How to Live off of One Income so You Can Stay Home with Your Children

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How to Live off of One Income so You Can Stay Home with Your Children

Written by Caitlin Wood

Updated November 15, 2017

How to Live off of One Income so You Can Stay Home with Your Children

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Income Money Personal Finance

If you’re sick of waking up at 5:30AM to get your kids to daycare or pre-school before you go to work then this article is made for you. In many relationships, one spouse wishes they could stay home and watch their kids grow up. Even without a six figure income, it is possible to have one spouse work while the other stays at home with the children. This is definitely not an easy task to accomplish but it is possible. Here are some tips for making this challenge a reality.

Before you put any real plans in motion, the best thing to do would be to talk to your spouse about the decision; you have to be on the same page for this to work. Transitioning to a single income family requires a significant lifestyle adjustment. You and your spouse have to be equally prepared to make these adjustments.

Ask yourself these financial questions to help decide if one income will work for your family.

Create a One Income Mock Budget

We suggest that you create a budget based on how your life will be once you become a one income family. Try living with this budget for a couple of weeks or months to see if you can handle it. Of course, while you test out your budget your expenses won’t be exactly right as you may still be paying for things like childcare and work related expenses. Keep that in mind when you make your final decision.

Making Necessary Cuts to Your Budget

It is possible that you realize you need to be more proactive with your budget. Depending on your situation, saving money from eliminating childcare or transportation costs may not be enough. There are always ways you can reduce your spending for example: eliminate cable television, refinance your home (bring down monthly payments), and downgrading your cell phone plans.

Taking Care of your Debt

An extremely effective (but perhaps not so easy) way to free up unnecessary expenses is to get out of debt. Paying interest on your debts can be detrimental to your finances and could be what is keeping you from making your one income plans a reality. There are many ways you can look into freeing up your debt (check out our debt management infographic to learn about your debt relief options).

Become a One Car and One Income Family

Going down to just one car can free up a lot of money. It can also greatly help towards getting you out of debt. Dropping down to one car calls for a serious lifestyle change; yet, it is easier than you think when only one spouse is commuting five days a week. Of course, this option is more appealing to some, as opposed to others. If you live in a very rural area you may feel helpless, especially in the case of an emergency.

Consider Downsizing your Home

Think about the size of your home and whether you could afford to downsize. If you have extra rooms and have no plans of having more children then you should definitely consider downsizing. Ideally, the result will be that you’ll end up with lower mortgage payments along with lower utility bills and property tax.

Questioning whether your home is the cause of your financial issues? This article is for you.

Get more Creative with your Family Activities

Finding fun yet cost-effective activities to do with your family is yet another way you can cut back on your expenses. Instead of going to the mall on a Saturday where your kids will be bound to ask you to buy toys, food, and countless other things, plan a day to go hiking where you can pack a more affordable lunch. This way you’ll be far from any unnecessary consumer goods and you’ll still be able to spend quality time with your family.

Keep an Eye out for Different Employment Options

As we discussed before, dropping down to a single salary household is not easy. Even if you’ve done your best to follow all the tips above you still may feel like a one salary income is just not enough for your family. Keep in mind that staying at home with your kids does not mean you can’t make any money in the meantime. Don’t forget that in the 21st century telecommuting is very common. You may be able to make arrangements with your boss to work part-time from home.

Also, whichever spouse that is continuing to work can always keep a lookout for different higher earning employment opportunities or apply for a promotion. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you feel more confident with transitioning to a one income family.


Rating of 3/5 based on 2 votes.

Caitlin is one of Canada's leading personal finance writers. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. She has been part of the Loans Canada team for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security.

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