Two Living on One Income

United States
March 22, 2009 12:45pm CST
Times are really tough as we know too well. Jobs come jobs go. We are down to one income now. We have managed with less. A few days ago I made a list of all of our bills. Our bills left us with about $120 a month for food (if we didn't have to pay car insurance). So the next task was to eliminate some of the bills. We did pare down the cable/internet to less than half of what we were paying. We pay $27 a month for trash removal. By obtaining a sticker at our town office to use the dump we can save at least $15 or more by bringing the trash to the dump. This of course involves a bit of recycling and composting. With a little effort we could do this. Our phone is through Vonage. It saves us quite a bit of money so we are keeping that. Our cell phones will go the wayside. Even using a pay as you go phone isn't reasonable. Why have it if you really don't need it? No longer do we dine out or grab fast food. My shopping habits have changed as well. No more prepared meals. I was bringing Lean Cuisine meals to work with me. Now I will bring more sandwiches and leftovers. Chicken has become the main choice for protein. You can use it in a variety of ways and never grow tired of it. Well, at least I won't. I love chicken. We are using more canned and frozen vegetables as opposed to fresh. When warmer weather comes we are hoping to plant a small vegetable garden. Green beans, yellow beans, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, and perhaps a row or two of corn will be amongst the vegetables I hope to plant. Our yard will not support the garden that I would love to have so we will have to use other means. Community gardens are one way to have a garden. Another way would be to ask a family member for use of their yard. We are asking our landlord for the use of a space that isn't occupied and is not in use. I believe that he won't have a problem with this because he won't need to mow the grass! No longer do we toss out things we don't need. If there is a possibility of making a buck or two on something I am keeping it and putting it in a tag sale this spring. I also hope to start making some craft items and baked goods to and setting up a table at a local flea market every-other-weekend. This will bring in a few bucks. You never know what will happen from one day to the next. Don't ever think "it won't happen to me" because it can happen without notice. The one thing to remember is not to let it get you down. Tomorrow is another day, and where there is a will....there is a way.
7 people like this
17 responses
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
22 Mar 09
I know that it can happen. three children almost jobless and the other oner may be jobless in 5 weeks. I admire you so much because you have devised a plan on how to cope and you are going with it. Planting fresh veggies is great and remember to plant potatoes in tyres too. I wish you everything that is gpood and know that you will get through this bad time. God Bless
3 people like this
• United States
22 Mar 09
Thank you Cynthiann. Times are really tough and having the experience of it happening once or twice before helps.
2 people like this
• China
23 Mar 09
yes ,maybe there would be a way for us to live on. we've lived for 5 year on the situation of "2 living on one income". we have only about $600 total income each month, and we have to bring up our kids and other stuffs. there is nothing would been left any more. but we must keep on for no reason but only for living, just living.
2 people like this
@MsTickle (24994)
• Australia
25 Mar 09
Good grief! That's only $150 a week! How can you afford Internet and a computer? How do you pay bills and eat as a family with so little...I'm simply astounded.
1 person likes this
• China
25 Mar 09
well, it's truth. we're in developing country. the income for us three is not the lowest in the society. maybe our income equivalent in USdollars is low, but that can make us live on without saving any. and also because the commodity price is not too high, for example, internet fee for a month is about $15, so we can afford it. we have no choice but find ways to earn more. that's it! thank you for you response.
1 person likes this
@brendalee (6083)
• United States
23 Mar 09
Tom and I have been living on one income for awhile now. But I do make about $100 a month with all my online stuff. That money usually pays for extra stuff like gifts and things we don't really need. But lately it has been going towards bills. Luckily we own our home so there isn't any rent but we do have to pay taxes. Tom might be losing his job again real soon and I am not sure what we will do. Finding a job nowadays is almost impossible. As you know, I am also thinking of planting a garden. Good luck with yours and I hope your situation improves soon.
2 people like this
• United States
23 Mar 09
You do quite well with your online earnings. Sadly I don't do so well. If I had to rely on the money I make online I would be destitute. I hope that Tom will be able to keep his job. Big huggers to you.
@brendalee (6083)
• United States
23 Mar 09
I only do so well because I am on the computer almost the whole time I am awake. It gets boring sometimes. Big huggers right back to you.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Mar 09
You have covered a lot of good areas. You may want to consider going to a farm produce stand or buying from a local farmer for fresh fruits or vegetables. How about even going to a farm that lets you pick your own produce. I love my dehydrator and canning. I like to buy what is on sale and stock up on that item until the next sale. This works really good with paper products and cleaning supplies. I can save $48 per year just on laundry soap. For lunches that you make yourself, you can get creative and have a better lunch than you used to have. Pre-pack a salad. Buy some wraps and stuff them with all types of meats, cheeses, veggies. Bake some of your own cookies and sweets. Yummmmmmmm. Share them with others at work. If you like to read and don't want to spend the money on books, etc., the library is your friend and you can even put books on hold through the internet in most parts of the United States. You can also rent free movies (just make sure that you are checking out free movies and not the ones they charge for)! You are doing a great job and will definitely enjoy the rewards.
• United States
23 Mar 09
I will more than likely eat my fair share of pbj's for the next few months. I do bake from scratch and that saves me quite a bit of money. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. I buy books at the Goodwill store for .75 cents each and often get them when they have a BOGO sale! The books will be sold at a tag sale this spring or summer.
@Polly1 (12648)
• United States
22 Mar 09
Very good ideas here, sorry to hear that you are down to one income again. I have been poor all my life and know how to live poor. I think most of us are doing what we can to cut expenses. We are living in some tough times, we got thru it before. we will again. Take care and I hope things get better for you.
2 people like this
• United States
23 Mar 09
There have been times when I have been a bit more prosperous and times when I was pinching pennies and robbing Peter to pay Paul. At present time I am pinching pennies and keeping my fingers crossed. Makes it hard to type though!
@HelloMickey (1663)
• Hong Kong
22 Mar 09
You are so positive. I had same experience 5 years ago. Two livings on one income. I don't deny I was definitely frustrated at that moment. But I have learnt to think and act positively as long as life endures. Thanks for the encouragement. Good luck.
• United States
22 Mar 09
You've got to remain positive or the negativity will suck you in.
1 person likes this
@punlonnjack (1309)
• United States
23 Mar 09
We are living on one income as well and trust me its not enough.It is a fixed income that will not change.The bills keep getting higher and im running out of ways to rob peter to pay pal. I just decided yesterday to start looking for a job.I havnt been working because im disabled.I have a mental illness and back problems.Ive been fighting disability for two years but they force you to give up and work.We just cant wait for them anymore.We are tired of not having the things we need to live.I will be in pain with my back when i work but at least we will be able to pay our bills.
@teka44 (3425)
• Brazil
22 Mar 09
Hi Elusive. I agree with you totally. And you are doing well surely. In the past people don't had cell phones nor many things we have now and they lived. Now we are living hard times so why not start to do some things that we really can do but never did only because laziness. And I think that you will enjoy the garden and the vegetables you will grow up. It will be get both, the useful and the pleasing. Good luck and have a nice weekend.
2 people like this
@SomeCowgirl (32266)
• United States
23 Mar 09
My fiance and I are basically on one income. I've said that so many times here I'm not sure if I said it to you or not. We don't have to worry about bills right now because we live with my fiance's parents. We are saving as much as we can and each day I keep thinking of a goal for me to get to a month. I guess I really need some guidance on budgeting and making as much as I can here on mylot. Times are very tough, and people are losing their jobs left and right, every day! We don't have a job, not sure If I've said that to you before or not either. We tried to garden last year but the wild animals ate everything, I guess we need to start researching on how to keep them away, a friend of ours suggested racoon pee, not sure if that will work for all animals though. I hope that you continue to save!
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Mar 09
I am a little concerned about rabbits eating the veggies in the garden. But, I am willing to give it a try.
@busyB4 (875)
• United States
20 Apr 09
It sounds like you are doing a great job and could teach others how to save also!! One other thing here in the US you might be interested in is Angelfoodministries.com . They have hosts - usually churches who help others by being able to buy food in bulk, so you can get a weeks worth of groceries for a family of four for $30!! Check out their website and it will give you the months menu and you can type in your zip code to find if there is a host near you. It really helped us out for a good while. Our host no longer is doing it and I just havent gotten lined up with a new one yet. They also have toher boxes you can buy . You have to preorder and pay for the food in advance and then it comes inusually the last Saturday of the month. Another thing might be to invest in a clothes line and hang your clothes out to dry. This can save extra also. My nirghbor uses shredded irish spring soaps around the bottom of her plants to keep the wild animals away.
@GardenGerty (104423)
• United States
23 Mar 09
My question is "What is your husband doing to help with the reduced income?" Are you sure he will not become re employed? I know you can cope for awhile, I have know you long enough on here to know that you do cope, and you do survive. Three cheers to all the survivors on MyLot.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Mar 09
Ha! Good question. He is fighting tooth and nail about having to take the trash to the dump and doing the recycling! He has readied a spot in the backyard for a garden bed. Unfortunately he will not be hired back. But, I am hopeful that after his hands heal from surgery that he will find something.
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
23 Mar 09
Sounds like you have all your ducks in a row!!! Good for you! Back in the olden days this is how they lived all the time! Good luck to you...
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Mar 09
I have been living in the olden days for most of my life. Not a bad place...just can be a bit rough.
@bing28 (3798)
• Philippines
23 Mar 09
Getting positive and making ways to cope up, those are very good actions in this time of crisis, adding little prayers and faith in God will make it perfect.
@lingli_78 (12844)
• Australia
23 Mar 09
i know how hard it will be to live on one income in this kind of economic condition... it will be very very tough... me and my hubby are both working full time and we are still struggling to save some money each month to have a baby... also, to have a little bit of entertainment and holiday... take care and have a nice day...
1 person likes this
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
27 Dec 09
we are in the same boat you are and have been doing pretty much everything you do. we eat a lot of soup during the winter and make our own bread too. i also really like chicken and we get it from a poultry farmer (much cheaper than the stores!) we also visit the library a lot! (about once a week) to get books, dvds and other things for free!! we dont have to pay for garbage pick up but we are limited to one bag which calls for a great deal of recycling. we also dont have cell phones.
@KrauseHome (35514)
• United States
6 Jul 09
This is some very Good words of advice for sure especially when things continue to increase in price without really seeing a jump in more jobs available out there, or increase in income. A lot of people are really beginning to feel the pinch for sure. We have been trying to find ways to have more left overs for me to take for lunch instead of the Frozen dinners as well, as it is cheaper and more convenient for sure. Wishing you the Best.
@Shaun72 (15968)
• Palatka, Florida
6 Jul 09
These are a lot of great ideas. On saving money. Thanks for sharing.
@peavey (16866)
• United States
30 Jun 09
Sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on it! We lived on one income most of my married life and sometimes it got pretty tough. We chose to do that, though, because we homeschooled, were heavy into gardening and so on. A garden can make a lot of difference if you put up produce for winter. Jars and canning equipment can sometimes be had for free or very cheap and garage sales and you can dehydrate with the sun, so it won't cost much to put up food for later.