I’ll bet you’re here because you’re wondering, how do you afford being a stay at home mom when you’re a dual-income family, right?
I knew from the moment I got pregnant again that I wanted to stay at home with my kids.
But, just like you, the thought of living on one income terrified me!
I actually contemplated for WEEKS if I was making the right decision to leave my job.
I’m getting ready to celebrate my 4th year as a stay at home mom and I’m really glad I did it.
So if you want to know how to you stop spending money on childcare so you can spend more time with your kids, today, I’m sharing five ways you can afford to be a stay at home mom!
How To Afford Being a Stay at Home Mom
1) Pay Off Your Debt
Before you leave your job, plan to pay off as much debt as you can. Because anything can happen. You don’t want to be in a situation where you can barely make ends meet and you’re drowning in debt.
I recommend using Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball Method. It’s a strategy that will help you pay off all your non-mortgage debt much faster.
Here’s what that would look like:
Step 1 – List your debts from smallest to largest.
Step 2 – Make minimum payments on all your debts except the smallest.
Step 3 – Pay as much as possible on your smallest debt.
Step 4 – Repeat until each debt is paid in full.
It’s really simple to implement and makes becoming debt-free less scary, and more attainable.
2) Reduce Your Spending
When you leave your job, you’ll also be leaving your income. So it’s important that you discuss with your partner what you’re both willing to live without so that you can afford to be a stay at home mom.
For us, we agreed we could live without cable, we switched to a lower-cost cell phone plan, and we even downsized our home.
Now, I realize that not everyone is able or willing to sell their home or even become a one-car family. And you don’t have to become extremely frugal either to be a stay at home mom.
Here are simple things you can do now to reduce your spending and start saving money by this time next month:
- Use the Ibotta App to save money on groceries – Ibotta pays you free cash money when you upload a picture of your receipt!
- Lower your tv bill – We bought an HDTV Antenna from Amazon that gives us free local broadcast channels (think ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, etc). But, we also use Hulu LIVE to watch our favorite TV shows, entertainment, and sports for way less than cable.
- Use cash back websites – Rebate websites like Ebates partner with tons of stores (Amazon, Walmart, Target, Macy’s and more!) to give you free cash back on whatever you order online! Plus, when you sign up here for Ebates, you’ll get your first $10 for FREE!!
- Learn to cook more meals at home – I used the $5 Meal Plan to get dinner ideas we could use to feed our family of 6 for $80/week!!
- Negotiate any bills you have – such as cell phone contracts, internet, insurance, etc.
- Downsize your home to save on living expenses – We did this for two years and saved almost $10,000!
- Earn easy money doing surveys – You could totally do this in your spare time! It will help you pay for groceries, diapers, credit card debt, and more!
2) Start Saving
This is the one thing I wish we did before I quit my job. Because a few months after my maternity leave ended (I didn’t return to work), my husband got into an accident at work (he’s a truck driver) and lost his job.
We had NO money in savings.
And then, I found out we were pregnant with our 3rd child, which was a total surprise.
So he had no job, we had no health insurance, and we had another baby on the way. Talk about being stressed out.
The number one question I get about being a stay at home mom is, “how much money should I save before I quit my job?”
There’s no one-answer-fits-all here. I always say that number depends on your (financial) stress tolerance.
Because living on one income is hard enough. You don’t want to make it harder on yourself by not having at least a $1,000 emergency savings.
So if you’re easily stressed about money, I’d say you should save up to 6 months of living expenses.
I honestly believe we could have avoided getting behind on our bills when my husband lost his job if we had emergency savings in place.
3) Consider Stepping Down Instead of Stepping Out
If you aren’t completely comfortable with the idea of leaving your job and your income on the table, then you should consider stepping down and instead of stepping out.
Let me explain.
Stepping out from your job means you’re quitting cold turkey and you’re never going back. Most women will quit at the end of their maternity leave, like me!
But others will quit after being back at work for a few months or so because they want so badly to stay at home with their kids.
However, if you don’t want to part ways from your job and income cold turkey like that, then you may be able to step down!
Talk with your supervisor to see if you can keep your position and work fewer hours, or find a part-time job in the same industry.
4) Find Ways to Supplement Your Income
Now, this tip is for women that want to stay at home with their kids AND make money.
That was me.
I wasn’t content with just taking care of my kids at home and letting my husband carry the burden of paying all the bills by himself. I wanted to contribute, too, because that’s what I was used to doing!
But do work from home jobs really exist?
You better believe it! You could be a freelancer, transcriber, virtual assistant, run a home daycare, and many more! The hard part is finding the best opportunities.
My friend, Holly, runs a blog over at The Work At Home Woman and she knows her stuff when it comes to looking for legitimate work from home jobs. Just check out this list of work-at-home jobs and opportunities for moms!
Whether you can afford being a stay at home mom will depend on your financial situation. I didn’t stay at home with my first child, but when we got pregnant again, it just didn’t make sense to work to pay for childcare.
So we actually save more money by me staying at home!
But I also want you to know that you don’t have to choose between being a mom or having a career.
I know many women that only stay at home with the baby for the first year and then return to work. Or you can stay at home and pursue a new work-at-home career.
The choice is YOURS, mama! And whatever you choose, it will be okay.
So why do you want to be a stay-at-home mom? Let’s chat in the comments below.