Living on One Income

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We had to cut 60% of our budget in order for me to stay home.

I had started a list of all I did in this post, but it was soooo long, that I eventually took the 240+ steps I took while living on one income and becoming debt-free, all while homeschooling our child, and expounded on them in my book How to Thrive on One Income

The blessings of living on one income are so worth the effort!

Know that you must be agreed that you being home is more important than a higher income.  If your husband is resentful you will encounter problems (or if you really want to work, then you will sabotage yourself at home).  You can have a trial time as well – he might not believe you can cut expenses.  But you can!  Joni McCoy of has a wonderful audio tape telling her story that is incredibly inspiring.

You must know WHY it is important for you to be home.  Finding Your Way Home, which I talk about in its own post (here), is an excellent resource.

The first step is always to determine how much your job actually costs you – taxes, childcare, clothing, gas, parking, mileage, lunches, dinners, office parties, “I deserve it” treats, medical costs for not being able to stay at home caring for your family, guilt gifts…

The rest of the steps can be found here.

There used to be a website called Lainesletters.  She had a post called Home Economics: Fifty Ways we Paid Off Our House on One Income.  Her DH never made more than $29k, and he had no vacation or sick time, so if you think it is impossible, here is yet another woman who made it work. We also did the things Laine talks about.  Yay for Lori Alexander!  She re-typed Laine's Letter here.

Plan to take care of your child, home, and husband, and watch him take care of you!  Happy wife, happy life!

(Look at these pictures - attitude matters, no matter what kind of house you are living in!)


  1. I just found your blog through the Women Living Well link-up. I have already read almost all your posts. I currently work full-time and am completely overwhelmed but I am longing to be home caring for my husband, children, and home. This post in particular was very helpful. I cannot way to try your suggestions. Thanks for the help! :)

  2. I'm your newest follower having found your blog through Women Living Well! You have a great list of suggestions! I blogged about how we lived frugally a few months ago on my blog. I always love seeing others ideas! I can't wait to read more!

    Monica @

  3. Rebecca, I'm so glad you found this helpful! Thank you for letting me know. I highly recommend the books "Finding Your Way Home" and "There's No Place Like Home." (I do not get any financial compensation for recommending books or through Amazon.) You've encouraged me to write more on the topic and I'll try to post more this month on what helped me get home. May God bless you as you strive to do what is best for your family!

  4. Monica! Thanks for joining and for your encouragement! I'll drop by and check out your suggestions, too!

  5. Good tips. But I take issue with #39. I work from home and on a busy week I only work around 20 hours, yet I bring in about as much as my husband does (he also works mostly from home). There is definitely money to be made at home, and I'm almost positive I would not be saving over six figures a year by focusing on frugality.

    1. Hi Adriana - I'd love to know what you do to bring in that much money!
      I keep hearing of people working from home in the media, yet I never meet them in person. Most of the jobs from home I hear about only pay $10-$12/ hour or are MLMs. That is so not worth it to me. I occasionally help out former coworkers and charge them $40/hour, but have found that in my case, the time isn't worth the chaos it causes me. It makes me uptight, I'm always on the computer, I need silence, I have to run to the post office and/or beat Fed Ex's pick-up time. My stomach gets in knots! For me, it works out better to spend way less and not try to make more. If your children are older than 5 and can read on their own or play without needing supervision, then for some women working at home can make sense. In my circles, I've yet to find that woman who is working from home, or p/t out of the home, that is content with it. I'd be willing to hear more if you are that woman!

    2. Hmm. Well, I think it depends on the business, and the approach you take to working from home. Many SAHMs, and women in general, choose to start/run/be a part of localized, customer-facing businesses, which are very difficult to run if you've got an unpredictable schedule. An example of this type of business would be an online store, a "consultant" at a larger company (such as Mary Kay or Lilla Rose), or an eBay seller. These businesses are finite in their ability to provide income (you only get profit for physical product), and they require you to be constantly promoting, advertising, and dealing with customers and logistics.

      I think the key to working from home is to start a business that will bring in passive income, and that can be worked on in short, unpredictable bursts. An example of this type of business is an income-generating website (one that doesn't require you to ship out product), or some sort of service-based business. As for me, I'm a freelance writer. I write mostly for magazines (print and online), and I also write novels and screenplays. I can write whenever I want to -- whether it's while I'm waiting in line at a Starbucks or in the middle of the night when everyone's asleep, so I never have to worry about keeping a specific schedule.

    3. Thank you for your thoughtful answer! I hope it will be of help to others!

  6. Coming home from work is so worth it!! I quit my job over 25+ years ago and never looked back. That is a wonderful list of ideas and worth lots of people reading it. Thanks for sharing this over at WholeHearted Wednesdays. Have a great week!!

  7. thanks for linking up with this post on MMM link up party! What great tips and advice. I am a huge fan of Miserly Moms. That book jump started my being able to stay home successfully. I open the link up back open this evening and I hope you will come and link up another great post like this! I shared this on my Adventures in Mindful Living FB page too!


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