If you are looking for tips on how to raise your family on one income, then you’ve come to the right place! We are a family of six and we have been living pretty well on just my husband’s salary. That isn’t to say that we do not sacrifice, because we do, but we also never go without. (If that makes sense?)
I would also like to put out there that I do not think this is how everyone should live and that we have created the perfect lifestyle. Not at all. We do what works best for us. We are living a somewhat traditional lifestyle. My husband happens to have a career that is he passionate about. We could switch roles, but my husband is not nearly as talented as I am at multi-tasking. To be honest, I enjoy being at home and taking care of everything on that end. It works for us.
One of the biggest reasons we are able to live on just one income is because we live within our means. We do not have a large house with an even larger mortgage. We also do not have expensive cars that we upgrade every two years. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It just isn’t a priority for us, and it isn’t in our budget.
So let me get into the details that you came here for. Here is the top ways we budget our household income in order to keep me home raising our family.
Downsize your Housing
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to move into a tiny space and have everyone sharing bedrooms. It could also mean to expand where you are willing to live. Some areas are less expensive than others, but also remember to check out the crime rates for that area. No amount of money is worth saving if you have to risk your family’s safety.
For us, the housing issue didn’t really arise until we had our third child. We were living in a suburban area, pretty close to NYC, so it was a commuters dream. For us, it was relatively inexpensive because we rented from my in-laws and my hubby worked within walking distance of the house. The only issue here is that the house was only a two bedroom and became entirely too crowded for us when I had baby #3.
My in-laws moved up north to a rural area in our state, and we followed shortly after. We were able to find a decent sized house, and the taxes were 1/3 of what we would have been paying back in our hometown.
Limit Monthly Payments
I know this is much easier said than done. The biggest payments that we have had were for our car notes. At one time we were paying two payments at the same time, and that was pretty much torture. We sold off one of the vehicles and bought a used one. This also helped to lower our car insurance, which is forever going up even though neither of us has been in any accidents or had speeding tickets.
We also limit our spending with credit cards. We use one card for purchasing gas for my husband to go back and forth to work. At the end of the week we pay that balance. I have some cards that I use for department stores because we get the added bonus of coupons, so for stores like Kohl’s, I always use my card.
Our second largest monthly bill is the cellphones, and I am kind of torn here. It is necessary to have a phone, so we opted to keep the cellphones and get rid of the landline in the house. We honestly never used it anyway. While the cellphone bill isn’t exactly cheap, for us it is a necessity. So we splurge here and cut back somewhere else.
Make a Food Budget
Holy moly is it easy to overspend on food! Let’s just start with eating out, because that can get expensive pretty quickly with six people. Honestly, we don’t go to restaurants often. This isn’t only because of the amount of money we drop on one meal. My hubby and my youngest daughter don’t do well in crowded places (anxiety), so we try to avoid that as much as possible. Unless, of course, it is a rare occurrence when everyone is in the mood to do so!
As for stocking the pantry……I don’t! LOL. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not crazy, I promise. Before I even enter a store, I make a list of meals that I know I am prepping for the week, or two weeks. I only buy the things I need to make those meals. This cuts my bill down so much because I am only getting what we are definitely going to eat. I also try to use coupons, if I have any.
I also try to avoid the aisles in the center of the store. Ya know, the ones with all the pre-packaged, convenient foods. It is usually cheaper to make a large meal, like a crock-pot of chili than to buy it in the can and only serve two people. I guess it is also healthier, because the outer aisles usually are where you find your produce, dairy, eggs, and bread.
While my daughters are not huge fans of hand-me-downs, with three daughters it is just inevitable. If we have things that are still in decent shape, I sort them by size and store them in a bin. Things that we need to repurchase, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, gets bought when it is on sale. I do not pay full price for clothing. My favorite place to shop for the kid’s clothes is Kohl’s and Target. My youngest daughter especially loves the Cat and Jack line at Target. Their leggings don’t have the itchy tags in them!
I have also been known to resell their old clothing, and use the money to buy them new stuff. My favorite places to sell my kid’s clothes are Ebay, and the Buy-Sell-Trade groups on Facebook. I have sold so many bags of clothing, and it really does help out with getting new stuff. I have also tried consignment, with Thred-Up, but the payout is very low so I wouldn’t really recommend that route.
And lastly, we love to thrift shop. Even my daughters love it! We usually make a day of it and head down to a nearby shopping center that has an Aldi Supermarket and a Goodwill right next door. Now I’ve heard that Goodwill isn’t the best place to shop, because only a percentage of the profits actually go to the charity. But….their website has some interesting information regarding how much of their profits actually go to the charity, and they offer support and employment to people with disabilities. So that has to be a pretty good thing for the communities they are in.
We have found some pretty great things in the Goodwill. Some things that still had the original price tags on them. There are also sales every day of the week, according to the colored tag on the item. For example, on Monday they may put all of the items with purple tags on sale for half price. We always find something, especially things like sweaters, when we eventually take a trip over there.
These are the top ways that we are able to raise our large family on one income. For over ten years, we have made this system work. Like with anything else, sometimes you have ups and downs. But with some planning and good budgeting, you can definitely make it work.
Also, as my children get older, I find a little more time to do side jobs for extra money. Like this blog, for example. I am fairly new at this, but, I have high hopes for making money through my website. If you are interesting in starting a blog or monetizing your existing blog, check out my tips here.
If you have any questions about how we raise our family of six on one income, please feel free to leave a comment or email me, email@example.com. I’d love to hear how you budget for your household.