Single Income Living

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The best tip I can give about living on one income would probably be this one. When our daughters were small, we decided that it was important for me to be at home taking care of them every day, especially after we took the cost of child care into consideration. Any money I made would have gone to pay for someone to raise my children while I worked. That was quite a thought and we quickly rejected the idea of me working.


I am happy to say that our children are grown and though we have had to do without some things, it was worth it to pinch pennies and do without some to have had the pleasure and blessings of raising my children and being with them every day. There's nothing worth more than your children!

By Robin

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June 5, 20160 found this helpful

When my 3 older children were preschoolers, I baby sat for working moms, watching 3 to 5 extra toddlers. My girls loved it, as they had friends to play with. I often joked that we paid our home off with baskets of dirty diapers. Back then, I got less than a dollar an hour per child, but then, our house payments on our beautiful old craftsman-style home were only $150 a month! Almost every penny I made went toward extra principle payments and our home was paid off in just a few years, not decades.

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June 5, 20160 found this helpful

When my 3 girls were not yet in school, I started a small day care in our home...almost every penny earned went to extra principle on our little home. Sold that one, put most of our profit into another one, continued to babysit and use extra to pay down that mortgage. 3rd home, more profit $ went into larger down paymenton it...


a big, older, beautiful, farm type home, lots of room to do day care. Got that home paid for in less than 4 years. Still see or hear from many of the kids I used to babysit for, and my girls are still friends with them. Very tiring but very precious times, back then. G'ma Mary

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February 18, 2005

I would like to see information about being frugal and single at the same time. I have a part-time job and live alone. I have to grocery shop at a food bank. I need easy and frugal recipes for 1.


How to make ends meet better and how to stretch the dollar. All the frugal sites address people living on 2 full time salaries.


February 12, 20050 found this helpful

Do you have a printer with your computer?
If so take some time to review this site
There are many many ideas here
If you can cook Never bye meals for one.
Make them for your next days lunch beside your dinner.
Grocery shop at discount food places or surplus food
you own a car ?
If you do consider keeping it in your driveway unless you can justify 3 or 4 errands to use it.
Entertainment just Plain Radio stations,No cable tv,Watch local channels.
Cd's borrow them from your friends Be sure to return them when you say you will.
Electricity Either switch to Flurecent screw in lightbulbs or cut you lights back to 40 and 60 watts


You need to work or read set up a table near a window At night put a lamp right on that table,
Heating ? keep your thermostat back in the winter . No Air conditioning in the summer
Newspaper Magazines ? read on Computer Or go to Library.
By the way allot of libraries also have music and movies to lend out besides books
Water ?
Showrers and Baths? They need not be hot Warm is fine. You can get generic shampoos and soaps at dollar stores
Towels , blankets Sheets Curtains all at places like Salvation army or other places like it.
You can buy good clothes there if you aren't and odd size.
Nature. If you get stir crazy around your place. Go out for a walk take your time and notice everything ,because it is all free.

Smoking ?
Make your cigarettes last
Make them treats only to celebrate something.
I make a pack last 7 days sometimes 8.
Go to a dollar store buy a bottle of Acetaminophen


A bottle of vapo rub full colds in winter
a small tube of first aid cream, also peroxide a box of regular band aids
Sewing ? Dollar store Spare buttons needles and thread
Games? Tablet, pencil pack of playing cards .
Telephone ? No ideas but get a calling card when you can afford it .Your messages left at neighbors or local family
Mail and postage?
Spend a couple dollars if you plan on staying in the area for a post office box. This way you mail will be there days after if necessary.
Postage The bills you can pay locally do it. Pay them in person.
Banking If you are lucky enough to find a bank that you only pay for to buy your check Go for it as long as there are no must have in the account limits.
I have such a bank Got 17 dollars in mine right now.
Free stuff? It is called Free Cycle Find in on the web and join it There is no charge and you can get most anything as long as you first give something away you don't need.

Extra Money? Consider Flea marketing as soon as it gets warmer.
find auctions to go to bid on box lots that only go for a couple dollars .
A old tablecloth on the ground 15 bucks rent and you could pick up a hundred bucksor more for 6 hours work
More if you merchantdise is not common
Flea Marketing gets you out You meet many people even find and make friends
Plus if you are one of the last people to leave you can buy allot of stuff cheap off other sellers
Yep I did most all these Still do I am married lol
Good Luck

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By Rita (Guest Post)
February 13, 20050 found this helpful

I cook things like a pot of vegetable soup, pot of stew, a ham, things that make enough servings to last most of the week. It may seem you are spending a lot on that one item to prepare, but in the long run, you do save. As for a ham, then when I have cut off most of the ham, I then cut up what is left, put it in a big pot with the hambone(for flavor), add cabbage, corn, and butterbeans, and you have made another meal that will last a while. I think this is the secret to spending little on meals and still be nourished properly. I don't know your age, but working full time may be an option...or doing like so many, use some of that time when not working to scour yard sales to find things to resell. Don't use your gas and your money renting a table for a day or two. Instead, put your things on ebay and you will make some more income. Another thing is bartering. Do you have something that you do well, something that others might like to have, like sewing, painting, making things that you might barter to a local grocer....You may even find one that will give you a few hours work in exchange for food rather than pay. The less you use your car for doing these things, the more money you have for food.. The very best to you...

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February 14, 20050 found this helpful

Go to They have some of the best ideas and recipes I've ever seen.

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By vicky hunt (Guest Post)
February 15, 20050 found this helpful

I suggest that you go online to EBAY and sell things..I just put some movies,VHS and DVD's on there..Last week I sold all but 3,and made quiet a small fortune,considering how long I had the movies.Alot of them I pd only $5 for at wal mart,put them on EBAY and made double my money on each one..SMART!!! E bay charges,.$.05 per movie,and $.25 yo use thier stock photo of movies.....
I just put some more on there and it cost me $17.00,but 3 movies have been bid on and more than pays for that!!! I have 25 movies left for someone to bid on,and its a 7 day auction!!! So,this is a great idea!!!
Have your own yard sale.....your junk is someone elses' treasure....
Buy powdered milk!! It last SO MUCH LONGER....
Make a huge pot of Spagheti sauce,it freezes well,and last up to 2 months in freezer!!!
Exchange movies or Dvds with a freiend or neighbor.....
you can make ALOT of your cleaners at home.I have a ton of recipes for this..If your interested email

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February 15, 20050 found this helpful

I had a similar situation when I was living on $800 a month.

I rented a room in a house for $300 including utilities, spent about $50 a week on food, and my old car, plus gas, maintenance, and insurance cost about $160 a month. That left $140 a month for things like the phone bill, a $30 a month gym membership (I had really bad back problems and needed to strengthen my lower back), a post office box, and varies sundries (stamps, etc.)

My best advice is to avoid trying to make very little money pay for lots of things, but to reduce the number of things you need to pay for. I don't know your medical or other personal needs, but there are well-woman clinics that are free (if you're female) for your annual exams.

You could also:
*not have a phone or internet and use a laptop at a wireless internet cafe.
* have a weekly potluck with your friends. Most people will leave behind the leftovers which can provide free food for another day or two.
* rent a room in a house instead of your own place as it's usually less expensive. Or rent out a two-bedroom apartment and rent the master bed/bath for more than half the total rent. That would lower the cost in my area to about $250 a month for you.
* get a low-income bus pass and take public transport to work (where I live that pass costs about $15 a month I think)
* if you have a significant little chunk regularly, pay for something really nice for yourself, like I had the gym membership out of need but I LOVED the steam room and really treated myself with a good steam everytime I went.
* barter where you can. In Alaska, I worked 5 hours a week in the local laundromat in exchange for doing laundry for free and weekly showers for me and my kids. (most of us did not have running water)
* if you have a place for a homemade reflective solar cooker, you can bake cornbread, cook rice, etc. for an intial investment of an old box and some foil, a couple of oven cooking bags and thrift store black pot.
* if you pay for water, don't flush everytime you go...also dishwashers use more water (9-16 gallons) and electricity than washing your dishes in hot soapy water once a day. I often turn off my hot water heater at night and turn it back on in the morning. Unplug TVs and other "instant-on" appliances when not in use. It will save a few pennies. Never turn on lights when daylight will do. Set your computer to sleep when not in use. Better yet, get rid of it and use the one at the library!
* if you have a good sized vehicle, offer to clean garages for a low rate and offer to haul away the stuff they don't want. You can sell some stuff at a yard sale and donate the rest.

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By Becki in Indiana (Guest Post)
February 17, 20050 found this helpful

You don't say what type of work you do, but here is a suggestion: get a job (either in addition to, or instead of your present job) at a place that sells food -- whether a fancy sit-down restaurant, or a fast -food burger joint. Virtually every eating establishment gives their employees the fringe benefit of eating either free or at a discount, before or after their work shift. Especially since you have nobody else to feed, this might make a huge difference to your budget!

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By sandy (Guest Post)
February 19, 20050 found this helpful

i am the one who wrote the original post. i do have some illnesses that have prevented me from working part time for a year. now that i am working parttime i hope to move up to full time or get a 2nd part time job. i own my condo so thank God for that. i already am at bear minimum. the soup idea is good.right now i have several containers of soup and spagetti sauce in freezer.
i yard sale already.
i have stuff to sell i just dont know how much to sell it all for. i am in process of finding out values of things and furniture.
thank you

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February 19, 20050 found this helpful

Another thought is if you can't afford to shop at thrift stores, go and talk to the manager or owner. Maybe they'd let you work a few hours a day or week in exchange for some clothes, pots & pans, dishes, glassware, etc. Best of Luck to you!

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By hawaiiansnowlion (Guest Post)
February 7, 20060 found this helpful

More tips: go veg if possible at least a few days per week(meat is expensive) and see if there is a natural foods store or co-op in your area where you can buy staples(beans, pasta, oatmeal, etc.) in bulk. Buy a slow cooker(a good investment) and make soups and stews based on cheap, healthy ingredients(lentils, beans, carrots, potatoes). Split the cost of a Costco/Sam's membership with a friend or relative, buy bulk sizes of items there and split them between the two of you. If you enjoy going to the movies, go during the day(bargain matinee) or on designated discount days instead of night.

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By Sharon (Guest Post)
April 5, 20060 found this helpful

Use coupons and rebates, shop at stores that double and triple coupons. There were many times when I would get alot of good things for free (except for sales tax), example: In March, one of our stores had a Frozen Food sale. I was able to buy Toaster Strudles for 7 cents a box. There were other times when I was able to buy 2 liter bottles of Dr. Pepper for 4 cents a bottle. Just keep looking for the sales and newspapers. Speaking of newspapers, see if your newspaper has a special. In my town, we recently had a special for a discount for an entire year. The cost of the newspaper (Sunday paper) we $1.25 a week. If you go to the store, it would cost $2.00 a week.

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January 18, 2000

This page is for discussing living on a single income. If you are doing this or have done this in the past and have advice for living on one income please share you experiences below.


February 18, 20050 found this helpful

If I were younger and wanting to be a stay at home mom with my baby, I would consider babysitting for a couple working moms. In most areas, you can sit with 2 or 3 without a daycare license. Check in your area. The start up for this home business would not be a lot. Or take a job in a day care center where they will let you bring your child. It will save you the expense of daycare for your baby while you are working and you will be able to spend more time with the child
Harlean from Arkansas

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By auntdarween (Guest Post)
February 21, 20050 found this helpful

Dear Debbie,
There is nothing on this earth more precious than your own baby & you've waited all your life for her. It is heartbreaking for you to have to go out to a job leaving baby with a caregiver. No matter how wonderful the caregiver is, the fact remains SHE is watching your baby grow and getting paid for it. SHE has YOUR BABY AND YOUR hardearned MONEY!! [I've been where you are sweetie].
Go to an office supply store and purchase a pad of job applications, fill out a dozen or so, then go thru the phone book, make a list of all the churches, then mail an application to each one for the position of nursery worker. You will get paid & will get to take your child with you. Do a really good job and at Christmas time, you will be rewarded with many blessings from grateful parents.
Also, check around for a home care giving situation where you can help out. There are many elderly and/or disabled people needing help with housework, laundry, cooking, rides to doctor appts, etc... Most will welcome a small child's company while you are working for them, as they are lonely and miss their own families.
Take a deep breath and just DO It - whatever it takes to be able to stay home with your baby, they grow up sooooo fast, this time together will be gone in a flash & can never be brought back. God will bless your efforts & devotion to your family & will bless you some how some way so that you can do it. Good Luck & God Bless You & Yours....

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November 20, 2016

This is a page about single senior on a limited budget. When you are on your own, buying just the right amount of food to eat well can be challenging.

A senior woman discussing her finances with her daughter.

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