7 Powerful Mindsets for Single-Income Families

7 Powerful Mindsets for Single-Income Families

Being a single-income or budget-conscious family isn’t cool or popular.

Your friends are all driving multiple vehicles that are way nicer than yours, creating beautiful houses, traveling the world, and going out to eat whenever they feel like it.

Sometimes it can feel, well, weird.

Weird when your colleagues are traveling to exotic places and you haven’t left the states in a while. Weird when your neighbors are selling their houses to move up in the world, but you are staying put.

Seven powerful mindsets for Single-Income Families

Whether you decided to become a single income family by choice and with intention, or were forced into it by job loss, it can feel a little isolating.

You may begin to wonder: Will people still be my friends when I can’t go out to eat as often as they can? Will they not want to come to my house if it isn’t as nice as theirs? What if we don’t have anything to talk about when I’m not traveling as much or to as exotic of places as they are?

I get it.

When I first quit working outside the home it was a little unsettling.

Not only were we suddenly making less (a lot less) than everyone we knew who still had two incomes, but people often just assumed we were rich because we were “lucky to be able to afford for me to stay home.” Oh, the irony!

Not to mention how relying on only one income can feel a little shaky. What if Ross lost his job? What if we had large unexpected expenses? 

As time went on though, I discovered these Seven Powerful Mindsets that instilled confidence in myself, my family, and our choices.

Shifting my mindset has helped me to be happy and content in the lifestyle I live.

I think these seven mindsets will give you peace of mind as well, whether you’re at the beginning of your journey, or a veteran budget-conscious family.

7 Mindsets for Single-Income Families

1) You Have Half the Income to Work With

Dual-income families most likely have twice as much income as a single-income family. Even if your spouse (or you) makes really, really great money, your friends are probably in the same stage of life working similarly paying jobs. 

They have probably been out of school and working in their chosen profession for close to the same amount of time and have had the opportunity for the same number of promotions and/or pay raises. 

We just naturally tend to hang out with people who have the same economic status as ourselves.

Worst-case scenario for your dual-income friends, once you factor in their childcare expenses that you don’t have etc., they are probably still bringing in at least 50% more income than you are.

I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of things that I could do with 50% more income!

House projects would be done, I’d be traveling more, and I might even hire a maid… ok I probably wouldn’t have a maid, but I’m still holding on to that dream!

My point is, you can’t compare how you spend your money to how your dual-income friends do. 

2) Only You Can Choose How to Allocate Your Money

My uncle used to say, “It isn’t that I can’t afford something; I choose not to allocate my funds in that manner.”

We all choose how we allocate our funds. Even if everyone had the same amount of funds coming in, we would probably all spend them differently.

This is a powerful paradigm shift for single income families: no longer are you unable to do something that you want to do, you are choosing to spend the money somewhere else.

Now, instead of feeling like your budget is telling you “no” all the time; you understand that you are choosing this “no” to be able to say, “yes” to something else. 

The “yes” may simply be the ability to live off one income, or it might be something bigger that your family is saving for.

Seven Powerful Mindsets for Single-inome Families

3) It’s None of Your Business What Other People Think of You

We have had people give us weird looks and rude comments since we decided to become a single income family.

We make a lot of strange decisions in our family, at least compared to most people. But choosing to live off one income seems to be the most controversial.  

At the end of the day, though, it is none of my business what other people think about me!

If people are looking down on you about how you live your life, who cares? 

It’s your life, not anyone else’s!

If people want to spend their time and energy looking down on someone else for choosing to live a different way than they do, that’s their problem.

4) Don’t Return the Judgement

When we feel like other people are judging us for our life choices, it can be easy to get defensive and start explaining to ourselves why our choices are better than theirs.

Don’t fall into this trap. It doesn’t do anyone good to put other people’s choices down just because they don’t match up with yours.

If people are attacking your lifestyle, get up, dust yourself off, and move on.

Maybe just find some friends who will support you?

5) Most People are Thinking About Themselves Most Often

In my experience, most people spend way more time thinking about themselves than they do about other people. Which in a way is sad, but in another way is a huge relief!

I would much rather have people worrying about themselves than about what I am doing and spending my money on.

If people do make a comment about your finances, they probably didn’t think before they said it, they may not have meant it the way it came across, and *most likely* they forgot about it as soon as they said it. 

You can rest assured that they spend way more time thinking about their own finances than they do thinking about yours.

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6) Assume the Best of Others

You can never go wrong when you assume the best intentions of other people.

Assuming your friends and acquaintances aren’t complete jerks,* if something they said was offensive to you, it’s likely that it had nothing to do with you in the first place.

Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe they didn’t get much sleep the night before. Maybe they just had a fight with their spouse.

Maybe they simply have an opinion that is different than yours and you chose to get offended.

The likelihood that people were intentionally attacking your choices is incredibly small.

*And if your friends and acquaintances are jerks, you may want to find some new ones ; )

7) Be Grateful for What You Have

We’ve been uncool penny-pinchers for almost nine years now (you can read about how our journey began here.) 

It can be challenging when it feels like your friends have everything you would like, and even harder when you feel judged about your choices.

Here’s a little story that might help:

Seven Powerful Mindsets for Budget-Conscious Families

We have an old dishwasher. When you run it, conversations that are taking place all get much louder while the dishwasher sings you the song of its people.

I have been amazed at how many people complain about it. People who don’t live in our home. People who I wouldn’t have guessed to be complainers.

I’m the main person that uses it and consequently hears it, yet it doesn’t bother me. (I’ve always been able to tune out ambient noises.)

However, it seems to greatly annoy our guests when I run it after a meal.  

This still isn’t a huge problem for me, I simply load it up, put the soap in and then almost close it. Before I go to bed, I try to remember to start it (and if I forget, I just do it the next day.)

Even with this process in place, though, we still get so many comments about our “loud dishwasher” and questions about “when are we finally going to replace that thing?”

For a while it really bothered me. 

Why was everyone else so worried about how we spent our money? They had no idea if we could afford to run out and buy a brand new dishwasher like they could.

Then I realized I had a choice. I can’t control what other people think or say, but I can control my thoughts and feelings. 

We could go out and buy a new, quiet dishwasher…and either make payments on it or put a dent in our savings… or I could be grateful.

There are millions of people around the world, who don’t have a dishwasher at all.

I decided instead of waiting anxiously for the day when we could afford the things that our friends had, I could be thankful.

By changing my attitude and deciding not to worry about others, I become not only content with where I was, but also truly happy for my friends where they were.

Now whenever I am tempted to complain about anything from the weather to the dishwasher, I ask myself “What can I be thankful for here?” 

It is amazing how quickly your attitude and perspective can change.

I even started doing this with my oldest daughter when a small thing was about to send her over the edge. Now she may still complain about something, but she almost always will follow it with, “but do you know what I can be thankful for?”

Once the thankfulness turns on, it becomes a habit in our minds and self-perpetuates. We don’t have to force ourselves to do it anymore, it just happens.

And out of the thankfulness comes true joy.

My Oma used to have an old plaque hanging next to her kitchen sink that read:

How to Stop Worrying About Keeping Up With the Joneses... And start living happily on a single income

Thank God for dirty dishes; 

They have a tale to tell.

While others may go hungry, 

We’re eating very well.

With home, and health, and happiness, 

I shouldn’t want to fuss;

By the stack of evidence, 

God’s been very good to us!

I took the liberty of re-writing it for my situation:

Thank God for my old dishwasher; 

It has a tale to tell.

While others do not have one, 

Mine is working very well.

While it’s cleaning, whining, whooshing; 

I shouldn’t want to fuss;

By this piece of evidence, 

God’s been very good to us!

The next time you feel frustrated that you don’t have as much disposable income as your friends do, see if one of these mindsets can help you:

1. You Have Half the Income to Work With

2. Only You Can Choose How to Allocate Your Money

3. It’s None of Your Business What Other People Think of You

4. Don’t Return the Judgement

5. Most People Think About Themselves Most Often

6. Assume the Best of Others

7. Be Grateful for What You Have

If you would like to see how we make things work on one income, check out How to Start Budgeting: a Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Budget, Cutting Costs, and Saving Money.

You May Also Enjoy…

How We Paid Off $20,000 in debt in 18 Months!

How to Organize Your Finances With 7 Bank Accounts.

37 Ways to Save Money on Groceries if you aren’t sure how to get your grocery budget under control.

10 Ways to Save Money When You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck if you need some ideas for how to cut costs.

If you want to be sure that you can stick with this budget from the start, check out The Biggest Secret to Sticking With Your Budget.

Teach your children how to budget with The {Simplest} Budgeting Method for Kids.

You can read about our journey learning to live on one income here: How We Became a Single Income Family.

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See you on the next one! Kassy