Surviving on one income is going to take some planning. Perhaps you need a parent home due to a child that has health issues. Perhaps you just plain feel the need to be home with your children. Whatever the case start planning ahead of time.
Sart by making your budget out.
After making out a budget, go over it carefully. Prioritize the bills. It will be important to keep a roof over your head so put your rent or mortgage at the top of the list. Next you will have to decide accordingly as to electric, gas, telephone service and perhaps cable or sattelite service.
This seems self explanatory, but sell what you don’t need. Consider a yard sale, garage sale, sell it to a friend or family member that has long wanted it. Consider ebay or craigslist for some of the larger ticket items. Put up a sign on a bulletin boards around town. Whatever it is, if you don’t use it, sell it. It might as well be making you some money as opposed to just sitting there and gathering dust.
Learn to garden. Growing a portion of your own food will go far to saving you money on groceries. In the summer I have 5 gardens. 2 of them are huge and then I have a smaller herb garden, squash garden and berry area. What we don’t eat is frozen, dried or canned for the winter months.This saves considerably on our grocery bill. It has taken a few years worth of purchasing jars (I buy those at yard sales) and lids but over the long term it is paying off well.
Eliminate one car and walk around town or use a bicycle whenever possible. Consider the health benefits of walking, the money you are saving on gas and insurance and car maintenance. The money will add up.
Take in something part time from home. Perhaps you don’t mind ironing and your friend has stacks of it and no time to do it. Offer to help for a small fee. Child care and lawn services or housecleaning are other part time options that you could consider taking in.
Tutor. Perhaps you have some great skills in math or writing and you can tutor local students for a small fee. Call the schools and see how you can arrange that or put up a flyer in town.
Borrow videos from the library instead of renting them.
Negotiate with creditors and avoid fees. If you call them immediately and let them know you are out of a job sometimes they can put payments on hold (freezing your card of course) and set up lower payment plans.
Make it a family effort. In my family, we make a game of saving electricity. If our bill is under $200 I am thrilled. Some months that is easy and others it is harder.
My kids make a game of catching each other not turning out lights, overusing things like blow dryers and such.
Remind family members that even if an item isn’t being used (the coffee pot, microwave, cell phone charger etc.) that it is still sucking electricity.
If you have an electric hot water heater, turn it down a few degrees and take shorter showers. Run the dishwasher only when full. Use a cold water wash for most of the laundry and dry clothes outside on a clothes line.
Learn the timeless art of bartering. Barter. Consider bartering with friends, family and for professional services such as veterinary care or home repairs. Perhaps you are great at landscaping and your dog needs some care. Offer a trade. This of course works best in small towns where most everyone knows everyone.
Be creative with leftovers. Save all of the leftover meat from the week and at the end of the week sort it into chicken or beef and make pot pies, soups and stews or stir frys. Its easy once you get the hang of it.
With time, patience and persistence you can successfully live on one income. One parent can also work from home online partime writing, doing surveys or other such endeavors. Keep a sense of humor and remember that this too shall pass.