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When my husband and I first got married, we hoped to be able to live only on his income and just consider my income to be extra money. We had a loose idea of how we would put this into play but hadn’t really worked on the specifics. We knew that God would provide while also expecting us to be good stewards of His incredible provision.
Then less than two months after getting married, we moved to a different state (meaning I left my job of 7 years) and, two months after that, I found out I was pregnant with our first child! It was officially time to work out the details to make my dream of being a stay-at-home wife and mom a reality!
*Update: We’ve been living on one income for the past two years now and are still living happily and frugally while using every suggestion on this list!
If you are currently living on one income, would like to eventually become a stay-at-home parent, or are just looking for ways to cut costs so you can pay off debt, save more, and give more, then I hope you’ll find some of these suggestions helpful!
Here are some ways that we’ve been able to cut our expenses and thrive on one income:
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We Don’t Have Cable
This one may seem hard at first, especially if you’re used to watching a lot of TV, but we found that not having cable is actually better for us. First, we save lots of money (cable bills can easily be $50-100/month). But, also, we have more time together. We get outside and exercise more, read more, spend time together just hanging out. And it always feels like a special treat when we go somewhere that has cable (like staying in a hotel for a weekend trip). Overall, getting rid of cable has only enhanced our quality of life and our marriage. Also, our library has tons of free movies so we usually pick up a movie to watch over the weekend or during an at-home date night.
We Changed Cell Phone Providers
Before we were married, I had a cell phone plan that cost around $90 a month and my husband had one that was around $40 (he shared a plan with others). We learned about a great cell phone provider called Pure Talk USA through some friends of ours. PureTalk offers low cost monthly plans. We started out paying $35 each for 2 plans (for a total of $70 a month). Then we got a discount for referring a family member. Now we only pay $60/month for both phones. It’s great and so inexpensive!
We Cut Our Grocery Bill in Half
We realized that we were spending way too much money on groceries and household items each month so we made some changes. I learned how to use coupons, store sales, and rebate programs such as Ibotta and Checkout 51 to save money each month. If you sign up for Ibotta using my link, you’ll get $10 just for redeeming your first rebate. Check out this post for more information on how we were able to cut our grocery bill in half!
We Eat at Home as Often as Possible
By saving money on groceries, we’re able to buy more for less so it’s always cheaper to prepare a meal at home than it is to purchase one in a restaurant. It’s also healthier and usually tastes better! We stopped thinking of “going out” as a treat and instead placed value on making and sharing meals in our home together.
We Started Making Things Instead of Buying Them
We invested in a sewing machine, a wood burning art kit, and some tools. Ever since then, we’ve been able to make most of the gifts we give people for Christmas and birthdays. I started sewing some easy baby items, like burp cloths and wipes. Also, I make some beauty products like skin cream and sugar scrub as well as household products like all-purpose cleaner from vinegar and water. Making all of these little things versus buying them has added up to big savings over time!
We Switched from Disposable to Reusable
We bought cloth napkins and cloth kitchen towels so that we wouldn’t need to buy paper napkins or towels anymore. We also bought cloth diapers and reusable diaper covers in preparation for our daughter’s birth. We’ve saved so much by not having to buy these things each week!
We Changed Our Mindset
We changed the way we thought of “splurging.” Together we have learned how to appreciate the little things and to change what we think of as luxury items. Going out for ice cream feels like a special occasion. We have at-home date nights that are relaxing and romantic. Some of our best memories are from enjoying things that are free, such as hiking together, walking along the beach, serving others at a soup kitchen. We have so much fun with these things and the bonus is everything else feels like a special treat!
We Made a Budget and Work Really Hard to Stick to It!
Thankfully, my husband has always been frugal and money-savvy. I have learned so much from him since we started dating and especially since we got married! He created a budget for us using a Google document so that we can easily log on to check or update it as needed. The budget includes areas of spending, saving, and giving. If you’re thinking of making a budget, make sure you take into account all of your bills and monthly expenses, saving for emergencies, and giving such as tithes, offerings, and charity. When you take the time to itemize your expenses, you might be shocked by how much money you’re spending in unnecessary places. And how that $5 a day on coffee adds up over time (It’s nearly $2000 a year if you spend that each day, just in case you were wondering!).
We Shop Sales and Secondhand
We pretty much don’t buy clothing unless it’s on sale or from a secondhand store. We bought a ton of stuff for our daughter at Once Upon a Child, which is a great secondhand store that carries gently used clothing, toys, and other baby/toddler items. I buy most of my clothes from Target using their Cartwheel app or online using Ebates so that I always have savings or cash back coming my way.
For example, I was able to buy many of my maternity items online through Ebates at Motherhood Maternity. Every item was on sale and then I got cash back from Ebates for making the purchases. Such a great deal!
If you don’t have an account with Ebates, check them out. You get cash back from shopping at tons of places online. You’ll get $10 just for signing up using my link and making your first purchase. And then you can get rebates for making purchases and referring friends!
If you’re struggling with budgeting, debt, or trying to live on one income, there are several great Christian budgeting books out there.
Here are a few we love:
Using these tips, we’ve been able to thrive on one income, which is a huge blessing! It’s not always easy but, for us, it’s absolutely worth it!
How about you? What are some of your money saving tips?