Wondering how to be a stay home mom? Here are my best tips.
I proudly watched as my Hubby crossed the stage wearing his cap and gown. It was tough work to put him through college while we both worked full-time jobs and raised our son, but it paid off!
A week after the celebration, I gave birth to our second boy. I dreamed of being able to stay home with him. But we just weren’t in a position to make it happen yet. I had to be content with a long summer off with my boys instead.
By the time I was pregnant with our third child, we knew that it was time to get serious about making my stay at home mom dream a reality. I just wasn’t good at juggling work and home life. And that paycheck I was earning was barely covering the costs of my work.
I was due in June, so we had an entire school year to make our preparations. Today, I’m going to share with you how we made this dream come true.
The 6 Steps I Took to Be a Stay Home Mom.
Want It the Most
This sounds silly, but it’s the most important step. How much do you want to be a stay at home mom? Is it more important to you than owning the latest gadgets and being a member of nice clubs and groups? If you refuse to do without cable tv or make other sacrifices, that’s ok. But it’s important to admit it before you quit your job and go into debt to fund the same level of life.
Living a champagne lifestyle on a Coke budget doesn’t work.
Some people don’t want to afford it. Be honest with yourself. If you don’t really want to be a stay home mom, that’s ok. If everyone was the same, life would be boring.
Get Out of Debt
The next thing we did when learning how to be a stay home mom was to get completely out of debt. (Yes, we later made the mistake of getting back into debt, but that’s another story.) At the time, it was very important for us to go into this new phase debt free.
So we found a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class to take and got serious about paying off all of our debt. It was actually a fairly manageable amount that we were able to get rid of within a few months.
Once we decided that I’d be staying home, my paycheck became extra money. So we used most of it to pay down debt. (We couldn’t use all of my pay, because there are expenses associated with going to work. And that brings me to…)
Calculate the cost of your second income
You probably know that you have to reinvest some of your paycheck back into your job. But do you know how much?
We found that expenses like these cut my income dramatically:
- Childcare (If you’re expecting your first, you’ll want to price this to help you make your decision.)
- Transportation: This includes a whole list of things from gas to parking passes to owning a second vehicle. Some choose to do without a second car so that Mom can stay home. Not driving to work will save you a good chunk of change by itself.
- Food: I don’t know about you, but when I was a working mom we ate out a lot. I was too tired to cook most days. I also bought expensive convenience foods. Most of this can be cut out in favor of simple meals when you are home. I’m not promising you won’t be tired! But being home gives you the ability to throw food in the crock pot anytime during the day.
- Clothing: You might need to buy a uniform, nice work clothes, or specific materials that help you with your job. The good news is that the stay at home mom uniform is whatever you want it to be!
- Dues/Fees: If you plan to go back to work at some point, you’ll want to do your best to keep up with certificates and licenses to make that an easy transition. But you may find that you can eliminate dues or fees to certain organizations and groups while you are staying home.
Start living on one income now
Before you give up your second income, practice doing without it now. I calculated how much I was bringing home after paying for childcare (and other work related expenses), and we threw that money into our debt. Once that was paid off, we put that money into savings. You’ll want a cash cushion in a savings account before you put in your notice.
You’ve worked it out and have a plan for staying home. Great! But if you want to continue to stay home (rather than scrambling to find a job to keep up your lifestyle) you’ll need to embrace frugality.
The word frugal has taken on a negative feeling, but it really shouldn’t be that way. To me, being frugal isn’t about cutting corners and being cheap. I’d define it as being extremely intentional with your money.
For instance, frugal people save up to buy a quality item rather than grabbing the cheapest one (and then having to buy it again a few months later when it breaks).
Consider working at home
If you do your calculations and find that you’re still coming up a little short, try to make up the difference with a work at home job.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll be able to get a lot of work done while you’re home with the kids. That magical nap time isn’t a guarantee. Rather, look at your schedule and see if there’s a time that your partner can watch the kids while you work.
The beauty of most work at home jobs is that they’re flexible. You can work whenever you can fit it into your schedule. But you do have to be able to get it done! So be realistic.
- transcription (General transcription doesn’t require any schooling if you have a good grasp of grammar and can type well.)
- become a virtual assistant
- do a smaller, freelance version of what you did at your day job
- start a blog (Be aware that it typically takes a year or more to make any income from a blog!)
- customer service via phone
- random odd jobs for some spending money
If those don’t fit your schedule, you can still consider babysitting or pet sitting. You can do those things while watching your own children.
These tips will help you learn how to be a stay at home mom and if it’s a possibility for you.
Our third baby was born in late June. Because we followed this plan, I was able to give my notice just a few days later. I’ve been a stay at home mom for nine years now, and I’ve never regretted it. If you share this dream, I encourage you to give it all you’ve got!
If you’d like some extra help with saving money, be sure to sign up for my newsletter! My subscribers get extra money saving tips that I don’t share on the blog.
Are you a stay home mom, or do you want to be? What have you done to make that dream come true?