10 Best Tips for Living On One Income (So Life Doesn’t Suck)

tips for living on one income

Living on one income can be boring and stressful! These tips will ensure that doesn’t happen

For some families, living on one income feels like they are constantly on the edge of a financial cliff. This isn’t a good way to live that’s why I am sharing some of the best tips for living on one income.

When we first became a one income family, life truly sucked. We were living on a very low income and I didn’t have any opportunity to earn more, so we had to scrape by, barely making ends meet.

If you’re struggling to survive on one income, I know exactly how it feels.

But, don’t despair. All hope is not lost. There are lots of things you can do to manage your finances so you don’t have to worry about money all the time.

Let’s look at some of the ways you can make living on one income more enjoyable.




One of the reasons many families struggle to live on a single income is because they insist on living the same way they did when they were a two income family

Unfortunately, you can’t keep living like that because you make less money (well, ignore me if this isn’t true for you).

Yes, I know change is hard and you’ve gotten used to all the little extras like living in a big house, driving a big expensive car and eating out whenever you like.

However, things are different now and you’ve got to cut your coat according to your cloth (aka live within or below your means).

Now don’t get me wrong.

Scaling back doesn’t mean that you never spend money on anything except the basics. Scaling back simply means downsizing some parts of your life that would make being a one income family more manageable and pleasant.

It makes no sense to live in a big house that you can barely afford when living in a smaller house would free up more money for you.

For example, since we became a one income family, we’ve always lived in apartments even though my kids would love to live in a house.

Living in an apartment makes more financial sense for me since it frees up some extra money that I use for other stuff.

You don’t have to live in an apartment, but you can downsize from a bigger home to a smaller one if that would help your finances.

So look around you. Where can you scale back? What can you downsize to free up some more money?


Let me just go straight to the point here.

Living with debt can suck the fun right out of life, but living with lots of debt when you are on a tight budget is a whole different ball game.

If you’re in this situation, the only way out of it is to get rid of those debts. If that isn’t possible right now, then get rid of as much of it as you can.

That’s one of the best tips for living on one income. Prioritize debt repayment. Do everything you can to pay them back so you can start spending your income on the things you love and enjoy.


There was a time when I used to love to shop. Back then, I couldn’t wait for pay day to arrive before I hit the malls.

The worse part? I shopped for things I didn’t need.

You see, it was a bad habit I had developed, and it took me a long time to break out of it.

I don’t know about you, but for me, the more times I shop, the more money I end up spending even though I consider myself pretty disciplined when it comes to spending money.

I save a lot more money when I reduce the number of times I go to the shops or order anything.

If you want to save more money, shop less. Depending on the size of your family, maybe you could shop for food and grocery twice a month or monthly.

Or maybe instead of going to the shops you can use a grocery delivery service to save time and money. This is a very useful tip if you struggle to stick to your shopping list or if you do a lot of impulse shopping.

It doesn’t matter how you choose to shop, but shopping less frequently is one way to improve your finances so you can survive as a one income family.

Related: How to Live Well On One Income: 7 Essential Skills For One Income Families


Along the same lines, consider buying some things in bulk. There are quite a few non-perishable items you can buy in bulk to save money and also cut down on how often you shop.

But be very mindful and only shop for things you really need. Avoid the temptation to stock up on things because they are on sale or because you have coupons for them.

It doesn’t matter if something is half price if you can’t afford it or aren’t going to use it.

If you have a big freezer, you can also buy some things like meat, fish etc in bulk and store in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

I do this some times and it saves me quite a bit of money and time.


Something I have learned since becoming a one income family is the importance of choosing quality over quantity.

I would rather have fewer quality clothes and shoes than a closet full of cheap, poor quality clothes.

Quality doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. But good quality clothes (or anything really), tend to last and wear longer and you don’t have to replace them as often.

Instead of buying lots of cheap toys, I prefer to save up and buy a single toy for my kids that I know they are going to use for a long time.

I used to buy lots of toys from discount shops because they were only $1 and I didn’t have to think too much before buying them.

But these toys only lasted a couple of days before they broke or stopped working. I got wise and stopped buying cheap toys because those $1 do add up over time.

You can train your kids to be happy and content with fewer toys. They don’t need lots of toys to be happy because they usually have one toy they like very much and they play with all the time, while the others just sit there collecting dust.

This applies to everything else really. Always go for the best quality you can afford even if it means you have to pay a little bit extra for them.

And you can always buy good quality used items instead of cheap crap.


Sometimes it may feel like you keep hearing the same advice over and over again. The reason is because they work!

One of the best tips for living on a singe income is to reduce your expenses.

The more money you spend paying bills, the less you will have to save and do some other fun stuff.

So be very diligent with how and what you spend your money on. Keep trimming those expenses and always be on the look out for better deals (but remember to focus on long-term benefits and not just short-term gains).


If you are not using a budget or tracking your spending, chances are you may have some money leaks that you aren’t aware of.

Whether you call it a budget or a money map, you need a tool to help you manage your finances and also to see at a glance what you’re spending your money on.

You also need to keep track of your spending especially when you go out. We tend to spend a lot of money on little things without paying much attention to them.

But, some of these little things can become money leaks that you need to get rid of.

Track your spending for thirty days and see if you can identify some leaks that need plugging.

When you are a single income household, you can’t afford to have money leaks, so look for those habits that may be costing you money and draining your resources.


One of the ways you can keep your expenses low is by avoiding or reducing food waste.

On any given day, you’re probably wasting some of your resources whether it’s food, water etc. This is a drain on your income and you should try to avoid it.

As my kids have gotten older, our grocery bill has increased, but I am always looking for ways to slash it. One of the ways I do that is by reducing food waste.

Some practical ways I reduce food waste include:

  1. Buying only the things I need
  2. Making use of leftovers
  3. Eating fresh foods, fruits and vegetables soon after purchase
  4. Keeping an eye on the dates on food labels to ensure they get eaten before they go bad

These are all little ways to reduce or avoid food waste that anyone can do.

So pay close attention to how much food you are wasting. Don’t let leftovers sit in the refrigerator for days. Eat them the next day if possible. Don’t make fresh meals until all the leftovers are gone.

This is how I keep my grocery bill down and my kids fed!


When I was younger, I used to love cooking and baking and those skills have been really handy for me.

Meal planning and cooking most of our meals has helped me to save a lot of money. While I don’t make everything we eat from scratch, I definitely take the time to plan out our meals.

Something else I have embraced is making simple meals.

There are lots of simple and nutritious meals you can make for cheap so take the time to meal plan and enjoy those easy recipes.

Cooking doesn’t have to take hours each day. Instead spend a few hours one weekend a month to plan all your meals for the next month.

If the idea of meal planning makes you want to run for the hills, you can find some affordable meal planning programs. But that isn’t really necessary since it’s something you can easily do yourself.

You can also find some free meal planning templates if you do a search for them.

If you’re new to meal planning, you can find lots of helpful resources like cookbooks, planners, meal prep containers and more on Amazon.


I don’t consider myself a minimalist, but in the last few years, I have embraced a more minimalist lifestyle.

It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate over time. Many of you are sitting on lots of stuff you haven’t used for years. While some of you don’t even know what you have laying around.

If you’ve ever bought something twice because you forgot you already had it, then you have too much stuff. Time to let some of them go and make some extra cash in the process.

I have made a bit of money selling used (and new) stuff on eBay and Craigslist over the years. It’s true that you are not going to get rich selling your used stuff, but you can make a couple of hundred or thousands of dollars if you really have a lot of stuff.

You also have the added advantage of living in a decluttered and organized home.

Learning to live with less stuff is one of the ways I am making living on one income work for me and my family, and I highly recommend it.


And anyone can do them yet some choose to ignore them.

If becoming a one income family is your goal, these tips can make a big a difference to your life. If you already live on one income, use these tips to improve your life.

Being a one income family doesn’t have to suck and you don’t have to keep struggling to survive.


Related living on one income articles:

How to Live Well on One Income: 7 Essential Skills for One Income Families

7 Habits of Financially Stable One Income Families

tips for living on one income
tips for living on one income

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