This ” One Income Family: We Cut Expenses by $7,000/Yr Doing These ” post describes what our family did when we were living as one income family a couple of years ago. This post contains affiliate links/ads. See disclosure policy.
It's a different feeling now that my wife has a job. Now, we can use both incomes or choose the route of saving one spouse's income and let the other be the expense absorber.
Having said that, I can still remember those days like those days were just a week ago when our family of 3 lived as a one income family.
A lot of people I knew didn't believe how we were able to live off well on under a single income, stay within a one income family budget, and/or come out unscathed under what many people call ” one income family stress “.
It may be difficult but not impossible. We were a living proof of that. Up to now, my friends couldn't believe that we survived as a one income family living near the D.C. area, where everything is expensive, on a not-so-generous income.
Many of them still call us, up to this day, a living proof of a family living on one income.
A week or so ago, a reader commented on one of my previous posts. He asked me what we did to cut our expenses so much and still lived a comfortable life.
That post was the How We Live Off Well On Under $31,000/Year.
What I didn't discuss in that post was what we did with what we did back then to cut expenses further or save a little bit of money by not spending what we should have spent.
How We Cut Expenses As A One Income Family
Here are the things we did as a one income family without limiting ourselves to just the bare necessities.
These are things, products, and/or services that we used when we were living on a single income. A lot of them are FREE. Some aren't, but they were invaluable for us during that time and they are still invaluable for us even up to this day.
1. Credit monitoring
Savings amount: $239.76/year
When we were in the process of paying off our debt and after that phase in our lives, we wanted to build our credit because we knew we wanted to have a house of our own.
We valued our credit because it's our oh getting a home loan, car loan, and among others. That mindset is still in us even up to this day.
We knew that we needed to take good care of our credit even if it meant that we monitored it from time to time. That's exactly what we did.
We started with a paid subscription, which cost us around $9.99/mo (so that's $19.98/mo for both of us). It's an expense we thought was worth it until we found a FREE one, that is, Credit Sesame.
Credit Sesame does more than what we paid subscription ever did. Not only did we escape from paying $19.98/mo (that's $239.76 per year) but Credit Sesame also provides us FREE identity theft insurance, FREE credit monitoring, and help line to restore our credit, if it gets compromised.
As you know, Equifax data breach happened. We are lucky that we have an account with Credit Sesame to support us if ever we get affected.
2. Internet purchases
Savings amount: $350.00/year
What I've learned in the past couple of years is that the number of deep discounts that brick and mortar stores offer has continuously decreased.
What I've also learned is that the online retailers have scaled up their promotions to compete with a large base of online retailers. In the same token, I noticed that my wife and I buy more stuff online than in-store.
What we would normally get from the store for 25% off would be 50% off or more online. It's easy to say that we almost always like to purchase online because we get more savings doing that.
It's FREE and it's so easy to use that you don't have to do anything but download and let your computer automatically run it in the background.
Last year alone, it saved us around $350.00, which is equivalent to 2.5 months worth of groceries for us.
3. Automatic/forced Budgeting
Savings amount: $175.00/year
I am such an advocate of budgeting.
I believe that regardless of one's income, he/she needs to budget his/her money.
I am all for budgeting. We've managed to live off well thanks to the budgeting kit that my wife and I devised ago. Without it, I don't think we would be able to finish paying off our debt in 2.5 years and saved more than $70K at the same time frame.
Qapital is a FREE personal finance app, which lets you set a goal and helps you achieve it. It's that simple.
It rounds up your purchase and put the savings to your goal account.
For example, if you buy a coffee for $3.75, Qapital will round it up to $4.00. The 25 cents difference would be placed in your savings goal.
If you have a budget per expense category and you go under your budget, Qapital will take the difference between your budget and actual expenses and put it into your goal account.
4. Investment fees
Savings amount: $2,300.00/year
My wife and I heavily invest in the stock market. She now has Charles Schwab and I now have Ally Invest.
Before switching to Charles Schwab and Ally Invest, my wife and I had the same brokerage account. Not only did the brokerage account charge us exorbitant transaction fees but its line of mutual funds had some of the worst expense ratios I've ever seen.
That's why we switched to our new ones. My wife and I decided to go to different brokerage companies for two reasons. We want the Charles Schwab account to be exclusively for individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
The Ally Invest account is for traditional stock trading costs, strong web-based platform, and robust research/tools, which are among the lowest and best out there.
We will eventually open up accounts on each brokerage. For now, we like to stick with that we have.
Actually, it's working for our benefit. Between our retirement and stock market accounts, we beat the S&P by double digits these past three years. We always average 18% return rate every year with our investment strategies.
Oh, between my wife and I, we save over $1,300 in mutual fund and transaction fees between those two brokerage accounts.
5. Automatic price adjustment
Savings amount: $400.00/year
Do you know you can get a price adjustment when the prices of the products you just purchased drop?
It's very common for credit card companies to allow price adjustment without you having to go to the store and get the difference. It's called price protection. A lot of credit card companies, if not all, have that feature.
All you need to do is call, provide the information, and they'll go from there.
There's another route of getting a price adjustment that's more automatic and that is through Paribus. Paribus will automatically file a request for reimbursement when the prices drop. When approved, the money will be credited to your account. It's that simple.
I use both credit cards companies (for in-store and online price adjustments) and Paribus (for online adjustment that I may not necessarily be aware of).
Because we almost always buy what we only need, we sometimes have to pay full price. Thanks to the price protection and Paribus, we are able to save money even further.
Overall, we always save more than $400 a year between the two of them.
5. Car insurance
Savings amount: $2,162.00/year
It's been a while since we paid our car loan. That's because the last payment we got was the final payment on our car loan.
That was back in 2015.
Because we are no longer required to carry insurance with full coverage, we dropped our coverage to just liability. Boy did we save a ton of money.
We used to pay $200/mo because my wife was a new driver. She still is pretty much a new driver considering she's only been driving for less than 3 years.
We decided we need to save additional money and so we dropped the coverage to liability. Now, we pay $119 per 6 months. That's a lot of savings there.
We now use GEICO, which we got through Get My Insurance. Get My Insurance is a trusted company and is ranked 26th by Inc. 500 for fastest-growing private companies. Not only did we get a couldn't-be-beat insurance rate but we also got additional discounts using my academic honor society discount program.
We saved and still save at least $2,162.00 per year because of changing our car insurance coverage.
If you have a good driving record, you may consider contacting Get My Insurance. The quote is FREE and you are not obligated to buy insurance from it.
6. Life insurance for health-conscious people
Savings amount: $2,00.00/year
We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. That is why I bought a life insurance so my family won't have to worry about finances when I am gone. Knock on wood.
I used to pay around $85.00 per month for a whole life insurance. I got that when I was around 22 years old and was super health-conscious.
A lot of people told me that I paid too much. That's why a year before last, I dropped my life insurance after getting another one through Health IQ, an agency that specializes on life insurance for healthy, active people like me.
Imagine that. I was paying $85/mo when I got my insurance at age 22. Now, I'm paying $68/mo starting at age 33 with the same coverage.
If you are active and healthy, you may want consider getting a quote from Health IQ. It's FREE and could save you a ton of money in the long run.
7. Surveys for rewards
We like cooking and baking. We almost always make everything from scratch. This way, we exactly know the ingredients in the foods that we eat.
While we mostly take surveys for money, which by the way, my wife and I make around $200 a month, we also take surveys for rewards.
Do you know there are a ton of survey sites that offer rewards when you take surveys from them?
Some even give you rewards for just downloading their apps and letting those run in the background. This means you are participating even when you really aren't participating.
My wife and I have gotten so many rewards. Some are the results of us reaching the number points to get the rewards. Sometimes, we get products to try for FREE and we get to keep them with us.
We use most of the products we receive but, sometimes, we give the other stuff away because we don't need them. We've received an Oster blender, a couple of gift cards, hand mixer, and the most recent one, Cuisinart Artisan Mixer with one metal and one glass bowl and a few hooks.
If I calculate the cost of the products we have right now, it would be around $2,000.
Here are some survey sites we use specific to rewards and not cash:
- Springboard America (Chance to win $1,000 for signing up)
- Nielsen Digital Voice (Earn without taking a survey)
- VIP Voice Panel (Automatically enter for a $1,000 sweepstakes after sign-up)
- Global Test Market (Redeem for Cash, Pandora, Gifts, and so many more)
For us, if we are doing activities and paying bills consistently, we might as well find something to cut them down without sacrificing the value we get from them. That's why we use these things, products, and/or services to make sure we reduce our expenses by thousands of dollars every year.
We've had these products for a couple of years now. From the time we were a one income family to a family with two incomes coming in, these products have truly allowed us to save money year after year.
Are you still looking for tips for living on one income? What have you done to save additional money from the things you always use or bills you always pay? Are you going to try these products to reduce your expenses?