How to Quickly Transition to Living on One Income

Quickly transition to living on one income in order to become a stay at home mom or dad by decreasing expenses and maybe earning money from home. 

Five action steps you can take right now to transition from two incomes to living on one income, save money, live frugal and become a stay at home mom. #SAHM

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When we transitioned from two incomes to living on one income, we didn’t have the luxury of time. My husband and I discussed me quitting my job several times, but we just could not come up with a plan to get it done.

Suddenly, we were pregnant with our third child. At the 20 week visit, the one where you usually find out if you are having a boy or a girl, we found out that our daughter would be born with significant cardiac defects.

We quickly found a local support group for parents of children with cardiac issues. I listened for an hour to moms talk about all of the doctors an therapy appointments before I asked the question, “How do you work with all of these appointments?” The answer was a quick, “We don’t.”

We were faced with finding a plan to quickly transition to living on one income. At that point, my job was the highest paying and also provided our health insurance.  We only had 20 more weeks at best to get to the point of living on my husband’s income alone.  There were several key steps that made it possible.

Steps to Transition to Living on One Income

Stop Spending

Stop spending money immediately, on things that are not necessities.  No more eating out, or going to movies or anything that is not absolutely necessary.  No “Last Supper” syndrome, where you go out for one more nice restaurant meal and then you will start saving every penny.  Start now.

The night we came home from the Saving Little Hearts meeting, we made the decision to not spend money on anything we didn’t absolutely need.  We agreed not to purchase even gum at the gas station or coffee from Starbucks if it was not budgeted.  At the end of the next five months, all of those little savings became part of our emergency fund.

Even though we have been living on one income for 13 years now, we will still sometimes initiate a “spending freeze” when we feel like our control of our finances have slipped.

Reduce Expenses

Create a budget binder and take a long hard look at your expenses.  Print your bank statement for the last 60 days and highlight the expenses that are absolutely necessary.  I like to refer to Dave Ramsey’s four walls analogy to remind me of what is absolutely necessary.

List all of the other things you spend money on and ask yourself these questions:

Was this expense absolutely necessary?

Could I have met this need in a less costly way?


When we took inventory of our expenses, we realized that we were spending the majority of our income on our house and vehicles. With a new baby on the way, we really could not sell our house.  However, we could sell at least one of our vehicles and eliminate a car payment.  We didn’t downsize to only having one vehicle, but we did downsize to having only one new vehicle that had a payment.  My husband sold his truck and bought a used vehicle with no payment.

Other items you might sell to eliminate payments and downsize:



Extra/Hobby Vehicles


Eliminate Excess

When we begin to eliminate excess in our homes and lives, we make money and save money.  You might not consider decluttering your home a way to save money, but it really can be.  It will also simplify your cleaning and organizing routines to allow time for making money in other ways!

Have a garage sale

Consign extra clothing

Sell on Ebay or Craigslist

Work from Home

For the first couple of years after our daughter was born, I really had no time or energy to do anything other than take care of her, my family and my home.  About three years after she was born, I had a little more free time and I was able to consider working from home, but I did not want to be tied to a schedule that would not allow my home and family to be my first priority.

Here are a few ways I discovered to earn money from home on my own schedule:

Free Printable Monthly Budget Worksheet





Great action steps for today to transition to living on one income by saving money, living frugal and possibly working from home!



Natural health, homemaking, large family, homeschooling


  1. Prayers for your family and your daughter. With God’s help any financial scenario will work. Glad you have been able to stay home with her.

  2. We did this when I quit my job to stay home with our kids, and after the initial “GASP” we found that it was very do-able and the compensation for staying home with my kids is still rolling in !

  3. My husband will be retiring this summer, I’m already semi-retired and only working one-day per week. Our income will definitely drop off and we are focusing on the changes we need to make, one of which is to declutter and get rid of things. Thanks for sharing your timely post!

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