Wondering how you can possibly afford to become a stay-at-home mom? It is possible! Check out how I'm preparing my family financially for when the time comes (and it's coming soon for me!)
Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. Just thinking about being with my babies all day, keeping and decorating a home, and being a good wife to my husband makes my heart jump. I have always felt that tug from God, as if that’s what I was always meant to do. When my husband and I started dating and got engaged, I often talked to him about my dream and how important it was to me that I would eventually be able to stay home with our future babies. Of course, being the amazing man he is, he agreed wholeheartedly and wanted it for me as much as I wanted it for myself. He has been working so incredibly hard in order for me to have that dream ever since we said “I do”.
In February of this year, that dream became real for us. We found out that we are expecting a little girl after more than two years of struggling with PCOS. I was absolutely ecstatic! My dream of being a mother was finally coming true.
But we all know that being a stay-at-home mom isn’t always flowers and sunshine. It can be hard on a family financially if you aren’t careful. That’s why many moms choose to work outside of the home, even though they desperately want to be home with their babies. They think that they can’t afford it or it just wouldn’t work out for them. But if you plan it right and are careful with how and when you spend your money, being a stay at home mom is totally doable! You just have to make a few sacrifices.
I’m 21 weeks pregnant and I’ve been preparing us financially for when the baby comes so I am able to stay home with her and live comfortably. I was a stay-at-home wife early on in our marriage, so I adopted most of these money-saving practices back then and have kept them around since quitting my job.
When deciding if being a stay-at-home mom is doable for your family, there are many factors you should consider and be aware of and the changes that are about to occur in your life, but change is a good thing! 😉 Like I said, the changes are totally doable (and some you should already be doing no matter what!) and will help you be as less-stressed as possible as a stay at home mom!
Budgeting, Budgeting, Budgeting!
My husband and I have done this since we got married and it has made a HUGE difference in our spending habits! Before we started tracking every time we slid our card, we never realized how much we ACTUALLY spent on a day-to-day basis. No wonder we were running out of money so quickly!
The top two things we overspent on were gas and food, and that food wasn't groceries. We overspent on going out to eat every night and driving 45 minutes just to get coffee (yes, the nearest Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts is that far away from us. We live far in the country). When we started budgeting, this helped us realize where all our money was going and how we could fix our spending habits.
There are plenty of phone apps out there that can help you budget, but for us it has been super easy for us to just write it all down in the notes on my phone. We set aside a certain amount after all bills are paid for gas, food, and extra stuff each week and each time we spend money on one of those categories, we subtract it from the total amount we are allowed for that week. For example, our grocery budget each week is $50 as well as our gas. Once we use up all of that money that week, we take it out of our extras. Once we run out of extras, we are done for the week. No more spending! It really helps keep us accountable and prevents us from going into debt. Once you stay at home and are living on one income, budgeting makes it easier to keep you from going overboard. Before you decide that staying home is right for your family, sit down with your husband and go over your bills and how you will budget.
I’m still trying to figure out how to fit this into my husband’s work schedule since he currently works evenings and isn’t home for dinner. I hate cooking for just me, but it gets expensive (and unhealthy) to go out every night! So, I’m trying to do better at this. This will definitely help you save money on your food budget and keep you healthier. My advice: cook EASY but yummy meals and don’t try to be too fancy when it comes to what you make. You will get overwhelmed and you’ll give up and go get takeout, and that leaves you spending even more money. This can work if you do it properly! Also, there are a TON of meal planning printables on Pinterest if you need a little help putting things together! I like this one from Frugal Mom eh!
We went through our bills/utilities to see what we could cut out or reduce
We had to ask ourselves, do we REALLY need Dish network for almost $100 a month when we could get Hulu and Netflix and spend less than $25 a month? What about those extra gigabytes of internet on the phone? As we were doing this, I tried to keep in my mind how much I wanted to stay home with my baby and how little the TV and internet mean to me in comparison to that. That really kept things in focus for me and helped me make those sacrifices. Remember, this is time with your babies we are talking about here. The internet can wait!
We also talked about how we could reduce our necessities every month. Like making a goal to turn the lights off every time you leave a room, or turning off the water when you’re brushing your teeth. These things are small, but can make a difference over time. Even a simple talk with your insurance provider to make sure you are getting the best policy and plan for your family takes all of an hour (if that) and could save you lots of money. I’ve also heard that you can call your phone provider and haggle with them a little to get a better deal. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask right? Whatever bill you are coming up short on, try talking with the company to see what they can do to reduce it. You might be surprised what it can do.
Also, check around your house to see what you don’t need anymore. Do you have a house phone? Do you pay for a trash service (when you could take it to the dump yourself)? Consider cutting those things out.
We switched from Dish to Roku
Like I was saying before, this saved us LOTS of money each month, and we LOVE it! We bought a Roku system for our TV and signed up for Netflix and Hulu monthly. Netflix and Hulu are much better than Dish because we can watch episodes of any show whenever we want. You definitely won’t regret switching over! Just be sure Netflix and Hulu have the shows you love before cancelling your cable.
I’m still working on this (I’ve never really been good with coupons!) but they are a great way to save a few bucks on groceries. You don’t have to go crazy with them. Most of the time I will search for only a few things because I honestly don’t have time to spend hours a day clipping coupons. I’ve used coupons in the past and loved how much money they have saved me, so I want to get back into them before the baby is born! Also, shop with a Plenti card or go to places that have a rewards system for buying groceries. Sign up for the store card and that gives you discounts automatically.
Get a job working from home
Disclaimer: this isn’t for everyone. I tried a work from home job and it didn’t work out with my schedule, but this post is all about helping you and giving you ideas of how you can afford to stay home with your babies so I’m giving you all the options I can! There are TONS of companies hiring stay at home reps for various different positions. Check out this site for a whole list of em! If you have experience with kids (any at all) and you have a love for teaching, QKids would be a great option for you! I tried this for a few months and really liked it. No teaching degree is required either! Starting pay is $16-20 an hour and they have several morning and evening hours to choose from. If you are interested, send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org and a quick 2 minute video of yourself explaining your credentials (any experience you’ve had with kids, what education you have, etc) and read a short kids story (make sure you are enthusiastic and talk to them just like you’d talk to the kids!). Definitely list me as a reference! Madison9945 is my teacher ID. It’s a super easy job and also super fun. I hated that I have to give it up!
Cut up the credit cards
This has been a huge payoff for my hubby and I. We are so debt prone and easily just swipe the card even when we know we don’t have the money to pay it off right then (yes honesty time is here ha!). So we decided to cut them all up and throw them away! It’s helped us pay off debt and watch our spending. It’s been a huge relief for us.