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Becoming a Stay-At-Home-Mom: 5 Financial Steps to Take Before Quitting your Job – It’s no secret that the days of being a stay-at-home-mom have become almost unheard of. The world has changed and it’s no longer the norm for the mom to stay home with the kids while the father brings home the paycheck. Ever-increasing bills and financial burdens are mostly to blame.
Lots of moms would love nothing more than to be home with their kids – but they simply can’t afford it. They dream of having more quality time together and taking on a more active roll raising their children. They hate that they have to put their kids in daycare, but feel it’s their only option. After all, they need that second paycheck.
I won’t sugar-coat it. It’s true that it’s harder to make being a stay-at-home-mom a reality today than it used to be – financially speaking. But it’s not impossible! Many mothers have figured out how to make it possible to go from a 9-5 to staying at home – even though it meant losing an income.
Take it from someone who’s done it.
As a family of 3, my husband and I both worked full-time while our infant daughter spent 9 hours a day in daycare. Talk about feeling guilty and icky. I felt like daycare had my daughter more than I did, and that didn’t sit well with me. Fast forward a few months, and my little family of 3 moved 500 miles away for a job opportunity for my husband. We suddenly found ourselves in a new state, not knowing anyone, and me without a job.
We could have easily fallen prey to our expenses; after all, we were now having to survive off half our previous income. But, I decided that we were going to make this work and that I was going to continue staying home with our daughter, no matter what it took. It’s what was best for her and that’s what mattered.
It’s been over 5 years and I’m still at home with my 2 kids. It hasn’t been the easiest and decisions had to be made, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My goal is to help other mothers out there become a stay-at-home-mom, too. That’s why I’m sharing with you the 5 financial steps you can take to make becoming a stay-at-home-mom a reality.
Becoming a Stay-At-Home-Mom: 5 Financial Steps to Take Before Quitting your Job
1. Start cutting
To be brutally honest, being a stay-at-home-mom comes with sacrifices. It’s part of the territory. You’re going to have to make some tough decisions – starting with saying goodbye to luxuries. Go through each and every one of your bills and expenses, and label them as necessity or luxury. Anything that isn’t essential needs to be cut out of your expenses. Sorry, but it’s a must. Remember, you’re doing this for your family. So what’s more important? That big cable package or being there first-hand to witness your children’s milestones?
Get rid of your expensive cable package. That gym membership that you rarely use? Cancel it and while you’re at it, put a stop to morning coffee runs. Could you cut down to just one vehicle? Be honest and cut out everything you can.
2. Make a budget
Now that you know what expenses you’re left with, you need to put a budget in place. Before you can do this, you need to know exactly how much income you have to work with. So get busy adding those numbers! Once you know your number, you have something to work your budget off of. Figure out what you can afford, and what’s reasonable for your budget. Determine an exact amount for each expense and stick to it. If you budget $300/month for groceries, you can’t go over that.
Your first attempt at a budget might need some adjustments in the beginning – and that’s OK! Give yourself 3 months to perfect it. Challenge yourself to stay under budget if you can.
3. Find cheaper options
Once you’ve gotten rid of the extras, take the expenses you still have left and find cheaper options. There’s no reason you have to feel like you’re living under a rock, but you do need to find cheaper alternatives for what you already have. That $100+/month cell phone bill? You can probably get it for $35/month. That cable package you cancelled? You can get your TV fix for $10.99/month or pay $39.99 once and get all the TV you want for free.
Auto and homeowner’s insurance? Shop around other insurance companies and get online quotes. You could save yourself hundreds each year by switching companies and consolidating your policies.
Need new clothes? Shop second-hand instead of new.
You still have everything you need, but now that single income will cover a lot more. The takeaway is that it’s essential you learn to stretch every dollar as far as you possibly can.
4. Learn to live off less
Truth be told, most of us have way more stuff than we need. We live in a world of things and feel the pressure to have more of the biggest and the best. Learn to accept that it’s OK to live off of less. That it’s OK to say ‘no’. Embrace this and realize that it has its advantages; your house isn’t cluttered by a bunch of toys and miscellaneous items that you regret buying in the first place. You learn to appreciate what you do have, more. And, you’re able to stay at home with your kids because your money is being spent on what’s important – rather than more things.
CHALLENGE: If you’re unsure you could live off a single income, do a 4-month trial run of steps 1 – 4. While you’re still working, you need to know for sure if 1 income can carry your family all year ’round. Pretend that your income doesn’t exist during these 4 months. This gives you the opportunity to practice living as you would if you stayed home. Keep in mind that bills are higher in the winter and don’t forget to include random bills that are only due once or twice a year.
5. Focus on your ‘why’
This is a really important one that can sometimes be overlooked. It’s to be put in place before you quit your job and carried through to secure your spot as a stay-at-home-mom for as long as possible. Something to stop you from spending when you only have 1 income supporting your family. Think about this:
When you’re tempted to spend money you don’t have, think about your ‘WHY’. Your purpose for staying at home.
The ‘why’ is the same for all us moms; it’s because we love our kids and want the very best for them. It’s so we can watch them grow up and attend their school events. And, it’s so that we don’t have someone else raising our kids.
When things get hard, think about what you and your children would be losing if you had to go back to work because the budget wasn’t being followed. It’s a tough road, but your ‘why’ needs to guide your path.
I want to end this on a note of hope, because you might still be feeling discouraged. There was once a time when I desperately wanted to stay at home with my daughter, but as things were, it simply wasn’t an option. Both our paychecks combined were barely covering the bills. My husband and I weren’t happy with our current situation. We thought things through and made big changes for the betterment of our family. And you know what? It was totally worth it.
I’m telling you this because I was where you are.
There were times I thought it would never happen. After making big changes, it did. The key is that you have to decide what you really want in life and what you’re willing to give up to have it. Stop telling yourself it can’t happen. Start looking at your finances and see where you can cut and save. Get on the same page as your husband. Take more responsibility of your bills and start finding those cheaper options. Believe me, they’re out there. Get a budget in order and start saying ‘no’ to things you don’t need. Make being a stay-at-home-mom affordable so you can be there more for your kids.
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