Stay At Home Parents: How To Get By On One Income

Working full time, taking care of a family, and wishing that one parent could stay home, is the reality of many Americans. It can often seem impossible to live off one income, especially if you’ve always been a two income household.

If being a stay at home mom or dad is a goal of yours, then there are ways you can make that your new reality. While it might be a bit of a challenge, rest assured, it is possible.

Remember, you’ll need to make a lot of changes to your living situation to make your single-income lifestyle work properly. So, sit down with your spouse or partner, hash out all the details together, and make certain that you’re ready to handle all these lifestyle changes before you start making them.

Read our top money management tips for families here.

Make A Budget That Will Work With One Income

A good way to test whether you’re ready to make the jump to a single income is to make yourselves a budget. Think about what your life is going to be like once you only have one income and what expenses you normally have that you can cut back on. However, remember that this is just a trial run. At this time, you’ll still have to factor in the cost of your regular childcare and other expenses you might be dealing with while you continue working. If, after a few months, you and your spouse feel like you’re handling these changes well, then you’ll know that living with one income is a possibility for you and your family.

Cutting Back

Depending on your current living situation, how much you and your spouse might have saved up already, and how much the spouse who decides to continue working is making, cutting the cost of daycare might not be enough for you to get by. There are definitely other ways you can tighten up that budget. Think about the unnecessary expenses that you can cut back on, such as reducing the cost of your cell phone bills, cut out cable television, reducing the amount you spent on food, or even refinancing your home to lessen the cost of your payments each month

Deal With Your Debt

One of the best ways to make your single income dreams come true? Getting yourself out of as much debt as possible. True, it is not easy to accomplish, but overall is one of the best things you can do in any financial situation, especially when that situation involves your family. The high-interest rates associated with consumer debt will drain your savings and push your financial goals further away.  

Interested in more information on your debt relief options? Click here.

Change To A One-Car Family

If you and your spouse have more than one car between you, selling one will not only put some extra cash in your pocket, but will eliminate a lot other expenses that come with owning a vehicle. You’ll also be able to get out of debt faster. True, having one less car might cause a bit of disruption to your way of life at first, but it will get better with time when you and your spouse get used to the idea of only one person needing to travel to work every day. Before you do eliminate a car from the family, however, just remember to take all your circumstances into account, like if you live in an area with no public transit, or if an emergency situation should arise.

Is Downsizing Your Home an Option?

When you’re looking to stick to a strict budget, maybe selling your current home and moving into a smaller one is a possibility. If you don’t plan on having any more children, but have a lot of room to spare in your house, maybe downsizing is right for you. If you are able to do this, you’ll likely be able to find another more affordable house where the property taxes, costs of utilities, and mortgage payments will fit into your budget more efficiently.

Be Imaginative With Your Family Outings

Sometimes, there’s just nothing to do around the house on a weekend afternoon. It’s a nice day out, but you don’t want to go somewhere and spend a bunch of money on unnecessary things. So, get creative, rather than heading to the mall, take your kids out on a day hike, or a trip to the nearest national park for some fresh air and a picnic. You’ll be able to avoid spending money on those things that you ultimately won’t need and have some good old-fashioned family time.

Ask Your Employer About Working From Home

As we said at the beginning of this article, we’re well aware of the hardships that might come with reducing your family to one income. Even after you’ve put all the effort into cutting back costs and tightening up your budget, having a single income between two people might still be too nerve-racking, especially if you have more than one child to look after. However, just because you’re staying at home, doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t still do a bit of work on the side for extra money. This is the age of technology, after all. As long as you have access to a phone and computer, working from home during your children’s nap times is a possibility.  

In the end, it’s up to you and your spouse to decide what your priorities are when it comes to raising your children. Just keep in mind that it is completely possible to live off one income even if you’ve become accustomed to having two income sources. If you follow our tips you should be able to smoothly transition your family and have the lifestyle you want.