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One Income Living in Today's World

Last post 06-07-2008 10:25 PM by babs. 33 replies.
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  • 05-26-2008 10:09 AM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    One Income Living in Today's World

    As the cost of living gets higher, fewer people are choosing one income family settings. Is it still possible to live on one income? How are you managing finances and life?

    Read more on living on one income:

    Maintining the One Income Lifestyle

    Living on One Income

    One Income Beats Two

    Living on One Income Blog

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager

  • 05-26-2008 11:01 AM In reply to

    Re: One Income Living in Today's World

    We could live on one income if we downsized to a small townhouse in a different city farther away about 10-15mins and another bridge.  part of that would be because of the housing market doubling so we have a large deposit on a cheaper place.  we could buy a cheaper house but bigger and newer house 45mins away.   but there seems to be more and more bills.

    If we downsized to one car (hard when dh is gone for many hours and I do the errands) and cut back on lots of stuff though we are not fancy.  the second car is our luxury and handy to have plus the fact parents are getting older and need help more and more. 

    Most people who were sahm's here have gone back to work part time. that extra money helps (don't mind the peace at work either!)  housing costs even with renting etc is the main drain here.

    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Hobbies and Crafts
  • 05-26-2008 11:18 AM In reply to

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-10-2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Re: One Income Living in Today's World

    What is happening now is very much like it was in the late 1970's and early 1980's;  during that time my husband and I were young parents and had just sold our first house, and bought the 2nd(1980). By 1983 the economy had inflated so much that we could not live on one income, even with my husband working overtime. He was getting more tired and that overtime income was getting eaten up in taxes. As we had already been living bare bones anyway, the only thing that could be done was for me to get work. I can't say that it made us richer, because it didn't; we then had to start paying for after school child care, plus the extra gas to get 2 cars to work instead of one. But my paycheck did bring in enough that we didn't have to go further into debt just to live, which is the way things were going as the prices on everything jumped up month to month. The pay raises that my husband got never kept up with inflation; it is a sore point for me when I read about people saying that government employees are overpaid, we certainly weren't. We always had to live frugally just to cover basic expenses. Edey

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  • 05-26-2008 11:29 AM In reply to

    Re: One Income Living in Today's World

    We are a one income family and I feel very fortunate that we are able to do so.  It isn't always easy but it's the best course of action for us right now.

    DH has a good salary but not great benefits so we pay quite a bit for health insurance.  If I went back to work, I think the main benefit I could get is better health benefits for us.  Unfotunately though, I am not sure I would make enough money to make it worthwhile after paying for daycare costs.  I think about part time work sometimes though.  I would love to find something to do at home on a part time/on call basis.  A little extra cash would really help out with paying off bills and increasing our savings!  Hard to find jobs like that though.

    I do have a little home business but so far haven't made much money-just really broke even so far.  It's my goal to put more energy into that, even if I could make a couple hundred a month it would be something!

  • 05-26-2008 11:56 AM In reply to

    • rolo
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-04-2007
    • Michigan
    • Posts 1,928

    Re: One Income Living in Today's World

    We are essentially a one income family--I work part time and that income is dedicated to our debt snowball, and various sinking funds. If my income went away we could still afford our current lifestyle and regualr monthly paymnet on the stupid loans (student loans), but would not have extra dollars for a debt snowball or the level of savings we are currently at.  

    It is about the choices made--do we cave to the pressure and supposed need of  new shiny cars, "nice" house, constant stream of spending on "needed" clothing, purses, shoes, decor, makeup, tools, toys, stuff OR do we say we have enough?

    It bothers me when somebody says they can't afford to give, to save, to stay home, yet they both drive new cars on a fleece plan, take summer vacations and spring break vacations, and "have to" buy new clothes frequently.  


    I know what our choice is.  We live off of dh's income, in 800 sq. ft. rental home, drive 2 old paid for cars, give, save, and aggressively paying down debt.

    We COULD pay $500 more for rent to live in a "nice" house, we COULD fleece 2 shiny new cars so we could drive a "nice" car...but we don't.   



    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." ~~ Dalai Lama XIV -

  • 05-26-2008 12:01 PM In reply to

    Re: One Income Living in Today's World

    Create! Repair! Reinvent! Reassess!
  • 05-26-2008 12:24 PM In reply to

    Re: One Income Living in Today's World

    Gigi, I agree with you about the perspective and lifestyle influences for sure.

    It's funny, you mention about men being insulted by wives wanting to work outside the home before the feminist movement.  I have to say that my DH is like that now, he is quite traditional.  If I talk about working outside the home, he does seem to feel a bit like I am implying that he is not making enough money.  I definitely don't feel that way, sometimes just think a little extra would be nice and working would be fun, but he feels like I am saying we don't have enough.  He is more than happy for me to do a little work from home, work on my home business, etc.  He would even support my going back to school for a graduate degree or doing part time work of some sort that interests me once the kids are in school.  But the idea of me going out to work now and putting the kids in daycare seems to trigger that kind of old fashioned notion that he is not providing well enough for us.  I wonder if many other men still feel this way or if he is in the minority here?

    Interesting, my dad was/is very much like this too . . . I guess it's true that you marry your father!!

  • 05-26-2008 1:10 PM In reply to

    Re: One Income Living in Today's World

    We live comfortably on one income.   The two kids have everything they need, it may not be all that they want, but heck, that's life.  The bills all get paid, although less goes into liquid savings at this time.  Even with the prices climbing so high, we don't feel deprived.  Maybe it's because we've always lived modestly and have always watched ourselves.

  • 05-26-2008 11:56 PM In reply to

    Re: One Income Living in Today's World

    Our cars are old and paid for.  DH job loss started a debt problem which is part why we need more money.   Renting is about the same as owning our house at this point except for the fact that we wouldn't have the whole house to ourselves.   Dh has lots of great qualities but waking up to certain facts of life takes a long time like that one salary isn't going to cut it and we need to earn more. (he has a hard time changing)  Dh can earn lots more then me.    Also having two kids with little sleep doesn't help the energy levels plus helping out family and neighbours in their time of need.

    hopefully though with the changes we are making now. things are looking up.  

      I wouldn't worry about a job yet. The one that suits you will come along. It did with me. I had a good one but now I have a great one.  My new job is great with flexible hours that let me work around kids and family. I only wanted to work 10 - 12hrs a week and I do. My boss does the same with flex time with family but her kids are older.  so no hassles about values there. plus I can work more hours in the future when the kids are older and still be there for them.

    When I was laid off from my previous job I was so upset but it turns out to be the perfect stepping stone to this one.  It looks like we have a fulltime student next year so a steady income there.   so things are turning around.   hopefully my fil will be well soon and then everything will be whole.


    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Hobbies and Crafts
  • 05-27-2008 7:00 AM In reply to

    • Walt34
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 12-17-2007
    • WV eastern panhandle
    • Posts 1,400

    Re: One Income Living in Today's World

    We are currently living on one retirement income and have been for almost six years now. As Gigi noted there are a lot more "things" to buy that didn't even exist when we were growing up, like the GPS car navigation device (which we enjoy!) but we could do without if we had to. The trick is deciding what is important and what is not, and realizing that we can't have everything we want. Some people "need" that two-week expensive vacation every year, or multiple smaller ones throughout the year, like one SIL.

    We have two newer vehicles (5 years old) that we bought new, are paid for, which we plan to keep until "the wheels fall off". But that purchase was planned eight or ten years before it was made. No impulse buying in this house! (well, maybe a package of cookies once in a while...). DW and I started working when we were about 13 (me mowing lawns, she baby sitting) and are savers, not spenders. We don't have a home theater system, we don't have a nice music system, we don't take long or pricey vacations, the last time we paid for a hotel room was about four years ago, restaurant meals maybe twice a month, we don't go shopping as a form of entertainment, etc.

    But we have no debt, and some savings/investments that will hopefully be enough to tide us over any rough spots ahead.

    We did each work for years to get there, we avoided credit card debt like the plague, the only loans were for a house and cars (the wisdom of which is debatable) and lived within our means. What we do have is good health and all the we want time to spend with friends and family. And that's more important - to us - than anything money can buy.

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Money Management
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