When people ask what I do for a living and I say, “I’m a stay at home mom,” they usually reply with, “Oh- well aren’t you lucky.”

I get what they’re saying, but I hate the term lucky. Yes, I am blessed with this opportunity. I try every day to not take it for granted. I know a lot of mothers wish that they could be home, raising their children full-time. I love that I am able to invest all of my time into my daughter. And I’m thankful for it.

With that being said, it isn’t easy living off of one income and being a family of three, plus a dog the size of a ten year old kid. It takes a lot of work. We didn’t plan for me to not return to work until about halfway through my maternity leave. We took a long look at our budget and stretched it, making things work.

We live comfortably. We don’t have excess. But I’m happy with that. I’d rather have memories than “stuff”.

I wanted to share some tips on how we make things work and still enjoy our life. Because really, I want you all to enjoy yours too.

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one|| ADJUST. Once we decided I wasn’t going to be going back to work we started living off of N’s income right then and there. It was good practice while we still had a bit of a safety net since I was still on my paid maternity leave. It gave us a taste of what it would be like and how we would need to adjust.

two|| THE BUDGET. I keep an excel spreadsheet of all of our monthly bills and the dates that they are due. I plan ahead about four months and delegate enough from each paycheck to cover the bills in that pay-period. What is left is spread between paying off debt and cash in our pocket.

three|| LIVE OFF CASH, LOSE THE CREDIT. In order to make our efforts to pay down our debt fruitful and not futile, we hardly ever use our credit card or line of credit. Sometimes things happen and we need to, but for day-to-day spending we stick to cash. You’ll spend less money if you use dollar bills and not plastic cards.

four|| GROCERY PLANNING. I didn’t start doing this until a few months ago, and I wish I started this when N and I first got married! We save probably close to $200 a month by not eating out on weeknights. If I plan our meals ahead of time I am more likely to cook. Planning ahead takes out that last minute panic that we all dread. When we grocery shop we know exactly what we need for our meals and are able to choose accordingly. That saves us money right there- no throwing random food into our cart hoping that it could cook itself into a meal!

five|| FIND A HOBBY THAT PAYS. Okay, I have yet to really get into this one. But my husband has! He loves hockey (we’re Canadian after all) so in the winter he refs games. He loves it, skating is a workout, and it pays!

six|| TITHE. How can we reap if we don’t sow? N and I notice an increase of blessing (monetary and otherwise) when we diligently and regularly tithe.

I realize some of these suggestions a lot of you may be doing already, and that’s great! Part of my mission is to encourage and inspire women, and I hope this does that. Oh and for the record, I searched high and low to find a nice jovial family pic of all of us for this post… there isn’t a single one of us since H’s newborn pictures. She’s almost a year old!

If you have some specific questions for me regarding anything that I’ve mentioned, feel free to shoot off an email! You can contact me here.

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11 Responses to “Becoming a Single Income Family”

  1. Renee Hemmerling says:

    Ashlyn,
    I really enjoyed reading this post! Thank you for all of the advice that you put forward. This day and age mothers are made to feel guilty no matter what decision they make, whether it is staying home or working. It is so nice to see that you stand firmly by your decision and back it up with reasons why.
    God Bless,
    R

    • Ashlyn says:

      Hey Renee! Thanks for your support. It has been tough dealing with a lot of stereotypes of being a SAHM, but I know it is the best thing for us. And… we enjoy our decision!

      • Renee Hemmerling says:

        You are most welcome! Stereotypes can be very hard to deal with, but we can make it through with God’s help! Thank you and keep up the good work!

  2. Brittany Hadely says:

    Love this post! Dave and I have been discussing whether I want to go back after my mat leave or not. I really want to but I have this guilt about staying home. I have received so many comments from individuals asking me why I would stay home and waste my degree. I think this is such an unfair comment. I loved reading this and feeling like I am not alone if I do decide to stay home. :)

    • Ashlyn says:

      It is really interesting when you think about how women staying home to raise children used to be the norm. Nothing is wrong with it! Your degree will still be useful when you decide to go back, if you do. Motherhood is such an amazing experience. It needs to be enjoyed and not rushed! I’m excited for you, Brittany.

  3. Cindy Medrano says:

    I LOVE this!
    Being a one income family is not easy but very doable. I love your tips! Tithing is an absolute must, you are so right! It’s giving God back just a little of ALL he gives us. I feel SO BLESSED to be able to be home with my kiddos. :)

  4. lea says:

    these are really great! i’m hoping one day in the near future, we will be able to do so. praying!

  5. Alpana Deo says:

    Ashlyn, wonderful post. Enjoyed reading it. I can relate myself to all the points you have mentioned. In fact I too believe in the notion of ‘appreciating what you feel is right’. We cannot stop others from saying what they say. If you feel what you are doing is right for that moment and situation..just do it. If you have the ability to peruse your dream then nothing can stop you.
    I loved when you said that you feel blessed that you are able to spend lots of memorable moments with your daughter and trying not to take your day for granted by planning ahead of time.

  6. Anna says:

    I loved reading this! I am dying to be a stay at home mom. These tips will help me I am sure. My husband only brings in about 600 every 2 weeks and I hve been the soul bread winner. So it has been so hard to cut down on things.

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