When you choose to be happy, rather than rich (How you can live on one income)
There are many families who actively choose to have one parent stay at home with the children while the other works outside the home. Can You Find Financial Freedom On One Income? Quite simply the answer is yes you can. However, the sacrifices involved in this choice may be tough for some families. It is a matter of what is ultimately the most important thing to you. Would you rather do without some things now for financial peace later, or struggle with finances both now and later?
Many years ago, I struggled with this. I longed to stay home with my kids and watch them grow– it was just something that I wanted to do. My husband was working full-time and made about $40,000 a year… not bad for a family of four, with one car, in a two bedroom apartment. I was also working in a restaurant and had to work long nights, all holidays and missed spending that time with my two boys.
So, we made the choice. I chose to be happy (something that was important to me) rather than live on two incomes and be able to afford the luxuries of life. No, we couldn’t buy EVERYTHING we wanted.. but we did just fine living on one income and most importantly, we were happy.
This post is not about the single parent, or single individual operating on a singular income. This is about the family with children who chooses to have one parent working full time while the other parent stays at home to raise the children. These suggestions, thoughts and recommendations are made with that in mind.
What it took for us to live on $40,000 a year:
Learn to do without frivolous expenses. There are a lot of things that we get accustomed to having that simply are not necessary. Things like the weekly take out, or going out to a new release movie. New clothes every season, or a fun pair of shoes that you saw on sale. While these are not unreasonable items to spend your money on, they are items that you are not going to suffer without. You will be able to enjoy life and have fun without them. You’ll just have to do so in different ways.
Seriously stay within your budget. Often we set a budget but have wiggle room, or skip outside the lines from time to time. This is a time when you really must stay within your budget. One small slip could send you into a financial tail spin. With the goal of savings and finding financial freedom in mind, it is important to focus on the big picture and not just the immediate desires.
Change spending habits. This is the time when you really have to look at your spending habits with an honest eye. Look at what you spend money on that could be considered conveniences. Work to communicate with your spouse about better choices and put them into place. Hold each other accountable in the process. We also started couponing— and saved thousands of dollars over the course of 5 years. It took a couple of months to learn how to really save–but after we learned, we were saving all the time.
When you choose to live on one income, you are already getting your spouse and children involved in your financial life. Everyone must be on board to make this work. You must also be willing to make some sacrifices to find financial freedom on one income. The end result will be a much more rewarding life with your family.
Have you taken the leap to live on one income?