How to Afford Being a Stay at Home Mom
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Being a stay at home mom is something many moms or soon to be moms strive to be.
Unfortunately, many families will find themselves running into roadblocks when trying to achieve this dream.
The biggest roadblock to this goal will undeniably be your family finances.
You shouldn’t let money keep you from your dreams or your goals.
On the other hand, you have to be smart about it. But you shouldn’t let money stop you without a fight.
We want to help you achieve your goal by showing you how to afford being a stay at home mom.
*Disclosure: This site contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.
I Want to Be a Stay at Home Mom
If you want to be a stay at home mom, you’re definitely not alone. In the United States, 18% of all parents are stay at home moms.
Another way to look at it is roughly 1 in 5 of parents in the United States live in a household with a full-time mom (source).
Choosing to be a stay at home mama, while very rewarding, can be very difficult to do and to manage for a family.
Before trying to venture into this journey, you need to fully understand why you want to be a stay at home mom.
Most importantly you want to make sure it’s a decision you really want to do.
This is important because for many moms the road to a single household income or being home all day with kids and very little adult interaction can be more difficult than they might believe it is or should be.
Understand Why You Want to Be A Stay at Home Mom
There are many reasons moms and families out there believe having the mom leave the workforce or in some cases never starting and focusing on being a homemaker is important.
While we’re only focusing on a handful of reasons, you need to have this conversation with your spouse to help you decide.
You need to know why you want to be a stay at home mom, and your partner also needs to know the reason and the why.
If both of you know the reason and the why, it’ll make bearing the headaches a little easier.
For further reflection, a mentor or a supportive mom or dad friend may be helpful when reflecting and seeking feedback.
To help here are just some of the reasons why many moms and families make this decision.
1. You Don’t Want Your Child Going to Daycare
Not wanting your child to go to daycare is a reason many moms cite for wanting to be a stay at home mom.
Besides the cost of daycare (more on that later) you might see daycare as uncomfortable, and the thought of someone else raising your child bothers you.
2. You Want to Be there For All the Milestones
After seeing how emotional a mom can get over this, I now realize how important it is for some moms to be there for their baby’s firsts.
- First steps
- First words
- First front to back roll and so on.
Getting told about it by someone else and even a video is not even close to enough for many moms.
3. It’s Your Calling
When I asked another mom why she feels so strongly about being home with her child, she told me it’s her calling.
She took pride in it. She beamed and glowed as she said it.
4. You don’t want to work/less stress
Some moms just aren’t interested in working a 9-5.
They might have done it in the past, and at the first possible opportunity, they want out.
Nothing wrong with it. If that’s you, you’re at the right place.
Keep reading we’ll try to set you up for it.
5. Homeschool the kids
Homeschool for various reasons is making a comeback. The number of homeschooled kids more than doubled since 1999.
Almost 2 million students are now homeschooled according to the Home School Legal Defense Association.
Many moms and dads cite:
- dissatisfaction with the school environment
- wanting to teach morals to their kids
- not being happy with the educational rigor of schools
as reasons for wanting to homeschool.
Generally, one parent has to stay at home to be the teacher, and many moms are choosing to do so.
6. Childcare Makes Working Not Desirable
Let’s be clear, daycare and pretty much any form of childcare is expensive. I know I’ve given you a fair amount to think about. But it’s important to reflect on the decisions you make.
After doing some reflection and making sure this is the path you want to go on the next thing is the planning phase.
Why being a stay at home mom might work
Just kidding I’m going to get to that right after this section. Before that, I do want to touch on some doubts you probably have.
For many of you-you’re going to have doubts about being a stay at home mom.
Maybe your family and friends are not helping to make this decision easy for you.
But internally you could very well be thinking.
- Am I going to like this?
- What if I’m not good at this?
- What if I don’t do a good job teaching our kids?
- Can I afford to be a stay at home mom?
- What if my family can’t afford being a one-income family?
There are many other thoughts on this matter.
While this article is primarily focused on the financial side of one parent staying home, we will cover the other parts to being a stay at home mama later.
I do want to encourage you that with proper planning you can make this happen.
You see there are instances where being a stay at home parent does have its benefit.
1. Clothing Expenses
If you’re like most, you’ll notice immediate savings in the apparel department.
Without having to buy work attire or business clothes for work you can go more casual which should save you in the clothing department.
For example, I’m a registered nurse by trade. As a nurse, my usual work attire is scrubs and scrubs are not cheap.
For some, you’re going to see a reduction in transportation costs. This is enhanced if you were paying for parking or have a long commute.
Keep in mind, some moms might see their transportation costs increase if they start doing a lot of driving while they’re not working.
3. Daycare Costs
Daycare is insanely expensive. The average family could see upwards of a quarter of their household income going to pay for daycare (source).
Not paying for daycare is a wonderful benefit stay at home moms see.
That alone is instant savings.
4. Promotion of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a personal choice many families choose to do.
While you can use breast pumps and pump at work and store them in breast milk bags, it can be hard work and very taxing.
Many working moms, for convenience and ease, choose to use formula because many daycares provide it with their pay and it’s a lot more convenient.
So breastfeeding will be easier, and you’re not paying for formula.
Which by the way if you don’t know gets expensive real quick.
5. Not Eating Out as Much
Families with a stay at home parent will have more opportunities for a home-cooked meal.
This will decrease how much you’re eating out and probably save your family some money.
Now we’re ready to give you the steps to help you accomplish your goals.
Steps to Being a Stay at Home Mom
We’re going to show you the steps to start being a stay at home mama.
1. You Can Always Change Your Mind
Don’t feel like you’re trapped after making your decision! If you try it and realize this doesn’t work for your family, you can always hit the reverse.
2. Have a Conversation With Your Partner
It’s always important to make sure whenever you’re making an important family decision such as this, all parties (namely you and your spouse, sometimes kids) get an opportunity to voice their thoughts, opinions, and concerns.
Going down to a one income family can greatly impact a family’s lifestyle, so you want to make sure all sides are heard.
3. Prepare Your Family
Preparing your family involves planning for what’s going to happen.
The best way to handle this is to transition your family to start living off of the one income of the dad.
Don’t quit your job yet.
During the transition, all the money the mama’s earning needs to go into savings.
You don’t want to just quit your job when your family’s lifestyle hasn’t adjusted to living off of one income.
This way your family gets to adjust in a low-stress manner.
4. Become a Frugal Family
With only living off one income your family is going to have to learn how to become frugal. This could mean a lot of different things.
- Less eating out; or at least being smarter about where you’re eating at
- Fewer vacations if any
- More coupon clipping
- More used item purchases
- No “new” car
- No more designer clothes or other apparel items and accessories
The list goes on.
This is going to depend on how high of an income the husband brings home.
Many families will gladly make this switch because many times it’s trading material items for quality time.
5. Get Your Family on a Budget
If you’ve never had your family on a budget, you need to start.
If your family has been on a budget, you’ll need to tighten it up.
New to budgeting?
We wrote an article on getting your family on a budget.
Definitely check it out for more helpful tips and tricks to budget your household income.
6. Earn Some Income as a Stay at Home Mom
One of the best ways to afford to be a stay at home mom is to figure out a way to make some income to help supplement the household budget.
In these scenarios, you’re not necessarily looking for a full-time income.
If you think about it, depending on where you live, even a $1000 a month could be a game changer.
Some examples of jobs you could do from home are:
- ➩ Virtual Assistant (VA): Being a virtual assistant is a very flexible position. As a VA you could be helping to do some editing, carrying out phone calls or helping with minor tasks. It varies so much based on your skills and what the person or company hiring you needs.
- ➩ FIVERR: is one of the places that could be a good start if that’s what you’re interested in or just interested in project based/ small task jobs.
- ➩ Blogging: Blogging is and continues to be a very popular option for many stay at home moms.
- ➩ Graphic Designs: If you have the skills set for graphic designs, it’s a very doable job from home.
This type of work can often be done on your own schedule since many of those jobs are project based and just have to be finished on a set day.
Another alternative is to sign up to do surveys for sites like
Another alternative is to sign up to do surveys for sites like Swagbucks.
They’ll send you surveys your qualified to do. These might take you 5-10 minutes to fill out.
You’ll then receive points you can redeem for money or gift cards.
Most of those survey sites work similarly.
You are NOT going to become rich off these sites.
It might pay for your cup of coffee or something like that.
But they’re mindless activities you can do while you’re not really doing anything, watching tv, or baby’s asleep.
Your options are endless based on your skill set. Keep an eye out for a more comprehensive list later.
Related Article: 13 Essential Pre-Baby Financial Planning Advice
6. Set Up an Emergency Fund
Good Financial planning will lead you to make sure you have an emergency fund.
The typical recommendation for an emergency fund is to have at least 3-6 months of your expenses saved up for emergencies.
If you’re going down to a single income make sure to have an emergency fund saved ahead of time.
7. Pay Off Your Debt
Debt, especially credit card debt (more on this below), is a roadblock on your road to becoming a stay at home mother.
Monthly payments going to banks, and credit card companies are going to cripple the amount of disposable income your family has every month.
Ideally, you should pay off your debt before quitting your job.
Minimum, you and your spouse, need to get together and figure out what paying off the debt will look like once you come home full time.
You also need to check and see if it is doable.
8. Make Sure You Have a Tribe
My last point might be the most important. Make sure to find a community of other stay at home moms.
A community or tribe can go a long way to help you and your family make your stay at home one income venture possible.
Risks to Being a Stay at Home Mom
Unfortunately, while we listed all the wonderful things about being a stay at home mom, I believe it’s also important to list some potential negatives.
It’s at least something to think about.
1. Health Insurance
Health insurance and while we’re on it benefits, in general, are something that really needs to be considered before going down to a one income family.
If your family was using insurance from the mama’s employer, then you need to make sure the dad’s health insurance coverage meets the needs of the family.
Another thing to think about is life insurance.
Do you have your life insurance through your employer?
Many employers won’t let you take your life insurance with you after you leave.
Because of that, you want to make sure you have new life insurance squared away before leaving.
Oh and yes stay at home parents need life insurance too.
2. Risks of Being a One-Income Family
I’ve personally have had two jobs for as long as I can remember for this reason.
Do I really need the two jobs?
But it sure the heck makes me feel better. The same could be said for your family as well.
I’m fortunate that as a nurse my job is relatively safe, but I do know that’s not the case for many other fields.
For those reasons having one income is riskier than having a two-income household.
One of the ways to help mitigate some of those risks is by making sure you have a family emergency fund, which should be 3-6 months of your family’s expenses.
If you’re really worried about the risk, save closer to the 6 month mark.
3. Being a Stay at Home Mom Is Not Satisfying
There’s a chance after making the transition you realize a part of you is not completely satisfied.
Nothing wrong with you if this happens!
As I mentioned above, you can always transition back.
Just like transitioning to one income took a little bit of effort, transitioning back to two incomes surprisingly will take some effort also.
Some of your family dynamics may change again.
4. Saving For Retirement
You may only have one income, but two people are still going to retire at some point.
Unfortunately, now there’s only one income doing all the heavy lifting for retirement.
Make sure to talk to your financial expert to see how going down to a one income household will affect your retirement.
Related Article: Should Parents Save For Kid’s College or Retirement
5. Less Disposable Income
I think this seems obvious from a reasoning standpoint.
Emotionally I don’t think it really sinks in until you actually start cutting things you really like doing because it’s no longer feasible with your new family budget.
There’s definitely a risk of resentment. I’ve heard it, and you probably have too. Many times, it comes in the form of what appears to be “harmless complaining” but let’s call it for what it is.
The stay at home mom could get resentful at the dad for having an opportunity to work and having a fulfilling career and/or fulfilling life.
The working dad could get resentful towards the stay at home mom for:
- not working,
- getting to spend time with the kids
- not having to deal with a boss all day (this becomes pronounced if he really doesn’t like his job or coworkers).
Many times, this happens because of a lack of communication or not appreciating the work and sacrifice each person does and brings to the relationship.
7. Not Getting Help from the Working Spouse
Your spouse could stop helping out with chores around the house.
A conversation before the transition is best to help set up a common ground of expectations.
8. Re-entry in the Job Market Will Be Difficult
While I did mention you can always reverse and get back into the workforce, I do think it’s important to mention it might not be easy to get back into the workforce.
This is especially true if you’ve been out of the job market for a considerable length of time.
As the saying goes, it’s easier to get a job if you have another job.
While it’s not impossible to get a job after a long period of being a stay-at-home mom, it does make it more difficult as employers are wary of long work gaps.
Actionable Steps to Start Working On
I know we’ve given you a lot to think about and digest.
What I want to do now is give you some actionable steps you can start taking today.
They’re numbered but they are in no particular order.
1. Manage your Grocery Budget
You need to get your family income ready. After you stop working and your family income is down one it’s going to be really hard if you haven’t mastered a couple of things.
The simplest but probably the hardest to get under control is your family grocery list.
Stores are set up to have you come in and get a lot more than what you actually want or need.
To combat that make a grocery list and stick to it. When you walk in there if it’s not on the list, don’t buy it.
2. Gather Coupons
I’ve never been a fan of coupons. But many moms and dads swear by it.
The savings I’ve heard some people talk about though small can really start adding up.
To get them, keep a lookout for newspapers or emails sent out by the local store you shop at.
3. Kids Eat Free
If you are going to eat out try to eat out at places where your kids can eat for free or for a reduced price.
Many restaurants have this perk.
Start by searching online and asking other moms and dads.
Don’t forget to ask the restaurants you frequent regularly.
4. Look For Free Family Activities
As a stay at home mom, you’re going to be looking for activities you can do with your kiddo.
Fun family activities don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Search online to see what activities your family can do for free or on the cheap.
Some examples we’ve seen or done are:
- Activities at your local library
- Board game night
- Some cool one we recently found out is a picnic at the zoo
5. Manage Your Credit Card Use
Very few things will ruin your plans to be a stay at home mom, not to mention your family’s financial freedom, quite like a credit card.
The stress of everything else going on in your life can easily be compounded 10 folds if you don’t check credit card spending nice and early.
You need to reduce or stop using credit cards especially if you’re not going to pay off the balance in full when the bill comes.
6. Trade in or Sell Your Car
If you’re trying to focus on being a stay at home mom, but your family is carrying around a $500 a month car loan (on each car) it could make it harder.
I know it’s hard and you probably really like that car.
For some of you, it could come down to the car or be a stay at home mom.
Check and see what your financial situation would be if you traded in or sold the cars and got cheaper cars.
7. Cancel Your Cable Package
With a few exceptions, I don’t understand why so many families still have a traditional cable package.
The average TV package is about $100 a month (source).
That’s a lot of money being spent on a lot of channels you’re definitely not watching and probably don’t even know exists.
Check out internet TV packages like a SlingTV and of course Netflix to see if you can’t still watch most if not all your shows for a fraction of the price.
“How to afford to be a stay at home mom” is a question many moms ask themselves.
For many moms becoming a stay at home mom might seem out of reach.
But I hope that after reading this article you’ll see that it’s attainable by discussing and planning it out with your partner and being careful of your household spending habits.
Those two things are just the tip of the iceberg because for many of us we’re going to have to make many sacrifices.
Does it suck in the beginning?
But if staying home is your goal, it’s worth it. The steps and advice we’ve shown you will help get you there.
What sacrifices do you and your family have to make for you to afford being a stay at home mom?
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