October 2016 One Income Family Budget Update

Raise your hand if you have debt… Don’t by shy because there is a good chance that pretty much everyone reading this article is right there with ya!

That nagging payment you have to make every, single, month! It is so irritating to be paying someone else money and not getting anything in return! Right?!

Not only are you paying back money that you have already spent, but you are actually paying back more money than you borrowed because of the crazy amount of interest you are paying. Blah!

Okay, deep breathes and let’s move on!

How a simple one income family budget helped pay off almost $20,000 in debt in less than one year! If you are overwhelmed by debt and are trying to live on one income, learn from this family how to pay off debt quick and on just one income! Learn how to pay off debt on a one income family budget.

Not only have we been trying to pay off this debt, but also we have been accomplishing it on a one income family budget! AND we live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

It hasn’t been an easy journey but once this debt is gone (update: we are now debt free!) we are going to be well on our way to financial freedom!

FREEDOM! (Can you tell that I am a LITTLE pumped about this from all the uppercase writing I am using? I talk really loud when I get excited. Sorry!)

Why do we share our family budget?

I personally find it very motivating to learn about other family budgets and what they do to manage them. Learning about their tricks on how to make their pennies stretch and what they do when obstacles come up.

You can see our most recent all our previous real life family budget updates here.

One problem I have seen though, is that a lot of articles out there are families that live where the cost of living is a lot less then where we live. Making their budget a lot less realistic for us to follow.

I want to show you guys that living on one income family budget is completely doable, even if you live in an area where the cost of living is high. Our family lives in San Diego, which is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. But we are finding ways to make it work on one income and I want to help you do the same thing!

Check out our previous month’s budget updates here to find out what we have been learning along the way.

What we use to stay on budget

Our family uses a very basic excel spreadsheet to keep track of our expenses, what bills to pay when, and how much cash to take out each paycheck for our cash envelope system. 

I created this spreadsheet to reflect a bi-weekly income. Which means that my hubby gets paid every other week. Because I have had so many requests for a copy of the template, I made a FREE download for you! Just sign up below or by clicking this link.

If you are more of a pen and paper type budgeter, in this Beginners Budgeting Starter Kit, you also get a printable version!


Ready to see the real numbers? Let’s get to it!

$20,000 Debt Update

Our debt is ALMOST GONE! October has been an exciting month for our family’s budget! As of the moment I am writing this post our debt sits at $2,245. Which is a HUGE improvement from the $20,500 debt we started with!

Each month as we work through and work with our family finances we learn different things. Though I still consider us beginners, I think this is how it’s going to be our entire lives actually! There is always going to be something to learn when it comes to managing our money.

This month we have been blessed to receive a nice big uniform allowance from my husband’s job as a police officer. We used a chunk of it to purchase uniforms and supplies that he will need at work. Then there was still a good amount left over…

We were able to put an additional (on top of the $500+ that we are paying monthly towards debt) $5,412 towards our debt this month! Huge right!

Starting debt:                                                $20,500

Current debt as of October 2016:             $2,245

Anytime you have the opportunity for extra income and you are currently in debt, I would strongly suggest putting it towards you debt!

What money saving tools I am loving!

I attribute our powerful debt payoff schedule to a cash budget and meal planning! Once we switched to a “mostly” cash budget, we magically were able to stick to our budget with ease! You can read more about how to start your own cash envelope system right here. 

Then meal planning! Oh how I love it for so many reasons! The system we use has literally saved us THOUSANDS of dollars a year! No joke! Click this link for all the details on how you can do the same thing! 

And I can’t move on without mentioning my consistently favorite rebate apps, Ibotta. 

One of the first things I do after bringing the groceries into the house is go through my favorite rebate app and see what I can get quick cash back on.

If you aren’t already signed up with Ibotta, you can use this link or use this code: qybjrj and you will automatically get $10 back after you claim your first rebate!

Debt Snowball

What has been THE coolest thing about having this major amount of cash to put towards our debt is that our debt snowball is really picking up speed!

If you are not sure what a debt snowball is, here is a quick explanation on how our family runs it.

We began putting extra payments towards our total debt but starting with the highest interest loan. The idea behind the snowball is that once you have finished paying off one loan, you use that same money and put it towards the next loan in line.

So you not only are putting the “extra payment” towards the next loan, but you are also putting the monthly payment amount of the first loan towards the next. Then once that loan is finished, you roll ALL of that money to the next. Keep that up until all your debt is done!

This month we were able to completely finish paying off my husbands UHEAA student loan AND our car loan, then a big chunk of my husbands Fedloan as well.

Now all that money we were putting towards all three of those loans is now being funneled into paying for my UHEAA student loan.

See how that works? If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below and I will help as best I can!

What if we never get a bonus like you guys?

Getting out of debt is hard work! You are temporarily going to have to make some sacrifices to permanently get out of debt.

Most likely this is going to look like finding a side hustle or maybe even getting a second job. Then on top of that you will need to look at ways to cut your spending as much as possible!

Check out how our family of 5 lives on only $400 a month for food! You will be super surprised at how much you can save by cutting your grocery and food spending.

Once we have completely made it out of debt I will start writing more specifics on how we did things to cut our spending and find ways to make extra money.

REALLY looking forward to next month!

We are expecting another large payment from my husband’s work as payment compensation and expense refunds for the infection my husband got at work last March.

Once that comes, we should be COMPLETELY DEBT FREE!!

What is that going to feel like to be debt free!? Have you paid off your debt? Are you currently in the process? Does the thought of even beginning to tackle your debt stress you out?

Let me know in the comments below and we will figure out how to make the process much easier!

Talk to you guys soon! xoxo


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  • Amberly
    November 2, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Now that we’re not paying for tuition and unexpected house expenses (because everything has to break at once, right?) I’m looking forward to really putting money into savings (since we don’t have debt, except for hospital bills from our preemie that we weren’t planning on…) I’m excited to use your tips so that hopefully we can shift to one income!

    • Brittany Cooper
      November 10, 2016 at 5:16 am

      That is so great Amberly! (Not the house expenses part! Haha) being able to live on one income has been a huge blessing for our family!

  • Hanna
    November 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm


    I was wondering how you were able to spend only $400 a month on food for a family of 5? That just sounds so amazing!

    • Brittany Cooper
      November 10, 2016 at 5:13 am

      It all comes back to meal planning!! I actually just posted an article all about how our family runs our meal plan. Go check it out and let me know if you have any questions! Thanks for stopping in!!

  • Brianna W
    December 9, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    In your October Video you mentioned possibly putting together a google doc of the budget spread sheet. I could desperately use help with using your tool. Thank you! I’m looking forward to watching more of your inspirational videos.

    • Brittany Cooper
      December 12, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      Hi Brianna! Yes!! It is in the works and will be available for you to download in the next two weeks!! Thanks for stopping in and always let me know if you have questions! 💜

  • Douglas Antrim
    November 2, 2017 at 9:25 am

    We are also debt free, and like you we decided to become debt free after we were in debt. We were not drowning in debt but we were at that point where it just was not comfortable. We chose to use the debt snow ball, because we would free up money sooner. We got to work and we were out of debt 2 years later. The Debit Snow Ball is truly awesome.

    • Brittany Cooper
      November 3, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      That is great!! I love hearing stories like that!! Great job!!

  • smore traiolit
    May 8, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.