5 Tips for Transitioning to One Income


If you’ve decided that your family will benefit from having you or your partner at home full time, you know that there will be challenges ahead. In addition to the challenges you’ll face by making the transition from working at a job to working with your home and family full time, there will be financial adjustments, as well. Yet, if you and your partner are both committed to the idea, there are ways to make it work. You just have to know where to start.


Ideally, you’ll make some preparations ahead of time in regard to your family budget before you transition to one income. That’s not always an option, of course, as in many cases it’s a decision that just sort of comes along with life events.


Making the most of living within a family budget on one income means following several principles, including:


  1. Discuss it thoroughly. Talk with your partner about going down to one income. Identify the fears and concerns that you each have. Make sure you’re each on the same page as far as moving ahead. If you’re not in it together, it’s not going to go well overall. Families have broken up over this decision, so be sure you work through it beforehand if at all possible.
  2. Revamp your budget. You’re going to need to identify which items you’ve been accustomed to having that you can go without. There are probably plenty of areas you can cut back if you need to. Here again, communication with your partner and planning are key to making a smooth transition.
  3. Start with the big stuff. You’ll make the most progress when you cut major expenses such as the cost of gas for the second commute and insurance or car payments on the second car.
  4. Learn not to compete with others. Sometimes, the family down the road will have something you’ll really wish your family could afford – and could afford if you had two incomes. Remember why you chose to go to one income, and let those feelings of jealousy and competition go.
  5. Learn to buy used. There are so many things – from clothes to furniture to electronics to appliances – that you can save big money on if you’re willing to buy used. Make the thrift store your friend, and learn how to spot a true find from a rotten lemon someone else already discarded.


So, what about you? Has your family transitioned to one income, or has it ever been brought up for discussion? How do you feel about it, or what advice can you give?


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