How to Thrive and Survive on a Single Income - A Bountiful Love

How to Thrive and Survive on a Single Income

Living on a single income is not for everybody for a lot of reasons. Not everyone aspires to become one. I get it, to live on a single income and have a small or big family is not easy.  I am here to encourage families that have this calling. (I am not trying to convince nor question anybody's well-thought decisions).

I became a stay at home wife and mom for the past 5 1/2 years and this decision is in cahoots with the birth of our daughter. My husband and I both decided on this.

For the past 5 1/2 years, we have lived on one modest income. It is possible. Living on a single income can be hard when everything is not planned out carefully ( esp with kids).
We took a lot of willful steps with our finances and spending decisions. Along the way, we made several mistakes and learned from them.  It requires sacrifices but it will be worth it. 

Embrace it.

Priorities needed to change. Embrace it.  Know what really matters. While our kids are not in school yet, Rob and I made this choice.. for me to be a stay at home momma. It is for our family, for our kids. I wanted to be home for them.  I knew things are not gonna be easy but we both embraced the change.  Acceptance also helps, what works for another family may not work for you. If one family is living extravagantly, and you just can't, (it is normal to wish to have "the same" for your family), go visit your "what matters list". Realize that MONEY and MATERIAL things will not define us (who we are) as a person and family.


You need to realize the difference between your "need and wants". Communication is fundamental because what matters for you may just be superficial for your partner. We treat all income as “shared,” not “yours” or "mine". Talk about your expenses, budget, and income every payday.

Set Goals

It can be a  long-term goal (saving for an emergency fund or to pay debts) or short-term (projects for your home), set your goals. Write it in your family information center or family planner. Make a checklist. When our first baby was born, we started to write our goals in a notebook. It contains the lists we want to accomplish, small and big projects, and our "buy lists". We did not purchase all of our "buy lists" in a single year. In fact, some of the appliances such as a brand new washing machine were brought several years after we wrote it. It was so nice crossing out from our "buy lists". 


Nobody likes this part but this is very important. There is a lot of budget online tools that you can use. Use a spreadsheet to track our expenses and plan your weekly or monthly budget. Formulate your own spreadsheet or use a premade spreadsheet.

Use Cash

Stop using your credit cards. It is just a recipe for disaster. Use an envelope system for cash. I'm sure you have read about Dave Ramsey. I've read his book, he's a genius. Just like what he said it is not something new, our grandmothers and mothers had used this technique. CASH.

Here's my cash system envelope in my wallet. Fill your envelopes with your allotted budget in each category. Remember that once you had spent the cash in each envelope when it is gone, it's gone!  No borrowing from another category

My categories for my envelope are only four :

Miscellaneous and Fun.

Be smart when you shop

Plan when you shop, it takes time but definitely worth it Wait until the grocery circular comes out in the mail, see what stores have the most items on sale.  Build a menu based on the good deals you see. You can eat healthy on a budget.  SHOP WITH A LIST AND WITH A BUDGET.  Make a week's worth of menu. I also use coupons. There's a lot of websites that offer good couponing tips. Set aside a little amount of money on your grocery budget for stocking up. We stocked up on what's on sale. You don't have to be an extreme couponer, just stock up on what your family usually consumes.  A penny saved is a penny earned.

Awesome couponing websites: The Krazy Coupon Lady.


NOT A BIG FAN OF COUPONING, you can still save money! This is a great resource for cutting your grocery bill in half. It is loaded with tips.  Kimberly Stokes feeds her family of six with teens with a budget of $125 per week ...WITH REAL FOOD.

Save More - Clip Less: Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half {without extreme couponing}

Use your kitchen and eat healthily.

 Settle on how many times you can eat out in a week or in a month. Nothing is more budget-friendly than home cooking. While it is a little challenging to cook healthy on a budget, it can be done. Be mindful of what you serve, it is much better to invest in good health.  I try to get our girls involved in the kitchen too, instilling positive habits early is always good. They know we seldom eat out and it makes it a more special and fun experience when we do.  I buy and cook what is in season and on sale. I do batch cooking as well. I freeze kitchen staples like broths, beans, some vegetables, herbs (on ice cube trays), berries, spinach, and peppers.

Frugal and Healthy Meals

You can have fun  in a less expensive way (free too!)

Our weekends are always being looked forward to. There are a lot of frugal and sometimes free ways to enjoy your time with your family. Search for free entrances to museums. We love going to the farmers market, parks, go for a scenic drive or even just a simple walk in a neighborhood.  Just a stroll in the park gives us time to slow down and talk in spite of busy weekdays.  I also subscribed to National Macaroni Kid. Events are delivered right into your inbox every Thursday or Friday. Some events are free and some may cost you but it is minimal. Sometimes national parks have free entrance days. Shopping for things that you actually do not need is not your only outlet for fun. Buying toys for our kids is not the only way to make them happy. Don't let the parent guilt get to you, time NOT toys.

Great list of frugal and free things to do with your kids to build strong relationship

This is one of my favorite quotes. Spending time with our family creates a strong relationship.

 It is important to pay yourselves too. If the budget is flexible for any pay period or a particular week. We do treat ourselves too once in a while. It is important so you don't feel deprived, whatever floats your boat, it can be a dine out kinda day (who doesn't love a break from cooking and cleaning the dishes).

Just remember it doesn't matter what you guys do, what matters is the quality time you spend together.

If you are staying home because you have children at home, know that there is a multitude of benefits in staying at home with your children such as stability, consistency, stronger relationship, and building childhood memories to name a few.
Less is more
  Living simple can give you a happy life. Contented life. Living simple can vary from one person to another. I would encourage you to write down things in your life that you can simplify. Is it the over-scheduling?  How does over-scheduling affect your family? If you put too much on your schedule that you end up eating out a lot, ask your self if there can be ways to schedule down.
Do you really need to have all the extra subscriptions to entertain your family (Netflix, Redbox, Hulu, etc). Maybe you can just choose one instead of eliminating all of start with.


Whatever your reason is for deciding on being a single income family, know that it is a part of a greater plan from God. It is difficult but it will pass. As for me, our daughters will not be little for long, they will be school, they will grow up.  It was difficult at first but is it worth it? DEFINITELY! Our kids are always worth it.

Image source: Becoming Minimalist

Check out these amazing books, resources that had helped me, inspired me and had helped many frugal and smart families as well.

Don't forget to pin and share!

Other Posts that you might like :

Ways to build your savings account quickly

5 Great Books to Read for your financial goals

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  1. Replies
    1. Hi Judith! Thank you for stopping by..God bless..

  2. LOVE!!! We homeschool and living on one income as a family of 6 is a struggle sometimes. We wouldn't have it any other way though! You should look up Target free Tuesday's. I found out that we can go to the Children's museum free on the 2nd Tues. of each month.

    1. Hello there, thank you fro stopping by..I will definitely look up Target free Tuesdays, thanks for the tip. It is a struggle indeed but totally worth it.

  3. Love your post! Thanks so very much for linking up to my very first Link-Up Party! I will try to have one each week, so please visit again!
    God Bless,

    1. Hi Chris! You are welcome and thank you for stopping by..I will definitely come back next week.

      Hope you have a blessed day!,

  4. Hello Khit ! I appreciate this blog post. Living on one income is not for everyone but to those who do, our hats are off to them because it is very special to be able to do that. Thanks for linking up at Working Christian Mommy today. God bless you.

  5. This is great information! I'm glad I stopped by from the Creative K Kids link up. We are also living on one and a part income (I work very part-time, one or two nights a week, and a few baby sitting jobs for a little extra cash between paychecks). You are absolutely right it is doable. But we have to learn to be grateful for what we have and live within our means! Our vehicles are old and beat down but running. We can't afford new cars because we can't afford car payments. It is ok. The thing that matters most to our kids is that we take care of them and spend quality time with them. A walk to the park is great! Everything else will happen as the Lord provides.

    1. Hi Maria, I am grateful that you stopped by. We are a one car family too! It is not easy but hey..we will get there. For now, we have a different priority. Having all the luxuries or even what some people might think is a necessity is not what life is all about. Thank you for stopping by!

  6. I love this! I think budgeting is absolutely the most important piece to living on one income. The dollars will slip through your fingers if not accounted for. :)

  7. I have to work on this. We just went down to one income. I NEVER have cash though so that wouldn't work. Have credit cards is just easier. I don't have to worry about carrying around cash. Just be smart about it, if you don't have the money to pay it off right away, don't spend it!

  8. These are really good tips :) I'm slowly working on the Dave Ramsey thing, but I do a lot of my shopping (grocery and household) online to save time and money. I'm still trying to figure out how to make that work with the cash only rule :)

  9. Living on a solitary wage is not for everyone for a differences of reasons and not everybody tries to end up one. I am here to energize families that has this calling. I turned into a stay at home spouse and mother for as far back as 5 1/2 years and this choice is in accordance with the introduction of our girl.


Thank you for stopping by and know that all of your comments are appreciated !