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A single income family.
Living frugally is not merely a single choice you make when you decide that it is what you want to do. It means deciding every day to live this way.
Living frugally is not a single choice; it is a lifestyle.
When my husband and I decided that we would be a single income family and I would be a stay at home wife shortly after we got married meant it was time for me to start finding new ways for us to live a frugal lifestyle. Growing up, neither of us were ever big spenders and prior to getting married we already led fairly frugal lives, but when we got married and piled with bills it became evident that we needed to hammer down and really put our frugality to the test.
A year later we are still thriving off of one income and we have learned more ways to live frugally, and we have fun with it along the way.
Choosing to live off of just my husband’s income meant we had to give some things up. Sometimes we have to say “no” to an invitation to a night out and stay in for the night. It means not seeing every one of the latest and greatest movies in the theaters, only eating out on special occasions, and crunching our grocery bill.
Related: When Meal Planning is Overwhelming
These might sound brutal, but living off of one income has enriched our lives in more ways than it has caused us to feel like we are missing out. In fact, we never feel like we are missing out on the “glamorous lifestyle” because, though we have cut certain aspects out of our lives, we feel that we still have more than we need.
We love the challenge that living frugally has brought to our lives and strive to find new ways to save money every day.
Thriving on a single income
As we mentioned earlier about not seeing every movie in the theater, there are still many other ways that you can watch great movies. Wait for the movie to be released. Waiting might sound terrible, but you will be just as excited (if not more) to see the movie a bit later on after it is out of theaters. Libraries are great places to go and grab a movie or two for a nice movie night at home, and you might even be surprised on the selection of movies that some libraries have!
To keep the movie trend going, we don’t have cable. No, that wasn’t a typo, you read it right! We have never had cable in our house, but if we ever did decide to get cable the absolute lowest it would be is $45/month. Dropping cable will save you at least $45 a month! You can use that money and sign up for Netflix if you love watching movies or TV shows, and you can make it even cheaper by sharing Netflix with a friend or family member and split the cost!
Even little savings add up in the long run.
You might be thinking it’s useless to buy the “generic” brand when the name brand is just a few cents more, but even pennies add up in the long run.
When you are grocery shopping always look to see if there is a generic brand of what you are buying as it is likely cheaper (often you will save more than just a few pennies), and usually just as good. Read my simple guide to meal planning here.
Find a local buy and sell. Your local buy and sell might have a Facebook page or they may just have a spot in the newspaper, but keep your eyes open for deals.
Always check the fliers before going shopping. That way you can create your meal plan and grocery list according to what’s on sale. But keep in mind that just because it’s on sale, doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Oftentimes people will think it’s “too good of a deal to pass up on” but then the item ends up sitting in their fridge or pantry until it goes bad. If you’re not going to end up using it you’re not saving money, you’re wasting it.
Mend clothes rather than throwing them away and buying new. Mending your clothes and household items will save you money as you will get extended use out of them.
Reuse jars and Zip-lock bags. It always baffles me when I go to someone’s house and they throw their perfectly good Zip-lock bags in the garbage. Zip-lock bags can be washed and reused many, many times.
Make a budget and stick to it!
I can’t stress the importance of budgets. How are you supposed to know where your money is going if you’re not keeping track of it? Not having a budget makes it so simple to spend just a bit of money here, and a little bit there, and sooner than you know it you’re well over the amount you should be spending, but you don’t even know it. What you don’t know can hurt you and your bank account.
Buy reusable. My husband and I don’t have kids yet but when we do we will be saving money by using cloth diapers. You can find out more by visiting Mother ease Cloth Diapers. You can also read Melissa of Mother ease’s guest post on my site by clicking here.
Find local scratch and dent stores for any appliances you need. You can get great deals on new appliances that have just a few scratches on them, or might even have a single scratch in a place that you can’t see it, but can’t be sold at regular price because of it.
Cut back on the eating out.
Eating out is a huge money sucker. Before you even realize it you’ve spent $50 on a dinner for two. Where when eating at home, $50 can be spread over many, many dinners for two!
Eating at home is not only a great way to save up money that you didn’t even realize you were spending, but it is also a much healthier option. When you make your own food you can control what ingredients get put into the dishes.
Have leftover nights. There are so many families that save leftovers in the fridge only for them to get forgotten about and later thrown away. Designate certain nights to have leftovers from meals that you’ve had throughout the week. This will not only cut down on waste but also save you money.
Speaking of leftovers, if at the end of the month you have leftover money put it in a savings account. Every once in a while you can treat yourself to something you generally wouldn’t buy, when you have leftover money, but the best thing to do is stick it in a savings account and watch your savings grow.
Always go grocery shopping with a list. This one is huge. When you go to a grocery store and you’re walking up and down the aisles without a list it is so easy to end up with more than just what you need. When you make a list it’s much easier to skip aisles that don’t have the food you need in them, check items off your list as you get them, and go to the checkout lane with just what you need.
Some nights you might be running low on ingredients. Rather than doing a quick trip to the grocery store, make do with what you have on hand.
If you have the space to do so, grow your own food. Gardening isn’t only a way to benefit your health and a money saver, it is also such a rewarding task as you get to see the work of your hands grow.
My husband and I have uninsured one of our cars after realizing how silly it was that I was a stay at home wife and really didn’t need a car for anything, yet we had two cars insured. I can easily do my once a week grocery shop after my husband gets home from work. This has saved us monthly and encourages a healthier lifestyle as I walk more places than I used to.
Cut yours and your family members’ hair. I was terrified to cut my own hair when I first started cutting my own hair, but soon got a hang of it and it is a super easy way to save money, especially when the cheapest place to get my hair trimmed around here is $20. I later purchased a haircutting kit and started cutting my husband’s hair as well.
Make your own laundry detergent and cleaning products.
10 Ways We Save Money While Living on One Income
5 Money Saving Tips That Make All the Difference
22 Things That Frugal People Don’t Do
6 Simple Steps to Meal Planning
Is Being a Cloth Diaper Family For You?