the one income family

We’re a one income family right now. In case you missed it, I quit my job, changed professions, and will student teach in the spring. At the least, we’ll be a one income family for 8 months. Whew. 

We knew this was coming, though, as I went back to school last year to get my teaching certificate. It was just a matter of time before I would have to quit my job to student teach. We started talking about potential quit dates last year, and then we started preparing to be a one-income family.

It’s scary to lose half of your family income. But, fortunately, it was our choice, and so we had time to prepare for it. Here’s what we did:

1. We socked more away into savings. Ben and I are incredibly blessed to have no rent or mortgage (read why here). We did spend quite a bit fixing up the little old house, but after we paid to fix it up, we essentially started paying rent/mortgage into our savings. We put away X amount of dollars into a savings account every paycheck as if we were paying a mortgage or rent. And, those X dollars came out first, before we paid for extras. Once we made the decision that I would quit work this year, we started upping the amount we ‘paid’ into savings.

2. We pinched our pennies. Since we were adding more to savings, we had very little to spend elsewhere. That meant I packed my lunch/breakfast most every day. I was amazed at how much money I saved by packing my lunch. I’m talking at least $30 a week. I cooked more and we ate our less. We also started watching our consumption of gas and electricity. Again, I was impressed at the money we could save by making sure we turned a light off if we weren’t using it.

3. I paid more attention to couponing. I will admit, I have never ever ever ever been a couponer. I mean someone could hand me a coupon for a free loaf of bread and I wouldn’t use it. I don’t know why. Laziness? Forgetfulness? At any rate, I started looking into couponing. I researched different coupon sites and had my girl Lindsay do a quick couponing rundown for me. Now, I am nowhere near a star couponer. In fact, I’m still pretty pathetic. But, I’ve come a long way. Now I try to only buy things on sale or things I have a coupon for. I notice at least $20-40 savings each trip. That adds up, man!

4. I’ve upped my ‘diy’ game. A while back, I featured a post from Aryn for the My Thrifty Life series. She shared homemade cleaner recipes. At the time I was a little skeptical to use any homemade cleaner, thinking it wouldn’t do the job. But, I’ve been using homemade cleaners for a couple of months now, and I’m very pleased! Not only does it save money, I feel much more comfortable using it around PB. I used many of Aryn’s recipes, and then I found others, too. I’m planning a cleaning supply post soon, so I’ll share what I’m using.

5. I’ve spent more time in consignment shops. I’ve always loved to go to thrift stores for home decor (paint can change anything), but now I’ve found a new love for clothes consignment shops. For PB, consignment shops are a must. I do buy him new clothes occasionally, but it seems so pointless to buy him brand new clothes that he will either a) never wear, b) stain immediately, or c) outgrow in 2 months. So I’ve hit consignment stores/sales hard and have really racked up. I’ve also been able to rack up for Ben and myself at consignment stores. I love to get dress pants and skirts at thrift stores because they seem to never look ‘dated’. One of my favorite outfits for work was a $1 pencil skirt from Goodwill, a $5 clearance plain black scoop neck t-shirt from Target, and a $5 scarf from Walmart. An $11 outfit? That’s my language!

So that’s what we’ve done to help prepare ourselves to become a one income family. Nothing really inventive, but rather just plain common sense. Save more, spend less, cut corners where you can.

One thing that really cushions the blow, though, is our emergency savings. Ben and I both worked in college, and we started saving a little of our paycheck then (good thing I married him, huh?). We kept the money in shoebox under Ben’s bed (smart, I know). Birthday money, graduation money, and spare change went into that box. When I graduated college, we put the shoebox money onto a certificate of deposit (CD), and we forgot about it. We haven’t touched our CD in 4 years. We’ve probably got 3-4 months worth of living expenses on that CD. And now, being a one income family, I can’t stress enough the importance of having an emergency fund, especially if you’re just starting out. Though I hope we don’t have to use it, it’s been such a relief to know its there.

Are any of you part of a one income family? What do you do to help save money and cut corners?

Have a blessed Tuesday 🙂


7 thoughts on “the one income family

  1. We are a one income family and always have been. We bought a house before we had kids that we could afford on one income knowing that I was going to be a sahm. We are very frugal and I wouldn't have it any other way. I did start my own business over a year ago and the money I make from that goes into a vacation fund since we couldn't really afford to take vacations. I work when I want, have a great time doing it and my family gets to go to travel and have a great time. It really sounds like you and your husband prepared well and have things figured out, good for you!! So many people don't think it through and get into a hole and it's hard to get out.


  2. I quit my job teaching when we had Ellen. I don't think we realized how big of a blow it was. Our student loans are OUTRAGEOUS. I won't even tell you how much because you will blush. Anyway, my job was essentially paying off our loans. But, when we factored in childcare and travel, it was cheaper for me to quit my job. So, these days, we don't have a house, but we have love. We don't have nice cars, but we have runners. And we don't go on vacations, but we spend family time together everyday. It's all about your mindset, I think. And, I know someday we will get that house. As soon as we can get a celebrity to pay off our loans. Say, do you know any celebrities?


  3. Even though in Canada we are blessed to receive a PAID maternity leave for a year, the husband and I are freaking out about becoming a one income family. For one year, I will lose the bulk of my income, and we are taking on a bigger mortgage one month beforehand. We've crunched the numbers, we made the changes we need to, we know it will be okay. We know it will be tight, but it's still scary. It's that security blanket of that little bit of ext ram income that's now gone and it's still freaking me out.


  4. we've been a one-income family for three months now, but thankfully, it ends next month.
    We had about a year to prepare, so we downsized from a one-bedroom to a loft, (our rent and utilities went down about $500), saved like crazy and then skimped on everything we could. It's amazing how little you need to survive.
    The best part is we haven't felt like we've been missing out on TOO much. Good for you guys for making it happen!


  5. I feel like most women feel like they HAVE to work and can't stay home with their kids because of financial pressures. BUT it's totally do-able! you just have to really want it and sacrifices. You can't buy new cars or new houses and stay home. It's usually one or the other.


  6. That's awesome you guys pay yourself first, I've heard that's the most important thing. I really believe that you spend more when you make more. This is the first time I've ever worked full-time, and I have such a hard time saving it. Good luck to you guys Britt! My husband and my mom are both teachers, it's an incredibly hard job at times, but I'm always thankful for good teachers out there. 🙂


  7. After we had Chasten, we knew that we would be more comfortable with me being a sahm than with sending him to daycare or with a sitter we didn't know (we don't have family close enough to keep him and all of our good family friends work). We started looking at what we could do to survive on solely Mike's income. We cut out tv, nixed our cell phones in favor of a landline, I took up couponing, we stopped eating out and we started exploring the wonderful world of buying things used (ie baby clothes/toys mainly). We've taken on a life of frugality but I can say that God has been faithful to keep us covered as we have been faithful with our tithing and offering. We've actually grown to love not having tv in our house. We watch lots of Veggie Tales DVDs with Chasten and because we can pick up a free wifi signal where we live, we use our Netflix on the Wii to watch other things when we desire to (for $10 a month, you can't beat that). God recently provided a way to completely pay off my car loan, allowing us to be free of that monthly payment as well. I know without a doubt that because we have trusted in God without faltering, He has provided us with many avenues of blessings. Without Him, we would definitely be unable to make it.


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