Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« Save the Most on Groceries in the Least Amount of Time | Main | Trusts and Wills Defined, Part 1: What is a Will? »

July 06, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

My wife and I made this adjustment a couple years ago with the birth of our second son and have not regretted it since. My wife is a school teacher by profession but really wanted to stay home to raise our little ones (we have three now)until they go off to school.

It didn't come easy though. I just assumed we would always have a dual income and didn't see us doing anything differently. However, after factoring the cost of daycare in for our children and the misc expenses associated with my wife working outside of the home, it made financial sense for us to have her be with our kids and take a break from the career.

Over the years we have continued to live frugally so that we can maintain a single income household and afford the opportunity for our children to be home during those most important developmental years. My wife has even helped us to maintain a budget by mastering coupons and learning the art of discount shopping (grocery, clothes, etc..)

I anticipate that we will be able to continue this financial trend in our household. I can honestly say that I would not have it any other way. (definitely a different opinion than what I had going into the situation.)


The bonus of having a 2 income household move back to a 1 income household is that the unemployment rate will plummet as the number not in the labor market will drop.

It could be the golden solution that Obama has been blindly stumbling in the dark for! Change you can believe in my friend!


I'd say that living on one income is absolutely doable (we're doing it). For many military families moving frequently makes it difficult for the non-military spouse to find and maintain a traditional job. However, one issue I have noticed is that frequently the stay-at-home spouse will spend money that they otherwise wouldn't to fend off boredom.

We went from a two person income to a zero person income, but that was 18 years ago, and it's called "retirement". That's the best situation there is if you have prepared for it.

We made the decision to go from two to one income when I was pregnant with our first child 14 years ago. Three kids later, we are still on one income. My husband was laid off a year ago from his job and is now self employed. Our income has been drastically reduced, but we managed to make it work with me still being able to stay home with the kids. My youngest is in kindergarten which is only half days and we figured out that if I was to go to work, I would still have to pay for part time daycare for her and that would still eat my income. Although he is working from home, he wouldn't be able to give her the time and attention she needs. We went over our expenses, called our cable company to ask what they could do for us to reduce our bill. They were able to knock 20.00 off. I called my bank and modified our mortgage to something we can manage and view the weekly grocery store fliers and purchase what is on sale. My grocery bill is about 50.00 less now. We saved enough money the first year that I was able to buy season passes to a local amusement park that paid for itself in two visits already.
Living on one income can be done. One just has to earn how to be creative and learn how to get the best bang for your buck. It is actually a fun and creative challenge.

I would also like to add that we haven't regretted once to stay home with our kids. Why have them if you're not going to raise them?

We are not living on one income yet, but we are planning to in the future. Our debt is definitely a big factor for not already being on one income. If we were not in debt, my wife probably would have quit her job a few years ago and we would have started having kids already.

I agree with Reasonable as we are in similar circumstances. My wife stopped working when she was pregnant and the military moved us. That was seven years ago and we have not looked back. Due to our military circumstances, her career options were limited (she was strating anew every two to three years). Money has never been the issue. The biggest issue for us has been the isolation as feared by your author. There are very few stay at home moms these days so she often finds herself needing to talk to another adult in a similar circumstance.

How to go from a 2-person income to a 1-person income? Easy!

Have your husband leave you and get a divorce.

Being blindsided by divorce is the "foreclosure epidemic" for an awful lot of SAHMs.

The divorce rate is 50% and you are fooling yourself if you think there's little chance it could happen to you. If you had a 50% chance to win a million dollars in the lottery, wouldn't you play every day? And yet so many women prefer to ignore the odds and think it will "never" happen to them. They only think about the present and how much they'd like to skip all that work entails etc.

That's the true cost of staying home--& it's huge. You'd think FMF would at least mention it! Oh, and being a born again Christian does not mean that it can't happen to you.

I really liked the comment someone made on a previous post that child care is an investment in the woman's career. That has to be factored in here.

Leaving the workforce for a while costs money later, like when the woman (or father, though it's usually the mother) tries to get a job and is only capable of getting lower paid jobs.

Another military family here. I am due with our first this month and will be staying at home to raise him. Even before deciding to have children, my "job" options in our current location (small town, middle of no where, just out of college) were extremely limited. Our next nearest town is 70 miles away and it isn't any bigger than where we currently live - so no hope of commuting somewhere.

We've been living on one income quite comfortably for almost a year now and plan on continuing to do so. We have a budget we follow closely, but still allow ourselves splurges now and then.

I'm a little put off by MC's implication that SAH(Parents) do so because they want to "skip all that work entails." I don't want to skip working. I've made a joint decision with my husband to work in my home as a parent, all around housekeeper and support person.

You didn't even touch the idea that a woman might want to go back to work someday. Guess that never occurred to you.

Obviously, this matters more in some careers than others.

MC is exactly right! Women who follow their heart and stay home in an attempt to take better care of their children are taking a huge gamble by putting themselves in an extremely vulnerable situation. The results can end up being a major sacrifice of her financial security (and perhaps even her children's).

Most people get married believing that it won't happen to them, but the high divorce rate is evidence that situations can - and do - change. It takes BOTH spouses putting forth the same degree of effort to make it last. The problem is that some humans do unpredictable things.

And when one spouse has made up their mind that it's over, regardless of the consequences or repercussions on other family members (especially during a lousy economy like this one), the rejected spouse has little control and is unlikely to change their spouse's mind.

"A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still."
-- Andrew Carnegie

This decision is a question of lifestyle design...what kind of lifestyle do you want, and how do you want to fund it?

When our first child was born 13 years ago, my wife and I made the decision that she should stay home full-time. We've never regretted that decision.

I think it was the writings of Larry Burkett (back in the mid-90's) and Amy Dacyczyn (author of The Tightwad Gazette) who helped us to weigh the financial costs and make some adjustments to our budget and spending habits in order to make it work.

I worked extra jobs at first to help us with the transition. But looking back, we don't recall any kind of hardship. And it's not because we had a high income. I was working as a street missionary doing homeless crisis intervention...surviving on donations that people made to our ministry, and doing other jobs on the side to pay the bills.

Somehow, it worked. And now, with 5 kids ages 4-13, whom we home school, we're glad mom is home...and we're hoping that one day dad can be home too!

Lifestyle can be a major factor. Going on lavish vacations , new cars, etc. can be out if you are on one income. You may have to sacrifice other things to be on one income and it will be worth it.

I am glad we are back to two incomes for now because the uncertainty of my job is big while the wife's is stable and approaching the college years it is scary. It may come down to being forced on to one income but I know if it happens we can do it. We have planned well and try our hardest to keep stable.

My wife and I are 24, and both make decent money. We have no children, but we are kicking around the idea of each of us working 60%/3 days a week once we do have kids. That way, we could raise our children ourselves (not have to pay someone else to do it) and we also would have time to spend together as a couple and as a family. In addition, we would have the added financial security of not being dependent on only one stream of income.

This seems to be to be a decent way to avoid her sacrificing her future career prospects to raise our children, although it will not be without challenges of its own.

My wife quit working in 2001 so we went to single income. We had our first child in 2004, we now have three children. But even before the kids came along, we found that our stress level as a couple went way, way down when my wife quit working. We no longer had to devote weekends to an endless list of chores that we didn't get done during the week. We had far less car issues to deal with (my commute was short but hers was 25+ miles on a busy city freeway). We ate out a lot less and so probably ate healthier (and much cheaper).

I think this is an important point in this discussion, too.

We're living on one income now. Feels great. Although I don't stay at home with our daughter (she's in school) It is satisfing to know we have cash to do whatever we please. Cash in the bank + no debt = priceless!

We now live on one income. Even when we both worked I was earning 8 times as much as my wife so it was clear that I was the one who needed to keep working.


We made a decision back when we were engaged that when we had kids, I'd stay home with them. We used my income to pay off all of my student loans and the "costs" of me working (nicer wardrobe, gas for the commute, lunches out, etc). Our household budget was based solely on my husband's salary. At the time I quit, I was making about the same as my husband. That was almost 8 years ago. I wouldn't trade anything to go back to work. I homeschool our kids and don't ever plan to have a "real" job again. I have the opportunity to volunteer with our church and just enjoy being around my kids. Yes, there are days that I want to go bonkers, but that is a small price to pay to have the privilege of raising my own kids.

I grew up in a family that had tons of financial hardships. My mom was always able to be there for us, and that has made a huge impression on me. We didn't have the nice things or the nice vacations, but we never went without clothes or without food or without shelter. Mom would babysit kids at our house when we were young. When we were both in school, she went to work part time, so she was home when we left and home when we got home. I am very grateful for my parents' sacrifice.

@MC....Good point about women working as divorce insurance. But here's the tricky thing about that. Families with 2 full time earners are more likely to divorce in the first place. So there is risk in one spouse (usually the woman) staying home. But that has to be balanced against the risk of the spouse (usually the woman) earning a 2nd income. No easy, black-and-white answers here.

@ mysticaltyger:

I think you are right that two full-time workers are more likely to divorce due to stress, traveling -- and then there's the office affair.

very interesting debate going on here, and it obvisouly is a personal decision that is unqiue to each family circumstance. It is importnat to remember that once you leave the workforce, it will become much harder to reenter at a later date, so make sure that your decision is well thought out and you understand the longterm implications of staying home!
Preferred Financial Services

very interesting debate going on here, and it obvisouly is a personal decision that is unqiue to each family circumstance. It is importnat to remember that once you leave the workforce, it will become much harder to reenter at a later date, so make sure that your decision is well thought out and you understand the longterm implications of staying home!
Preferred Financial Services

To address this debate as a woman, I ask myself if I had the opportunity to stay home and raise my children vs. going to work, would I? Even if it meant that someday, in the future, I MAY be divorced from my husband and find it hard to get a job because I've been out of the workforce for a while? Would I give up spending precious time with my babies NOW when I am able to because things may or may not be different in the future? For me, I would never regret for one second spending that time raising my kids instead of working... the future is uncertain no matter what. Why not just focus on what you can do right now?

I was a SAHM for a year. We couldn't afford a single income because of our debt-load (over twice our income). Two thirds of my paycheck goes to work-related expenses. If we accidentally have another child, I'd be handing my entire paycheck to the daycare provider so I'd be forced to stay home.

I don't regret my decision to go back to work one bit. I've noticed I've become a better mother now that I have a place to go where I am more than just "Mommy." That's how I'm wired, but I know there are a lot of women out there who are pining to stay home with their children but can't due to their debt load.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Start a Blog


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.