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Here’s how families can adapt from two incomes to one

Whether the change was planned or unexpected, these 6 steps can make the transition to one income less stressful.

how to transition to one income

Transitioning from two incomes to one can bring up a range of emotions for any family. On one hand, you may feel excited about having more family time—and a slightly less hectic schedule. But on the other hand, you are probably stressed about your finances and worried about what might happen if you choose to return to work in the future.

Whether the change was planned because of a new baby or unexpected due to a job loss, careful planning can make the transition to one income easier and less stressful.


1. Build a "before" + "after" budget

Far too many of us don't have a clear idea how much income we need to support our lifestyle. Losing one income changes the balance between spending and expenses, and it's all too easy to find yourself overspending and even taking on debt without making adjustments to your expenses.

Review your credit cards and bank statements and build a budget based on your last few months of spending. You can use a spreadsheet or online tools and apps, like Mint, that connect to your accounts and make automate budgeting. Once you have an idea how much you're spending in different categories, deduct your second income to see how much you'll have to cut to not be in the red.

Start with your fixed monthly bills (car payment, utilities, cell phone). Maybe your family get by with only one car, which would also reduce your insurance and maintenance costs. Or you might reduce the data package on your cell phone or cancel unused subscriptions. Cutting these fixed bills might require more planning and phone calls upfront, but it can help you reduce your costs significantly without a major change to your lifestyle.

2. Find a budgeting system that works for you

You'll want to be extra careful with spending during the first few months as you adjust to your new financial life, which makes it an ideal time to find a budgeting system that will work for you in the long term.

The goal is to find a tool that helps you track all of your expenses in detail. It might be a personal finance app or a spreadsheet template you update online. For some people, what works best is to pay every expense that's not a bill using a set amount of cash that you withdraw each month, or a debit card with a specific limit.

Your budget will be key to transitioning your family to one income so take some time to develop a system that you understand and feel motivated to use.

3. Review your insurance coverage + other employer benefits

Your employer usually provides more than a paycheck, and you'll want to make sure that your family is protected by every employer benefit for which you may be eligible. Review your coverage and make sure that the working partner will be able to include the family on their employer's insurance plan.

You'll also want to think about life insurance coverage. Imagine how your family would cope without the stay at home parent. Would your partner need to pay for full-time day care? Life insurance can help cover those costs. There are affordable term-life options that can protect your family without hurting your budget.

4. Look for a side hustle

If you've reviewed your budget and the numbers are just too tight with one income, consider looking for a side gig that allows you to earn money from home. Given the current state of the world, there is no shortage of jobs that can be done from any location. You could consider working as a virtual assistant, turning a talent or skill into a side gig or even selling items you don't need anymore on consignment. Just keep in mind the tax considerations if you do contract work as you may want to discuss this with an accountant or financial advisor.

5. Review your retirement + other savings goals

Your monthly budget isn't the only thing that will be impacted by your change in income. You'll also want to review your retirement and other long-term financial goals such as saving for college. While it might be difficult to imagine saving extra while your income is reduced, you could commit to increasing your savings with your next raise or saving a portion of whatever extra income you're able to bring in by working from home. You could consider starting a spousal IRA for the partner that will be at home. You may also want to work with a financial planner to make a clear plan for your future.

6. Have open conversations with your partner

It's important to remember that going to a one-income household is a huge shift and open, honest communication is essential. Don't assume how life will be going forward. Discuss how you'll divide up cooking, cleaning and managing your finances. Have the uncomfortable conversations now so that you're on the same page moving forward, which will help make this transition a success.

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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