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How We Survived On One Income as Newlyweds

one income as newlywedsWhen I first became a stay-at-home mom I wasn’t thrilled with not having my own income.  I was worried about my ability to help my family financially, and wondered if I was up for the challenge.

When me and my husband first married, we barely had any money to our name.  We strategized on how we can become financially successful as a new family.

I’m going to be honest in saying that it wasn’t easy at first.  There were a lot of arguments over spending even the tiniest amount of money, however, overtime when we saw that our sacrifices were paying off we kept at it.

Here are a few tips on how survived on one income as newlyweds.


This may seem crazy to some people, but when my husband first got his new assignment in Utah we lived in a efficiency suite.  It was a one room apartment with a bathroom.  This allowed us to save a really good amount of money in a short amount of time.  It wasn’t easy being in the efficiency suite with a baby, but I knew it was what we had to do to get us on a steady financial foot.  Eventually, we did move into a bigger apartment but it was still way below what we could actually afford.

one income as newlyweds

Not our apartment but it’s very similar

We could have even purchased a home, but decided that would take us further away from our financial goals.

Another way we lived below our means was not getting credit cards. If we couldn’t pay cash for it, or put it on layaway we didn’t purchase it.  We did have one credit card strictly for traveling back home for visits.  However, the limit for that card was extremely low.

Living below our means meant that my husband packed his breakfast and lunch everyday.  So every night for dinner I would make sure I made enough for him to take the next day.

Here are some other things we did to live below our means.

  • Not getting the latest technology.  We only had one T.V. (we still have the same T.V.)
  • Not getting new cars once we paid off our vehicles.

Staying Within A Budget for Groceries.

Every two weeks there was $200 put into our grocery budget drawer.  Whatever, I didn’t spend went into a savings jar.  It sort of became a game to me to see how much I could have left over at the end of each two week period.  The money from our savings jar was usually used for family trips or minor expenses that popped up. This allowed for us not to dip into our savings.  It also allowed us to pay off any charges made to our travel credit card.

  • I also clipped coupons and shopped discount items.  This helped me tremendously with our grocery budget.

Now that we have two children our grocery budget is still the same but I’m unable to save any left over money.

Made My Own Income.

I did get a weekly stipend for myself.  However, I still wanted to earn my own income.  I have a background in early childhood development so I became a nanny.  This was a great job because I was able to take my kids with me.

Being a nanny allowed me to have a sense of independence and gave me a little extra spending cash. I also did have a job at a daycare for a short while.  That was also a good gig because my daughter got to attend the school I worked at.

Being On The Same Page.

This is a big one when trying to live on one income.  Luckily, me and my husband have the same financial philosophy when we first married.  Our goal was to save, save, and save and we both were willing to do whatever it took to reach that goal.

It’s important to have talks about money, and about the hard stuff. There were times when I didn’t want to talk about money, but it’s an important conversation to have.

one income as newlyweds

What are some ways you help your family out financially?

Here are some great books for newlyweds for money management.


Also download your free budget worksheet Monthly Budget!  one income as newlyweds


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15 thoughts on “How We Survived On One Income as Newlyweds

  1. I had the same feelings when I became a SAHM. I have always hated not contributing financially, but then I just have to remember how much money I’m saving us by not needing to pay for childcare. These are great tips. I really want us to sit down and work on a budget soon. Thanks!

  2. This is a great post. Giving a lot of thought to your budget and being very careful with your spending goes a long way. It is so easy to fall into the trap of overspending when you think things are good, and that’s a lesson I’ve recently learned now that we got ourselves in a ton of debt by not preparing better.

  3. WE are so bad at saving. Well maybe I should say I’m bad at saving. I’m really working on that. We have a $300 food budget but I’m worried it might need to go up because our 4 kiddos are getting older and wow do they eat.We lived in a small house for 10 years. It is so smart to live within or below your means because when economy was bad we still were able to keep our home. We are going to put our correct house on the market..its way to big for us and too much to clean. Bigger is not always better and when it comes to happiness a family is what makes a home. You are such an inspiration for me.

  4. Great tips! When my husband and I first got married we were the typical DINK (Double Income No Kid) couple splurging on things unnecessarily. As we have grown older and also become a single income family, we have learned to control our expenses as a way of increasing our net savings. Thank you for sharing!

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