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How to Afford Being a Stay at Home Mom
You may be wondering if it’s possible for you to afford to be a stay at home mom? How do you make staying home possible for your family?
Being a stay at home mom is not possible for every single family BUT it definitely can be done with some strategic planning ahead of time.
HAVE A FAMILY MEETING
You’ve decided you want to be a stay at home mom (or dad) and have probably mentioned it before but make sure that the family is on board. Talk it over with your spouse or partner.
Make sure that you both agree that this is the right decision.
Sometimes it may be more beneficial for one of you to stay home and care for the children or pursue schooling then it is to work a job that pays just enough for childcare.
Sit down and create a pros and cons list and then go through the tips in this article and discuss if you think it will work for your family.
Create a Budget (CashFlow Plan)
A budget (or cash flow plan for those of you who hate the word budget) is needed for every family whether you stay home or not. A budget is simply a cash flow plan for your family.
You need to know what is coming in and what is going out. If you don’t have a budget now, start one! I’ve created a blog post on creating a budget to help you.
Check out How to Create a Budget. Also, be sure to sign up for my newsletter below this article and I’ll send you free budget printables to help you get started!
Part of budgeting is tracking your spending and being able to see areas in which you can save money.
You see when you create a budget you learn a lot of things about yourself and your family. You see how everyone is spending their money and where your money is being wasted.
You may even find there are things you’ve been spending money on that you had forgotten all about like ongoing monthly subscriptions or annual fees.
For example, you may find that you’re spending $200 a month on coffee, snacks, etc. and decide that you can make coffee or buy less or cheaper snacks and cut those expenses drastically right away.
A budget is also how you can tell your money where to go. You can assign every dollar a job. This is what it called a zero-based budget and how you can start to make your money work for you.
Money just sitting there without a job will get spent.
CUT AS MANY EXPENSES AS YOU CAN
The less you spend the more you can save and the less income you’ll need. It’s that simple. Once you’ve created your budget and tracked your spending, you will start to see where all your expenses are coming from.
Start analyzing what areas you can reduce spending. What bills can you lower? What subscriptions and expenses can you eliminate?
If negotiating bills or going through your statements to see what subscriptions you have overwhelms you, consider using a service like TRIM or Billshark. These services will help you lower your bills and save you money. You only pay a percentage of what they save you so it’s a win-win.
Have cable? Consider getting rid of it and just keeping the internet. You can use an HD Antenna and get a bunch of local channels and add a streaming service.
With options like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime I really don’t see a need for cable anymore. If you have a Smart TV you can get set up right away. If not, you can grab a Fire TV Stick or another streaming device which will basically turn your TV into a Smart TV.
Can’t fathom cutting the cord or stuck in a contract deal? Then get rid of extra cable boxes, extra channels, or special extended packages and go as basic as possible. Most contracts allow you to change your plan without any fees so double check first.
Have a gym membership you never use? Get rid of it. Go with a friend as a free guest on their membership or exercise at home or outside when it’s nice out.
- Gabi– Shop rates on your home and car insurance.
- Earny– Is a money-saving browser extension that gives you cashback, tracks prices, and helps you get refunds when prices lower.
- Trim– Trim is a virtual personal assistant that constantly works to save you money. Cancel your old subscriptions, set spending alerts, check how much you spent on Uber last month, and automatically fight fees…to name a few cool things Trim can do.
- BillShark– BillShark negotiates lower prices on your monthly bills to save you time, money, and hassle.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A FULLY FUNDED EMERGENCY FUND
With one income you could be one lay off away from an emergency so make sure you have a fully-funded emergency fund before you quit your job.
I recommend having three to six months’ worth of expenses. Six would be better and allow you to be less stressed knowing that you have money in the bank.
Make sure you save this money in a separate bank account from your regular savings or checking. You want it easy to access but not so easy that you can spend it on everyday expenses or wants.
Consider a free online checking account or savings account.
PAY DOWN ANY DEBT
If you’re going to live on one income then getting rid of your debt is key! If you have credit card debt then start calling those credit card companies to try and lower your interest rates.
Pay more than the minimum balance on your cards. Use the debt snowball or debt avalanche method to get them paid off as quickly as possible.
Attack your debt as best you can because that’s money that you can free up and use towards bills and expenses once you’re a stay at home mom.
If you have a mortgage see if you can switch to a biweekly payment. Paying biweekly will help you get your mortgage paid off sooner and with less interest (see my article: Pay off your Mortgage Faster with 2 Simple Steps).
Student loans? Car payments? Get those interest rates down as well if you can and start getting those paid off. You can try and consolidate into a lower interest loan.
Try and get that car paid off right away if possible so you don’t have that payment each month.
The less money you have to put toward debt each month the less income you will need coming in. This will make living on one income much more doable.
CONSIDER A SIDE HUSTLE FOR EXTRA CASH
Becoming a stay at home mom means you’re going down to one income and that can be tough. But this doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to the household at all anymore.
Maybe you can pick up a side hustle! There are so many ways to make money right now and many that can be done as often or as little as you like.
Some things to consider are:
- Deliver food with UberEats or Doordash.
- Become a personal shopper with Instacart.
- Start a blog to make money (blogging takes a bit more time to start making money and isn’t an instant money maker but could be a long term goal).
- Become a freelance writer or virtual assistant.
Whatever you have a passion for or can pick up when you have extra time is perfect. Check out my Money Making Ideas page for more options.
DO A TEST RUN
Before you quit your job and stay at home, do a test run! If you’ve gone through all the tips in this blog post and now feel as though you can make it work, test it out!
Pretend as though you already quit your job and save one income for a couple months. You may have some work expenses and that’s fine you can use your income for those but everything else put away into a savings account.
The key here is to really act as though you’re on one income now. This will be the true test for making it work. Plus you’ll be saving even more money in the process.
Affording to be a stay at home mom may seem impossible but if you put effort into paying off debt, reducing your expenses, and possibly picking up a side hustle then it’s definitely possible!
MORE MONEY SAVING TIPS:
- How to Pay off Debt When You Have No Money
- 101 Ways to Save Money
- How to Live Frugally With Feeling Deprived
- How to Cut Expenses and Spend Less