How to Thrive and Not Just Survive on ONE Income

Last Updated on February 20, 2016

How to Thrive and Not Just Survive on ONE Income with these finance tips for easy frugal living.

If your family is living on a single income, then it can sometimes feel as if you’re barely surviving. By making some serious budget changes, you can transform your barely surviving mentality into one that’s thriving. Here are some tips you can use to thrive and not just survive on ONE income. 


Create a Budget

In order to prepare your finances to thrive on a single income, you’ll need to create a budget. Go through all of your expenses and list how much they cost each month. Look at your income and decide whether these expenses fit in with the lifestyle you’re able to afford. Don’t forget to add a savings goal and emergency fund in to your budget so that you have what you need in case of an unexpected expense.

Cut Corners (Or Coupons)

If you want to thrive on a single income, then you need to make your money stretch as far as it can go. To do this, you’ll need to cut some corners! Coupons are a great way to do this since they allow you to buy staple items such as groceries at a discounted price. This allows you to feed your family at a lower cost, making it easier to follow your single income budget.  Canadian?  Not sure you can save the way Americans do?  Think again!  Check out these tips on Couponing for Canadians.  When you do shop, you will want to keep in these great tips to help you save on your grocery bill!

Buy Things Secondhand

Oftentimes, used items are just as good as new items. In order to thrive on your single income budget, you might want to buy certain items used. Children’s clothes and toys are great items to buy used, especially since your children grow fast and will only use these items for a short period of time. If you need some new pans or flatware, go to your local thrift store and see what kitchen supplies you can buy secondhand.

Sell Unwanted Items

Another great way to stretch your income is to sell some of your unwanted items. After your children outgrow their clothes or toys, you can sell those items and use the money towards their new wardrobe. This will help you earn back some of the initial costs for those items, making it easier than ever to stick to your budget.


What are your best budgeting tips? I’d love to hear about how you make a single income work for your family.


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11 thoughts on “How to Thrive and Not Just Survive on ONE Income

  1. 2 of the 3 in my household are vegetarian, so we buy very little meat. Non-meat protein is much cheaper on the budget! When we do buy meat, buying a whole chicken is much cheaper than just the breasts, for example. Slow cookers are great for cheaper cuts of meat.

  2. I really watch the sales and buy ahead for groceries and items that I know we will use. i am trying to cut down on baked goods and have tried to use coupons.

  3. I’m in a single income home and I’m not going to lie, it’s friggin hard, I struggle every month to pay bills, well to put some money down on bills. I have a mortgage and a truck payment those two alone suck all the money from us. I do everything I can like clip coupons, shop at Goodwill, go to the farmers market, but the bills keep increasing and so do the groceries!!

  4. Here are some ways I’ve saved in the past: purchasing items at garage sales, selling my no longer needed items on Kijiji/Craigslist, and receiving/giving away items (for free) on Freecycle. Really, Freecycle was a lifesaver to me to help organize unwanted household clutter (giving away items), and receive needed items for free when I had $0 budget.

  5. These are awesome tips!! Another I’d like to share is .. sign up for ‘rewards’ from stores you frequent most. We have Air Miles, those have saved us a few times when we need a few things and no money to buy them with.

  6. These are some great tips. I am on a one person household and find it very hard sometimes!

  7. Making a budget (and sticking with it) is so crucial for us to managing our finances, even with two incomes.

  8. For me the only way I make it is to cook rather than eat out. I love to eat out so I’ve learned some copycat recipes, and when it comes to birthdays and Christmas my family often gets me restaurant gift cards. This balances out the times I have the cravings but not the cash. I’ve also got a food sharing page on Facebook. If someone has a fruit tree, garden or excess of anything they post it and we share. For example at our local produce place I picked up 30 lbs. of apples for $5.99. I processed what I could use and bagged up the rest for the friends who needed/wanted it. In exhange I’ve had boxes of veggies and other fruit. Sometimes we do canning or baking and share that. It keeps you social and fed!

  9. I admire your tips and those of the persons who comment. The biggest budget eater, after mortgage and transportation, seems to be groceries. I am trying, still, to use up what is in the frig and freezer before I buy more. Doing meals from scratch is one of the biggest savers and watching sales.

  10. I do watch the sales so that I stock up on items that I use and can get a good price on. I have a daughter who lives near a Cosco store and she brings me over items that are priced well below the prices in the stores here. I plan on having a flea market sale this summer. Thank you for your tips.

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