Tips for Living on One Income

Tips for Living on One Income

Here are some Tips for Living on One Income: a Guest Post by Heather H.

Living on One Income Tips: I’d like to start off by saying everyone struggles at one time or another. You just have to learn to cope. I’ve pretty much always struggled when it comes to finances, being a single mother is not an easy job. I worked three jobs at one point in time and it still was not enough. I then became disabled, so living on one income it was, and still is. Over time I’ve learned ways to stretch my money, try to keep the bills paid, and still help the community. Even though it is month to month living, it still works.

Simple tips for living on one income: Start off by sitting down and creating a budget. Make a list of your monthly expenses/bills, etc. For me, most of my monthly bills are around the same amount every month except of course the electric bill. I basically follow a few important rules. Never use credit cards, Always put needs over wants, Make “no spend” days, NO more eating out, and Find and utilize at least 2 money saving strategies a month. It’s all about survival. We, especially as parents, do what we have to do to survive. I also shop at second hand and thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army quite frequently.

After I pay all my monthly bills, I determine what is needed for the house – Groceries, personal care, and if the kids needs anything as far as clothing etc. I have to tell you, couponing is the new way of the world, and it has saved my life. I always try to find a coupon for everything I plan to buy, and if I don’t have a coupon, I only buy it if I NEED it. I shop several stores to get the best bargains. Another way I get the things we need is to join the best virtual currency offer sites. On these type of sites, you complete offers, surveys, play games, etc for points that can be converted into cash, prizes, gift cards, etc. To me, these are much easier than regular survey sites, maybe because I can get impatient. The top three sites that I use are as follows: Prizerebel, Swagbucks, and Superpoints. I cash out alot of Amazon gift cards and sometimes Paypal cash. Amazon gift cards paid for our Christmas in 2011.They never expire and you can save them all year. All three of these sites have a great referral system, so when your referrals earn, so do you. I’ve recently started buying food items on Amazon with gift cards. I just got four big boxes of cereal for 8 bucks with free shipping. Sign up for Amazon Mom for free Prime Shipping. Also, sign up for all the free giveaways, contests, and free samples that you can!  It does pay off!

So, aside from alot of couponing and making extra cash on these sites, how else do I save money that helps me live on one income? Well, for one, apply for energy assistance at your local social services.(Do this before it gets cold!) If they dont have a Home Energy office, ask them where to apply. If you’re eligible, it can really help you save in the winter months with your heating bill. Also, try putting a few dollars into Savings whenever you can. If you don’t like banks, try a prepaid card service like Netspend, they have Checking and Savings.

While I do my couponing, I always keep a “donation” box. There are lots of freebies out there, and they can really help people in need. When my box gets full, I take it to a local church that is big in helping the community. They’ve even helped me in the past, so it feels even better to help. You always want to Pay it Forward , you never know when you might need help.

All of these are great ways to live on one income and survive. I will not lie and say I live comfortably all the time, sometimes it is still a struggle, but we are in a recession people. If I look back to just one year ago, I wouldnt have been able to say- Christmas was paid for virtually FREE, I donate at least three times a year, and I have a storage unit filled with free stuff from couponing! It is all about strategies and planning!! WE CAN DO IT!!

Tips for Living on One Income has been a guest post as part of the Coupons & Freebies Mom Money Saving Experts series, by Heather H. Heather just snagged a $5 Amazon gift card! Learn how you can snag a $5 gift card!

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Are you born frugal or do you become that way?

Are you born frugal OR do you become that way? Is frugal something you “become”, or are some people just born that way? Me (Money Savin’ Momma) – I was BORN a tightwad. 🙂 It is almost PAINFUL for me to spend money. Seriously! I grew up on a farm in rural Kansas, and as you may know, farmers don’t exactly roll in the dough… My parents are HUGE bargain shoppers, even to this day. And I inherited this trait from them! The thrill of finding a hot deal is like an adrenaline rush for me. That’s why I LOVE sharing deals and freebies with you all here on our site! Saving money seems to come naturally to me, regardless of the fact I was also raised that way.

Shortly after my husband and I got married, I was in for a huge shock. I had married….. *GASP*…. a spender! For the first few years of our marriage, it was truly painful for me to watch my husband spend money and not save it! So, fast forward several years to when our first son was born. My husband discovered Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and started this website (CAFM) as a way to help us stay on track and save money. And we’ve never looked back since. I smile now when I see my husband printing coupons and telling me he saved 56% on our grocery bill by shopping the sales and using coupons. Ten years ago, I would have never believed he would be using coupons because they were “too much work”! In his case, he BECAME frugal after becoming a father, and I’m grateful he did. 🙂


Ask the readers: So what about all of you? Were you BORN frugal? Were you raised that way? Did you BECOME frugal? We’d love to hear how you got started on the road to frugality and saving money!

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Designer clothes on a budget

Designer clothes on a budget: How do you wear a trend without it wearing you? How do you wear clothes that are fashionable and reasonable? Amee of Madame Deals explains how she wears designer clothes while spending next to nothing:

The answer is simple; pair classic items in a new way. I will show how layering common items creates a trend. How much will I spend for the two outfits that I will create? Less than $20!


The look I am recreating is the nautical look. I love Navy and White I think it looks crisp and rich. I also love dressing up or dressing down jeans. A good pair of jeans is worth what they cost! The ones in my post are Sevens For All Mankind. They retail for $178.00. Confused? How did I pay $178.00 for my jeans and still make an outfit for $20? Well, I grabbed mine at Goodwill for just $4.00. That is right, I saved $173.00. Not bad ha?

I paired the designer jeans, $4.00, with an Ann Taylor Navy Sweater, $3.50, that I layered with a striped cardigan from Banana Republic, $3.50. Total spent: $11.00.

look 2

Look 2:

I used the same $4.00 designer jeans. I live in jeans so I try to make outfits that reflect real women. Can I wear dry clean only clothes? Not with two children! I used the same $3.50 Ann Taylor Navy Knit Tank paired with a white gauze sweater from Banana Republic, also $3.50 at Goodwill. I spent an additional $3.50 from the first look to create a second unique look.

The secret to looking good within the budget is figuring out ways to make what you have work. If you have a bunch of random items and you buy new items just for those items to work, it is costly. Instead focus on the classics: black pants, dark jeans, white button down shirt, pencil skirt, and a shirt in a color that you look amazing in. I encourage you to hit the thrift stores, consignment shops, and host clothing swaps in order to build a wardrobe that reflects your best assets

Amee of Madame Deals: I am a happily married lady living in Virginia. I enjoy raising our Angel and Cherub while staying home (well most of the time sometimes I just need an hour to myself). I love children and I hold a Master’s degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in Special Education. I have taught in several states while my husband was serving in the Navy. I hope to inspire people to believe in themselves and create a better standard of living whether it be through fashion or finance.

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How to live on one income

Have you ever wondered how to live on one income? Have you ever wondered if YOU can afford to live on one income? Many of you may not realize that about 1.5 years ago, we decided to do this very thing – we went from being a two income family to living on one primary income. It was a scary decision, but it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Now that 2010 is here, I want to challenge all of you to consider this possibility for YOUR family. We used to never think it was possible to live on one income, but we have been living on one income now for awhile and are happier and better off financially than ever.

How can you afford to live one on salary?

Even in today’s world, I am convinced that most families can afford to live on one salary. Now I realize that not everyone can, but I truly believe that most families can make this a reality. First, take a hard look at where your income is going. Take a notebook and write down every single expense you have. When you buy something, write it in the notebook. After a month or two, analyze your spending. Where is your money going? You may be surprised at how quickly the “little expenses” add up – $2 for a cup of coffee here, $3 for a hamburger, there… and so on. Once you know where your money is going, you can start figuring out where to cut back on expenses and how to eliminate unnecessary spending. Use this information to create a basic monthly budget.

frugal living

Explore income opportunities from home

Look at ways you may be able to make a small income at home. This may be as simple as selling extra things on Ebay or doing paid online surveys. Obviously you will not get rich from this, but even an extra $50 – $100 a month from such ventures may give you the extra padding you need to live on a single income. It may sound crazy, but believe me, we are speaking from personal experience here – The paid online survey companies give us a nice padding each month, and I encourage you to look into paid surveys if you haven’t started doing them already!

Do a trial period of living on one income

For several months, live off of one salary only. Put all the money from your second salary into savings. Pretend that you don’t even have a second salary. After the trial period is up, look at your results. Talk about how you did as a family. Is this something you could continue doing? Did you even miss the second salary? You may be surprised at what you find!

Living on one salary may require sacrifices and self-discipline

Yes, there may be sacrifices and self-discipline required to live on one salary. And let’s face it, sacrifice and self-discipline are NOT encouraged by our society these days. But I can personally tell you that all the sacrifices required ARE worth it. I am staying at home raising our two boys right now, and not paying someone else to raise our children. I will NEVER regret the time I have gotten to spend with them and the memories I will have watching them grow up.

Plus, we have less expenses now than before (no daycare, less gasoline, less work clothes, cheaper car insurance, less eating out) and more time to save money, find bargains, and use coupons! And the best part, I get to share all of the freebies and deals I find with all of YOU! 🙂

Living on one income may not be for everyone – it may not be for your family. I am not trying to judge those families living on one income, nor trying to judge those families living on more than one income. Everyone knows what is best for their family and must make their own choices. But if you have considered quitting your job to stay at home with the kids or dreamed about it for awhile, then let 2010 be the year to seriously consider this option for your family.

See our own blog posts when we struggled with this very decision in 2008. You may find some of the comments from readers inspirational in your own decision making.

ASK THE READERS: Are any of you living on one primary income? How did you make the decision to be a one income family? OR – Are any of you wishing you could become a one income family? If so, what is holding you back?

Are you new to our site? Sign up for our free email digest and let us show YOU how to save money, get freebies, and live on one income!

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3 money saving websites

We LOVE saving money! And fortunately there are tons of great websites that help you do just that! One of our readers and fellow bloggers recently shared with us some of her favorite money saving websites. Two of these sites were new to me, and I’m glad to know about them. Hopefully they will help you all save some money too!

Jen blogs at Simple Savings Blog. She says, “My goal with this blog is to give back to others that are looking to save a few dollars whether it is to stay home with their kids, survive the tough economy or save for a rainy day. I want to simplify the couponing and deal shopping process for people like me that didn’t understand it initially.”

Jen says, “I am techy geek. I love finding new technology that will make my life easier and it is even better when that technology saves me money. Here are a few of my favorites:

Twitter Coupon Bot

I am fairly new to Twitter but I am already addicted and even more so now that I found out my new found addiction can save me money. has created a Twitter Coupon Bot that will send you all the coupons that are valid at the store you are requesting. Here’s how it works with Target as an example:

1. Send a Tweet to @CouponBot Target (replace Target with the store of your choice)

2. will then send you @ replies with any valid coupons for Target. The @ replies will show up on your main page.

3. will send you a minimum of 10 coupon codes that are the most current offers.

This is a quick and easy way to make sure that you are finding the best deals out there for your stores!

I love! Using this website has saved me so much money. When you are shopping online, simply check at before you make your purchase for any discount codes for a percentage off or for free shipping. Users will input codes they find online and other users will comment when the codes work for them. It is a win-win situation for everyone! To make my life easier I downloaded the toolbar and it automatically notifies me of any coupons when I am shopping online. is an amazing tool that will save you a lot of time and hey time is money right? We all come across PDF’s that we wish we could type in the information instead of having to write it out. With you can edit your PDF’s and even better you can do it for free! All you have to do is login to, upload your document and click the type button at the top. You then click on the area you want to type on and a text box appears and you type your information. The text box can be moved to fit the area and the text size can be adjusted as well. When you are finished click save and will give you the option of emailing the form, downloading it or printing it. It is that easy! I have used this for rebate forms, doctor’s forms and my business forms. I love this tool!

What technology tools are saving you time and money?

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