are such an expert at couponing and that you are willing to share! As a stay-at-home mom of 7 it has really helped me to stay on a budget! Thank you for all you do and I am glad to be one of your several hundred thousand followers!
Andrea Grimm says
I would love to learn more about this. My husband works very hard and I just began staying at home (after having my own business and income for the last 10 years). I want his hard-earned money to not be wasted and to be able to save for his (hopefully early) retirement.
Andrea – I think the biggest thing that we did in those early years was to make savings almost a game. We would see how cheaply we could eat at home or at a restaurant, see what things we could re-use that would still work (I found several furniture pieces left by the side of the road and re-painted them instead of buying new things!), and shopped thrift stores. I think once you just determine to see how inexpensively you can do everything, you’ll notice areas all over the place to save – just think about what you’re consuming, and find ways to do it cheaper. I promise you can do it!
Samantha Clarke says
When I got married, this was one piece of advice that I received many times. It's truly a smart choice to make because something could always happen to one of the incomes and if you are use to building a home off of one, then your family won't be in such a rut or struggle!
Judy Hart says
I am proud of you and James. You remind me so much of Mike and me. Even though we had 2 incomes, we lived off of one and saved the other. We clipped coupons, bought everything on sale and my kiddos never did without. They were active in clubs and sports while growing up. Now we have people asking us about living in Panama. We have no problems living off of our retirement but we do not go out to eat at every meal. Mike has his garden, we eat fresh fruit daily from our finca. Life is wonderful.
Thank you so much for sharing Judy! I love that you all eat fresh fruit from the garden there (wondering if you garden year round?) and it’s so encouraging to be reminded it’s worth it. It wasn’t always easy, but it definitely makes life so much easier as we look forward! (Love hearing from you!) 🙂
Samantha Wadsworth says
Thank you for sharing. While it can be very hard at times, it truly is a gift to be able to start at home. I never thought it possible, but after our last baby we decided that I would stay at home. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be with my babies. For those Momma's that long to be at home, but simply do not think it's possible. I encourage you to continue to pray, if we can do it anyone can!!!
Krystal Thrash says
Wow! Wish I would have seen this AGES ago. 7 years into marraige and finances are not the best even with 2 incomes! I work part time, had I had this info I would have took advantage of it!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!
It’s not too late Krystal – promise (you’re only 7 years in, and have a lifetime to go!) Best of luck as you go forward – be encouraged that it’s never too late to start 🙂
Linda Smith says
Don't apologize for your hard work and dedication to a mutual beneficial goal that you have reached! You put your methodology out there for anyone that wants to try it, can have the peace of mind and security you are experiencing RIGHT NOW!
Thank you so much… I find so much of your writing to be an encouragement at just the right time. We are a single income family and it is hard. I always wanted to stay home, but, never thought it would be possible. It is very difficult in today’s culture. We make many sacrifices to enable me to stay home and I am grateful for the opportunity.
My husband and I, like many of the readers, did not come from families that could help financially. Unfortunately neither of us could afford college which is almost a requirement for many jobs now. I am looking at working from home just to have something to throw into savings. We would love to help our kids pay for school and not start their lives in debt… It would also be nice to buy a house one day (a girl can dream).
Andrea McMonagle says
Hi Laurie! Thanks for sharing! I wish more people would live beneath their means instead of AT or ABOVE. You are doing a great service for your family and to others by sharing . I wouldn't worry too much about offending..if someone is offended by you sharing your story with good intentions…then that is their issue.
Our story… My husband and I both come from single moms . My mom worked hard but in all honestly she was a financial disaster . It's because of her that I have still NEVER taken out a single credit card (I'm 32) . I think knowing that I never had a parental safety net money wise worked out to my benefit (I guess there's always a bright side eh?) . We live in a townhouse as it was waaaaay cheaper than the singles we were looking at ( bought short sale post crash ) We are on a single income here as well . This year there will be BIG changes. My mother will be moving back in to our house as she can't afford it out on her own. This means we will be able to increase our savings as she will be paying the HOA as her rent. Also it allows me return to work part time sometime this year so even more savings 🙂 . For now we save $$ by driving older cars (9 yrs old) , I buy my boys clothes/ shoes / toys/books at consignment sales ( I got his entire wardrobe for $83+tax this year at the JBF ..INCLUDING play/regular & school clothes ) we also cloth diapers, & of course I coupon like it's an art form , we do not eat out at all unless it's a gift card from the holidays. And there are many other ways. Mostly by knowing the difference of wants VS needs. Although that's always a test for sure . We live debt free other than the mortgage..but we need to buckle down and get on an even better financial track .. Bigger goals to set. Do you have some good posts about teaching younger kids about money ? Or recommend any books or sites? I think I heard TD bank as a good little savers piggy bank program . Enjoy your day and keep on doing what ya do mama..we truly appreciate the time and heart that you put into it !
Gracious, don’t worry about offending us! Laurie, there are so many reasons tied up in this post as to why you are the only “budget blog” I check daily.i love how honest you are about how saving money does take sacrifice and prioritizing, but it doesn’t have to mean misery. I started reading your blog when we started seriously pinching our pennies about five years ago. We had a one-year-old son, and it pained me to go to work. I taught, which meant I was fortunate to have some time in the summer home, but I became more bitter about choosing to grade papers or spend time with my family. I always felt like I should have been wherever I was not. Our son was diagnosed as being borderline for Asperger’s a few years later, and when we found out two years ago he was going to have a sister, there was no other answer for our family than for me to stay home. I can now attend his occupational therapy sessions and be more present for our daughter. Our son has improved leaps and bounds, and my family is so very grateful for you for helping make this possible. You taught me how to shop drug stores, order diapers with Amazon Mom, earn Swagbucks gift cards and so much more. You share what you have learned, but aren’t “preachy” about it, and provide so much more than coupon lists. We have enjoyed many of your recipes, I have materials to make a burlap wreath this weekend, and your parenting wisdom always comes when I need it most. I am so very glad google sent me to you on a sleepless night!
Thank you so much for your kind words Jaime! I’m so excited for you as you’ve been able to change your family’s future – goodness what a blessing to be able to be right where you are during this season! Thank you so much for sharing ~ and I hope your burlap wreath turns out beautifully!
Sandra Barnes says
They've always said, when listening to advice, "take the best, and leave the rest" so I don't think you need to feel so anxious about hurting anyone's feelings!! If it doesn't work for them , fine,, but for the rest- you gave them something to think about!! I ,too, have always couponed and 'saled' to get groceries- and a lot of other things too! Now that I'm settled well financially, I STILL coupon etc.– wouldn't have it any other way! I did work when my kids were growing up, but I knew many moms that stayed home too- they never missed the school plays, etc. so being home with your kids is something that will always be with you- the fun, the memories, and the teachable times you gave them- I'm sure they watched how you shopped and picked up some very good habits along the way!! Amy Decizion (Tightwad Gazette) said the same thing- there's no reason why a mom can't choose to stay home with her kids, adopt frugal ways, live below your income and come out on top! She also gave the best tips and ideas to people- just like you're doing 🙂 I can't tell you how many times I've read something in this blog and grabbed my purse and out the door to take advantage of the deal you've talked about! THANK YOU!
Thanks so much for sharing Sandra – and it means so much to me that you’ve scored a deal or two from PPP! As a working mom from home I still feel like I struggle so much to give my kids the time they need these days, but I think everyone struggles with balance (whether they work from home, work out of the home, or don’t work at all!) Hopefully I’ll figure out the balance one of these days 🙂
Gwendolyn Vo says
My husband and i have been married for 7 years together for 11. Neither of us come from great financial backgrounds, so we both have been very hard workers. We have 2 kids, 6 and 3 and one on the way. I stopped working for the first time since i was able to work last October. It was scary and very very against every bone in my body. But things got easier. My husband picked up jobs on the side and has since gotten a $3 dollar raise. Things were going great and we decided to take a vacation back to where our family started. Long story short found ourselves in a racist town and ended up paying/money taken from us $660. Since coming back home things have gotten financially more difficult. Its getting hard to make the bills on time and i have found myself leaning towards other ways of saving $. Thats when i found you. You have helped me and my family be able to eat on such little. Its still tough, we have high metabolisms and eat 4 to 5 times a day. So our grocery bills are usually $500 to $600 but lately we have been trying to live off $300 or less. Im just curious though how can you catch back up when things get so far behind with out sacrificing what you have worked so hard to achieve? It took me 10 years of working my tail off and climbing the ladder to a great paying job to realize i wanted to be more of a mom to my kids. We live off of way less now and have to work twice as hard just to get things back into the positive. But it has taught us more frugal ways of living. Again thank you for everything you have shared so far. I am only a month or so into this and the things i have gotten for free or next to free have been a super big help! Any advise or positive encouragement is greatly welcomed.
Hi Gwendolyn – goodness, you’ve had a crazy year! I would focus so much on sticking to your grocery budget – it’s the easiest way to immediately see a change in your expenses, and really can make such a difference. Then, as you can, just constantly think of ways to use less. Shop thrift stores if you need new clothes (I just recently found a Goodwill in our area and have found tops and sweaters for just $2.50 – many which I’ve seen in stores for $30-$40!), and if you can, make being frugal kind of a “game”.
In those early years for us, I constantly considered what I could do to just save a little more – I tried to see how low I could make a meal for, if we went out to eat I tried to figure out how we could do that for next to nothing, and I just constantly challenged myself to spend even less. Stick with it and with some patience it really will add up – promise! Good luck to you as you work towards your goals – you can do this!!!
Thank you so much for the positivity and great advice. We have been shopping at our local thrift store if we need anything that we cant get from a local charity i volunteer for. I have done so many frugal things since leaving the working field that has made me more of a crafty person. Example we needed shelves in 2 different areas of the house so i took drawers from an old dresser we were given and painted them with paint that was given to us and a $3 sample from the hardware store. Then my hubby got wood from work and we turned the drawer less dresser into a shelving unit that will one day be repainted as well. We have ways of turning trash into treasure just not many ways of making more $ to help provide for the family. And your right its deffinetly a work in progress. Like right now i need to go to the store but im busy compairing prices and making sure i have coupons to go with them. And knowing that Target is the only store that price matches i will go there first and then to the other store if i know its cheaper. You have saved me hundreds already and i truly appreciate it. Cant wait till i am able to have a stock pile of greatness like the rest of y’all!
You’ll be there sooner than you think – and definitely thinking of ways to use whatever you have (love your dresser idea!) will help you save so much! 🙂
Yes, yes, YES!!! A friend just happened to post this on facebook, and I’m so thrilled she did!!! First, because litereally just a few hours ago I was thinking about how much money we spend on food and wishing I knew someone who could teach me how to save more in that regard. I can’t wait to read the posts on food shopping you posted. Secondly, I wanted to second what you said. 🙂 My hubby and I have always just lived off of his income and in the seasons I also worked, we put almost everything I made into paying off debt tge first couple of years we were married (we’ve been debt free for three years now), and then putting everything else into savings. It’s been a very smooth transition for me to stay at home with our now seven-month-old daughter, and we continue to live well within our means and will be buying a new (pre-owned) vehicle with cash from our savings soon. It is an awesome feeling to have financial peace and freedom. If anyone else reads this who is in a position to give two-income-but-living-on-one a try, do it!! Skip the bigger, fancier house, car, etc, and be fabulously frugal. It way pays off!!!
I’m so glad you’re here Lea! It sounds like you all are well on your way to saving big, and I promise saving on groceries will just give you even more control over your finances. (That’s why I love using coupons so much!) Let me know if you have any specific questions, and good luck as you get started. So glad you found PPP!
Thank you so much for writing this! And for maintaining this blog! It is such an encouragement to me. I am in the throes of child raising a 4 year old boy with another boy on the way. We, unfortunately, did not live on one income before getting pregnant. Therefore we weren’t’ quite as far “ahead” financially as we wanted to be when we started having kids. BUT…we decided it was best for us all for me to “retire” from my stressful job as an ICU RN to stay at home nearly full-time, once he was born. We just did what we had to do to move to one income. Cut out all the extras, including cable, eating out, gym memberships, unnecessary shopping, etc. I did work “as needed” about one shift a week after our first son was born just to make ends meet. Now thankfully we have a little more room and I make a little money on the side taking pictures or babysitting for other working moms. But I STILL coupon, coupon, coupon, shop sales, buy used when I can, etc. I wish I had known then what I know now! Couples with two incomes take note. Live on one of them and save one of them!!! Such a wise wise rule. Again, thanks for the encouragement to keep up with this stay at home mom thing. I couldn’t do it without helpful blogs like this one!!
Thank you so much for sharing your story Brittany – I love that you were able to find a way to save so that you were able to stay home, and it will be such a gift when (if) you do go back to work to have that income as “extra”! Blessings to you as you get through these next few years (I promise they’ll fly by, but I’m betting you already know that.) 😉
Laura McNew says
Thank you so much for this post. It made me cry! (Let’s just blame those 5 month pregnancy hormones)
My boyfriend and I recently had to move from his 2 bedroom rental home into my tiny studio apartment. My lease ends in 2 short months and we are looking all over for another rental, but lately we’ve both been feeling so very financially oveewhelmed. We know that once the baby come, or probably before, I will stop working. We are saving like crazy now so it won’t be as much of a financial shock when it actually happens. Your post gave me a burst of hope that maybe we can get through this and be okay. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your story!
You can do this Laura – I know it feels tough right now but you have so many good things in your future! Praying for you all as you make wise financial decisions that you’ll have peace and can just take a deep breath in the midst of it. Hang in there!
jen wagher says
You got this!! Keep following blogs that continually show you how to save money and where to! I see you commented over a year ago. How is your baby? How are you all doing?
Elizabeth Betsy Lafleur says
I am still a single lady, but I really just want to be a mom 🙂 I'm getting my accounting degree and I will work as long as I have to, but that's not where my heart is. I am so thankful for your short and sweet facebook posts that have helped me save as I go. I love the idea of wisely living off of one income, so thank you for sharing because this is so encouraging!!!
Thanks so much for sharing Elizabeth – goodness I so understand just wanting to be a mom! You’re so far ahead of the game by thinking that through now, and it really will change your future. Blessings to you!