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How To Live On One Income Successfully

This post may contain affilate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links I may earn a small comission. Please see my disclaimer.

It will take plenty of hard work and planning but I want you to know that you can live on one income as a family. The key is to think smart and to be smart with your money and live a frugal life while also living comfortably.

If you would like to give yourself a jump start on living on a single income you should definitely have a budget.


1 | Eliminate Surprises, Plan Ahead

Generally, you have at least an idea of when your regular bills are due and what weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or any annually bills you may have. So in order to plan for your bills you must budget for the essential expenses that you know are coming up. Instead of ignoring your upcoming bills you should be in expectation of them. Plan well in advance by setting the required amount aside purposefully this will help keep you more in control which you need to live on one income.

For example, I know roughly how much our debt payments are each month. This makes it simple for me to have more than enough in our account to cover the cost each month. We also are sure to remain aware and plan ahead for our annual bills such as registration renewal for our cars.

So instead of shelling out an extra $240 all in one month, I put aside $20 a month to cover this expense. It makes the hit much lighter and manageable.


2 | Don’t Settle, Shop Around

This is something I know I never considered so maybe you haven’t either. But chances are you will be able to get a better deal on the services you are using. So shopping around every so often for a better deal on home expenses is a fabulous way to save on expenses you need.

Examples of this are phone services and the internet. There are so many competitors, so if you’re not stuck in a binding contract you may be able to save yourself anywhere from $5-$50 a month just by shopping around and asking for deals. Deals are everything when you are live on one income and money is tight.

It doesn’t stop at the internet and phone services you can also do the same for utilities and other services. Some times your savings may only be a couple of percents but any amount you can save is better than nothing.

Savings = Money In Your Pocket!


3 | Stop With The Frivolous & Unnecessary Spending

I know what you’re thinking here we go with the cutting of expenses again. But seriously it needs to be done and there really are so many ways to save on your monthly household expenses. Services such as cable T.V or huge data plans are not necessary but are luxuries and should be treated as such.

This means anything we can not afford needs to be canceled and stopped immediately! That is the only way you are going to survive living on one income. You will have to learn to only spend with intention instead of impulse.


4 | Down Size And Declutter

Chances are there is a whole lot of “trash” in your house that could be very useful for someone else. So decluttering and downsizing the amount of clutter you have could make you some extra cash, and may even save you some money in the long run.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, this is not a quick process, it will likely be time-consuming in the beginning but you will absolutely make money by getting rid of your “trash” or unwanted items. Here are some examples, clothes, toys, furniture, books, decor, DVDs.  Really you could sell anything that you are no longer using even dishes or kitchen appliances, the list goes on and on.

If you’d like to learn more about selling for money or even flipping for profit check out Rob and Mellissa. In 2019 alone they made $79,000 flipping items and it only took them roughly 10-15 hours a week.

Here is the link to their course Flipper Univeristy where they share with you all their tips and tricks to be successful at flipping for profit.


5 | Take Advantage Of Your Credit Card Rewards

First let’s get one thing straight, in no shape or form do I recommend racking up credit card debt at all. Instead, you should be smart with your credit card and start making it work for you.

You should definitely consider credit cards with special sign up bonuses. Such as reward points that can be redeemed for services or cash, or possibly 0% interest balance transfers that will help you pay off your credit card of existing debt without super high-interest rates.

I personally am a big credit card user and I love the rewards I get. I have a cashback credit card that earns me at least $300 each year in cash. Using my credit card for most purchases allows me to earn money for purchases I’m already making. Just be sure to pay it off right away in full so you don’t create debt for yourself. Debt is the last thing you need living on one income.


6 | Have An Emergency Fund

So here is why you need an emergency fund.

Unexpected expenses pop up out of nowhere all of the time and when you are actively trying to cut costs to live on one income, sometimes it can be very easy to forget how important saving is. However, an emergency fund should be looked at as if it is a safety net.

Picture this scenario, you are living on one income and your car needs $700 worth of repairs. Woah right? This can be one of the scariest moments in life when you are living on a single income. Especially so when you do not have an emergency fund set up.

When something like this happens there really are only 2 possible options.

  1. You put the amount on your credit card because you don’t have savings.
  2. You have a $1000 emergency fund in place and you are able to use these funds to cover the cost immediately instead of stressing about going into debt.

I am 100% sure that every single person would choose the second option time after time.

I have written an article specifically to help you build your $1000 emergency fund.

7 | Why Not Try A Side Hustle And Earn An Extra Income

Everyone goes through rough financial times that sometimes are caused by having to live on one income. Through these challenging times, a side hustle could really be the answer you’re looking for.

Even if it is only a couple hundred dollars here and there it all adds up! And that extra couple hundred could mean the difference between making ends meet or getting behind on your bills.

While browsing about looking at side hustle options I came across this article and found that more than 35% of adults living in the U.S. have a side hustle. On average those side hustles are paying $700 per month!

So here are some of the most popular sides hustle to check out and help stop living paycheck to paycheck. Click here for the list of side hustles.

By finding different ways to add multiple income streams to your bottom line, which will give you the means to live more comfortably.


Living on one income doesn’t have to be the burden that you think it is. I hope that the above tips give you some insight into how you can improve your situation while living on a single income as a family.

If you have any other tips on how you managed to live on one income you should drop me a comment below I would love to read about what helped you.

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