Many times when people ask me what I do, I get mixed responses when I explain that I’m a stay-at-home mom. Some people are a little put off by it (which is totally fine), while others look at me as if I have stumbled upon this lucky coin in life. “I wish I could stay at home with my babies too, but we need my income”, is usually the response I hear.
For some individuals, staying at home is not a choice because they do need the extra income. However, when another mom tells me how lucky I am, I can’t help notice that they have a nice iPhone, new and trendy clothes, as well as a pricey SUV. None of these things are bad, but my point is that staying at home and living on one income does require a bit of sacrifice. That lucky coin is not be attributed to luck after-all.
Here are the two questions I asked myself when I wanted to stay at home with my kids, and still make sure the bills were paid.
What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?
My husband and I are definitely blessed to live comfortably on $61,000 yearly income, and live in an affordable area in California. With that being said, we don’t have a lot of extra fun money, as living in CA comes with a higher cost of living. We’ve turned down travel opportunities, fun purchases, and extra toys, in order to prioritize other spending goals. And yes, there are definitely months when it feels like there are more bills than paycheck.
However, if being a stay-at-home mom was ever threatened, I would sacrifice even more and cut back on more costs. I would go without a smartphone, our Hulu Plus subscription, and a second car if I had to. I would sell as much extra stuff in my house and reduce our grocery bill as much as possible. But I’m willing to do all of this because staying at home with my kids is a huge priority to me.
If you want to make staying at home with your kids a reality (and it’s your priority), then sacrifices will need to be made. That’s all there is to it.
Here are some sacrifices you might have to make in order to become a stay-at-home mom:
- Downsizing your home
- Downsizing your vehicle
- Sharing one vehicle
- Simplifying your grocery menu and shopping sales
- Cutting cable, internet, Hulu/Netflix, and pricey phone plans
- Selling extra toys or furniture that is not a necessity
- Avoiding purchasing new items (opt for used instead)
- Cutting kid’s preschool/school and extra activity costs
Looking at that list is hard. Everything listed might be difficult for you to cut and do without. But I suggest those items for those who are serious about wanting to stay at home.
Sometimes we look at our situation in life and complain because things can’t change. The reality is, we just aren’t willing to make the sacrifices in order to enable the change to happen.
What Are the True Costs of Not Being at Home?
Working outside the home may be costing you more than you realize. When my husband and I first discussed having me stay at home, and what that would look like, we weighed all the options. We talked about what our finances would look like if I did get a “real job”. We would easily be making over $100,000 a year as a family, and it would be nice to live without too many financial worries.
However, if I were to break down what it cost me to work outside of the home, I didn’t find that it was worth it. A nice preschool or daycare can cost you almost $1,000 a month! Then you have to add in the costs of traveling, new work attire, fast food splurges, and more. After all is said and done, I realized I would only be making $4-5 an hour.
The small amount of income-per-hour was not worth it being away from my kids, and I decided I do not want to work outside of the home. I wanted to stay home with my children, and homeschool them when they’re older.
If those are not your priorities, then you and your family have to discuss the best decision for everyone. However, if you are one of the moms wishing you could stay at home too, don’t just wish it would happen — do something about it. Take a hard look at your finances and find out what can be cut and what you’re actually making after all the added expenses.
I truly believe that staying at home with your children, is definitely a possibility for those moms wishing they could. But as I mentioned, it will take some work, discussions and calculations to get there.
Are thinking of becoming a single income family, and want to be a stay-at-home mom? What are a few things you might have to sacrifice to make it work?