couples living on one income

Couples Living On One Income: No Lies, No B.S., Just Facts

Couples living on one income in 2020 can be a reality if the pair is willing to sacrifice. I’m not lying or giving you any b.s. In this article I will provide a few ways how to transition to this lifestyle so keep reading!

Couples Living On One Income: Learn To Love Frugality

The very first thing you and your partner must do to successfully live on one income is to learn to love frugality. Why? Due to living on one income you two don’t have as much money to spend as a two-income family has. Even if one person in the couple earns $100,000+ salary, once you subtract taxes, kids, and other expenses, that high salary disappears quickly.

I wrote a few articles about my journey to embrace frugality, which you can read here and here and here. These articles are not only a guide on how I started my path to frugality, but provide some life lessons I learned since I’m living on less.

Be Ready For The Comments About Your Lifestyle

If you and your partner want to be live successfully on one income then you need to be ready for the comments about your lifestyle. Some will be good while others will not.

Why would you receive such comments about this? Because some people are jealous. I know couples with kids and the mom wants to stay at home and stop working completely. Yet, the couple has debt and they can’t afford to lose the mom’s income. Then there’s the group of people who think it’s “wrong” or “old-timey” for one person to stay at home while their spouse works. Those people think the relationship has an unbalanced power dynamic because the non-working spouse isn’t earning an income.

Now you won’t get only negative comments. There will be individuals who will question you because they want to know how they can live on one income. Only because society today taught people it is uncommon or even impossible to do so. It’s fine to talk to those people and educate them. Finally, there will be people who will congratulate you for your decision.

Couples Living On One Income: Sacrifice Is Absolutely Required

The only way for couples living on one income to make it in today’s world is through sacrifice. There really is no other way.

You and your partner must be ready to give up various luxuries. This is true even one individual makes a large salary. Why for this level of sacrifice? For the following reason: You two must have the income to pay the bills while saving and/or investing money. This become especially important if you two decide to have children.

So what do you have to sacrifice? Here’s a short list:

  • Buying an expensive home: When you buy too much house your mortgage payment will stretch your budget thin. And if you buy a big house the utility payments can break your budget. Instead, buy a smaller and more affordable house.
  • Eating out at restaurants: You need to cook a majority of your meals at home because it’s more affordable. You two can eat out on special occasions.
  • Shopping smartly: You can no longer buy whatever you want whenever you want. Now you must shop the sales and plan accordingly.
  • Buying a new car: New cars are more expensive and have higher insurance costs. Instead, buy an inexpensive car with cash.
  • Having more than one car: While having two cars is nice that means having more car insurance to cover both, more maintenance costs, more gas, etc.
  • Buying the latest gadgets: While buying the newest iPhone is nice, it’s also nice and expensive! You and your partner will have to buy a previous generation or two of a gadget since those are affordable.
  • Taking frequent vacations: Instead of going on multiple vacations in a year, you and your partner will have to take only one. And that excursion should be frugal too.

Yes, I know this can take the “fun” out of life but these are the sacrifices you two have to take if living on one income is paramount in your lives. And you can still have fun but you and your spouse need to find free to low-cost ways of doing so.


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Naomi Lane
1 month ago

I respect and share your realistic views about money. I manage all the finances for myself and my husband. Communication is the key and yes, it would be tough to live on one salary. Well done!