The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Living on One Income

The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide for Living on One Income

Inside: Thinking of becoming a stay-at-home mom? Or maybe you already are one and are looking for ways to save money. Either way, these are 7 simple tips I’ve learned to stretch your dollar while living on income.

The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide to Living on One Income

Having our entire family home has been a dream of mine for quite some time. But before I was able to start homeschooling and before my husband got a work-from-home job, the first step was for me to become a stay-at-home mom.

But we were used to my income, so in some ways the transition was scary. Even after putting in my notice, we wavered back and forth on whether or not we’d made the right decision.

It’s been a few years now, and looking back, I’m so glad we pushed through our fears and made that leap. it’s been SO WORTH IT, and our initial worries about finances now seem silly.

How do-able is living one income?

Let’s just say it’s WAY less stressful than what I’d thought.

And not because our income is some astronomical sum of money! We’re average. Yet, living on one income hasn’t been impossible. Actually, we don’t even miss my paycheck! (There are actually a lot of expenses that were completely cut from the monthly budget because I quit my job.)

So if becoming a stay-at-home mom is something that’s on your heart, it’s definitely worth looking into!

7 Tips for Living on One Income

If you’d rather watch it in video-form, check it out on our YouTube channel!

Set a Budget

This is probably the #1 tip on all the lists. And while it may seem obvious, it’s something I resisted for quite a while. OR we’d set a budget to just completely ignore it.

We’re still ironing out details of our budget and tweaking where necessary, but the main point is to:

  1. know your set bills and then
  2. prioritize your other expenses and goals within what’s left over.

And then stick to it! (More on that in a minute.)

Setting a budget and sticking to it is an important part of living on one income.

Cut Back Where You Can

What big or set expenses do you have that you could cut back on?

For example, when I first became a stay-at-home mom, we sold my husband’s car. The car itself was paid for, but selling it meant that we not only got a few thousand dollars to put into savings but also that our monthly insurance bill was cut down significantly. It was a way for us to ease into the transition of having only one income.

So where could you cut?

Cell phones? We switched carriers. Medical insurance? Shop around, and see what you can find. Cable? Drop the TV services but keep the internet, and use a service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime (use that link to check out their 30-day free trial).

There are lots of ways to cut back and save.

Learn to be Price Savvy

Beyond those set expenses, you can stretch your dollar on those day-to-day purchases too.

Every penny counts when you're living on income!

Growing up, I never understood how my mom knew the price of everything, everywhere. But she always knew where an item could be found for the lowest price. We could be in Walmart, but she’d shrug and say, “meh, I can get it for cheaper at…”

Now I understand. As a mother managing a home, it’s wise to know how to always get the best bang for your buck.

It should be said: this is a process. When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I NEVER did this. We bought pretty much everything at ALDI and Walmart. Period.

But now, I know we can get certain things cheaper by buying them in bulk on Amazon and having them delivered to our door. And we can find natural cleaning products, hygiene items, and other household-related stuff for great prices on Grove.

It takes time and may seem insignificant. Like why does an 80 cent difference matter? But all those dollars and cents add up throughout the month and the year. It may be extra gas money, a student loan bill, some extra cash for savings, or it could even go toward paying off your home faster.

It just depends on where you make your money go.

Shop Used

What was I even doing before Once Upon a Child?

With 4 kids, we CANNOT be buying everything brand new. Sure, I also shop sales and clearance. But buying at stores like Once Upon a Child means paying yard sale prices while getting name-brand items (sometimes with the tags still on them)!

Speaking of yard sales, our family loves those too! It just takes a little more work to find the things you actually need.

WORD OF CAUTION: resist the urge to buy all the things just because you found them for a “good deal.” I have been SO GUILTY of this! It’s rewarding in the moment, but a little less satisfying when you get it all home and realize you just added more clutter to your life instead of saving on the family budget.

Reward Your Brain Without Splurging

On that train of thought (while also doubling back to the whole “staying on budget” thing I mentioned above), your brain totally benefits from positive rewards. And while splurging and excessive spending is not-so-great for the budget, there IS a way to get that reward without going broke (and while actually helping you reach your financial goals).

For more on that, check out this post:

My Best Tip for Staying on Budget while Living on One Income

Meal Plan

Meal planning can save SO MUCH MONEY in the monthly budget. I can’t even begin to tell you how much funds and time we wasted before I started planning our meals.

If you’re looking for a simple way to plan your family’s meals (and a sample plan), you can check out my post on how I meal plan here:

Simple Family Meal Planning

Use Those Leftovers

it had to be said. In the same vein as meal planning, using leftovers has really saved us money and kept us from wasting so much food. Does some stuff still go uneaten? Yepp. But not NEARLY as much as what we used to waste.

On average, our leftovers can supply about 80% of our family’s lunches and one dinner every week. Of course, I learned from my mom when it comes to cooking for an army. So if you don’t make as much food as I do, it won’t go quite as far. But even one dinner a week would be worth it!

Are you considering becoming a stay-at-home mom? Comment below or shoot me an email ( to tell me your biggest concern. I’d love to hear from you and help where I can!

Until next time,


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