Fan Financial Success Stories | Life Musings | Newlyweds

Newlyweds: How We Avoided Debt on One Income

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Although we avoided debt on one income it certainly was not easy as Newlyweds. By no means would I consider my husband and I “rich”, conventionally speaking, but we have been able to stay debt free, from paying for our wedding to buying a new car.

With the exception of a mortgage, which we’re paying off at a crazy fast pace, we live debt free, on a single income. We don’t have a wallet-full of credit cards, we avoid financing anything, and we always have an emergency fund.

My husband and I are very fortunate, in that we chose to live on one income, instead of being forced into this lifestyle through job loss. My husband and I decided early on in our marriage that I would be a stay-at-home wife, and he would be the traditional bread-winner.

It was definitely difficult, a newlywed couple in their early 20’s trying to live on one income. There were times I considered getting a job, thinking how easy things would be with a second income. Eventually, I caved and took a job at a local shopping mall, getting home each night when my husband was just getting ready for bed. We might have made more money, but it wasn’t worth time away from my husband, and I quit two months later.

We’ve been married now for almost 4 years, and during that time, we’ve always had enough to pay all our bills, plus some to put in savings. Saving money as a newlywed couple on one income certainly wasn’t always easy, but we made compromises, some I’m sure people might have considered utterly unbearable! While yes, some of these methods are cringe-worthy, they allowed us to eventually live a lifestyle of financial freedom.

Ways we Save Money and Avoid Debt Til Death DO us Part

  1. Shopped at thrift stores. When we first got married, money was definitely a scarce commodity. So to stretch our income to its maximum, we’d shop at a local thrift store, or gently used store. One of our best finds, a brand new GE toaster oven at 1/5th the price it was being sold for at retail stores!
  2. Dined out during “Happy Hours”. Whenever we felt like doing a date night, something nicer than the local drive-thru, we went to restaurants that featured half-price “happy hours”. Now I’m not talking about the alcohol, although I know that’s the main purpose of a happy hour. No, we’d go only to get half-price entrées or appetizers, walking away easily under $20.00 for the two of us.
  3. Controlled our thermostat. We live in an area that is basically summer year-round, a “cool” day being in the 70’s. As you can imagine, our electric bill was usually pretty bad. To cut down on cooling costs, we’d constantly adjust our air conditioner to automatically shut off at night or when we weren’t home, to avoid cooling an empty apartment.
  4. Shared a cell phone plan with parents. I know it seems silly, but setting up my own cell phone plan would have cost 4 times more than my parents adding an extra line to their plan.
  5. Lived with parents for 9 months. This may seem like a drastic step, but it was, without a doubt, the sole contributor to us being able to live debt free. My parents allowed us to move into my old bedroom, something that was definitely a hard choice for a newlywed couple like ourselves. Nevertheless, those 9 months allowed us to pay for the down payment on our first house!

Maybe not all these options are available to you, but if you look closely at your situation, you might see some opportunities you didn’t realize you had. Avoiding debt as Newlyweds at all costs can set the financial platform for you and your spouse down the road.

Guest Post Bio:

I’m Humble Laura, The Mayor of Humbleville, and I enjoy writing about simple living topics. Feel free to visit me at my blog Humbleville. You can also follow me on twitter: @HumbleLaura.

Thank-You Laura for sharing your success story with Canadian Budget Binder Fans and I’m sure they will enjoy your website!

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  1. I’ve been a stay at home mom for years. We raised 3 kids on one income. We don’t smoke, or drink now and never really did much to begin with. When the kids were small I made their clothes for the most part. For a while there hubby was drinking more but he was making his own beer and wine which helped costs. I help myself to his big stock pots to make soup stock from the turkeys we have most holidays. I watch sales, coupon and so on. We drive a late model truck and have usually driven older cars. We got by with one vehicle as hubby worked nights or afternoons most of our marriage (36 yrs) so he had the vehicle then and I had it during the day for running around. It worked for us…. and some days, yes it was work…

    1. Christine, If you ever want to share tips you learned as a stay at home mom, email me and I can help you put together a post for the fans.. if you want. Or if you have something else you want to share about your experience…Mr.CBB

  2. Great article! I have several friends who have their cell phones through their parents still and they are in their 30’s…so its catching on. My 20 year old daughter and our 14 year old son are both on our plan and lets face it cell phones are now an essential for many of us. I love the idea of couples thrift store shopping together I have some great thrift store memories of me and my hunny! We plan on doing some more once the weather cools down…what is really fun is going hunting for something you are not sure you are going to find!

  3. I wish I was a smart when I was in my 20’s. We lived with my grandma for 3 years while we waited for our house to be built and we only paid a portion of the utilities. We didn’t save much 🙂 DUMB!!
    If only I knew then what I know now! Sometimes I get so mad at myself for being so naiive back then.

    My a/c is going to drive up my hydro bill but we hate being hot and it makes my little guy miserable. I have someone coming Aug 1st to install peak saver plus though so that should help!

  4. Enjoyed this post. BF and I have been living with his parents for 2 years now. It has been incredibly amazing to save a lot of money. We don’t do anything but eat out a lot, so we could definitely cut costs there..but even when we eat out we are kind of frugal. We don’t drink alcohol and we have cut a lot of costly activities. Barely any traveling too. I would like to be a SAHM one day but in our situation I’m likely to make more than the BF in the future. We make about the same right now.

  5. Thanks for the blog post this will defintely help in the long run as of day me and my fiancée have debt but we are constantly paying it off while living at home with my parents they have us a trailer to live in for the summer and over all it’s been pretty cool here and not have to turn the ac on. There have been some hot days but nobody is at home to worry about how hot the house gets.

  6. These are some terrific ideas! I had never thought of the cell phone one but then I didn’t have a cell phone back in the Dark Ages when I was in my 20’s just starting out. LOL

  7. Our AC bill was so high this month! It’s been 105 to 110 degrees CONSTANTLY and a cool day here is considered to be 90 degrees. I about had a heart attack when I saw my bill yesterday. And the state has told us that it will most likely remain this hot until OCTOBER!

    1. We put the air on only after 7pm and it’s on all night. It shuts off at 7am and we keep the house as cool as possible all day long. It’s very very humid here in Ontario but we’ve been getting away with the above thus far. How much was your bill? Is it for just electricity or water as well? What ways can you think of to save on this bill? Mr.CBB

      1. I wish we could turn it off, but we have dogs and the boy works at night (so he’s home during the day) and they wouldn’t be happy with it being over 110 degrees in the house. The bill was for around $250, and that’s just electricity and AC. Our electric bill is usually only around $30 (when we don’t use the AC), so we spent over $200 on AC last month. AHHH!

        1. Ouch! That’s crazy. It seems water runs up our bill more so then the electricity. We are still waiting for our first of the summer to come in. We are now on SMART METERS so it should be interesting to see the bill.

    2. Hi Michelle!
      That sure is warm! Have you ever wondered how anyone lived there before AC was invented? We’re here in Florida and most days, especially right now, you can’t even leave the house because it’s so hot and humid. Good luck with the rest of your summer, hopefully things cool down a bit for you! Thanks for commenting!
      Humbly Yours,

    3. Hi Michelle!
      That sure is warm! Have you ever wondered how anyone lived there before AC was invented? We’re here in Florida and most days, especially right now, you can’t even leave the house because it’s so hot and humid. Good luck with the rest of your summer, hopefully things cool down a bit for you! Thanks for commenting!
      Humbly Yours,

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