5 Ways to become a stay at home Mom
Survive on one income?
Having kids is a beautiful journey many choose to have. Life with children is not easy but it is well worth the struggles. However, in this day and age it is extremely difficult for moms (or dads) to be a stay at home mom with their little ones and survive on just one income. My husband and I are no different. We required two incomes from the moment we got married.
When my husband and I decided to try for baby #2 we assumed my mom would watch the baby during the day while we worked (as she had done with our oldest until starting school). Sadly and suddenly my mom passed away shortly after we started trying (I was actually pregnant when she passed but I lost the baby two weeks later – my first of 3 miscarriages).
Even though my mom was no longer here we pursued trying for another baby but with the realization that we no longer had anyone to stay home during the day with it (hiring a nanny was not an option as that would engulf my entire paycheck). We knew I would need to become a stay at home mom (my new dream). It took 1.5 years before our beautiful second daughter was born and in that time we used these steps to ensure we could afford for me to stay home with her.
1. Pay off debt
I know that’s vague and not easy but it will be almost impossible to be a stay at home mom if you have a mountain of debt (this is not including a mortgage). We started with the credit card that had the lowest balance (I know financial advisors tend to advise paying off the highest interest cards first but in our situation paying off the lowest balance worked better). Any extra funds were put towards that card. Once that card was paid off we added that $30/month payment to the next lowest balance debt which was my husband’s car making the monthly payment $330/month instead of $300/mo. A few months later that car was paid off. That freed up $330/month to put on the next debt. Now a credit card that was getting $40/month was now getting $370/month. ($330+$40). We just kept this system going. Once something was paid off we added that to the next. Using this method we paid off $12k worth of debt in under 2 years.
2. Put 6 months worth of bills into savings
When debt is paid off the next most important thing in my opinion is savings. Once on one income a car repair or broken hot water heater is more devastating. We made sure to set aside a minimum of 6 months’ worth of funds for all bills including mortgage, utilities, gas, etc, just in case of a lay off, strike or our income drops to $0 for whatever reason.
How did we set that much aside? While I was still working we pretended to live on my husband’s income only (as we would soon be doing anyway) and put my pay into savings. We also set aside 2 years worth of tax returns. With those choices we saved more than our goal which has come in handy (example: an urgent shower repair, our refrigerator died and my car needed new tires – all in the same week. That was a rough week!). As we dip into savings for those unexpected expenses the balance does drop but when we get our tax return we put that right back into savings.
3. Cut expenses like cable and eating out
I knew we needed to cut cable as the price was honestly ridiculous for the services we got but I was reluctant to take away channels like Disney Jr and Nick Jr from my kids. None of the ‘stream’ services provide both in the same service. I was also worried about getting rid of our phone in case of emergency. Ultimately I caved and dropped the cable and phone and just kept the internet service. Our bill went from $150/month to $65/month. Honestly, we don’t even miss the cable. We already had a Netflix subscription and we just utilize that more, along with Amazon Prime Video (free with our prime membership), YouTube, and our own DVD collection. Oh, and a bonus to cutting the phone service… no more telemarketer calls 20 times per day to wake up the baby! Yesss!
We also eat at home most nights to eliminate the cost of eating out. If we do want something we order it to go. The same meal is so much cheaper if you don’t get appetizers, drinks, or have to pay someone a tip. Anything that could be cut out of the monthly expenses was cut. Now we only have mortgage, utilities, groceries, toiletries.
4. Shop discount, sales, and coupons for everything
When it comes to buying anything I try to never pay full price. I shop for sales, go to discount stores and use coupons. Taking your time to research the items you need will also save you a ton. When we need anything I research it online and in stores to see who has the best price. I also use Walmart’s Savings catcher app to scan my receipt and it will find any lower price on my items and give me the difference back as store credit. Usually that results in about $100 back each year that I use towards Christmas gifts or birthdays or baby gear.
I also use the Ibotta app to get money back on things I already bought. It’s a little at a time but that has also netted me about $100/year that I can put onto a gift card. That’s not bad for just scanning my receipt. Amazon has become a major shopping source also. I’m kind of a hermit already but if I can get a cheaper price without having to go anywhere I’M IN. Even if the Amazon price is the same as the store price I will still use Amazon to save on the gas usage.
5. Set up a side income if possible (or part-time/weekend job)
I am just now starting with this, hence this blog ;). Obviously being home with a baby prevents me from a 9-5 home job like phone customer service (I’m assuming a kid screaming or crying in the background isn’t a good thing) but I’m hoping this blog venture can provide just a little extra income. Fingers crossed! Even if it doesn’t I’m still enjoying it as my new hobby. Another option is an evening or weekend job. I haven’t found one that would work for me and my family but there might be options that work for others depending on their area and skill set.
Your dream is possible
So that’s my list of 5 things we did to help me accomplish my dream of being a stay at home mom. I know what you’re saying… ‘Lady, this list is “easier said than done”’, Trust me I know. But with hard work it is doable and in some cases necessary to accomplish your goal of staying at home with your kids. Everyone’s situations are different and these might not work for you but these are the steps me and my husband took with success. Going down to one income does kind of suck when it comes to giving things up, I can’t lie. But being home with my kids is 100% worth it. I have happily been at home with my toddler since she was born and she’s 20 months old now.
Staying at home isn’t forever. Our kids will be off to school before we know it (one of mine already is) and we’ll be back to the traditional work force again one day. But for now let’s hold on to these memories if we can and truly cherish them.
Good luck and I hope these tips help you in any way reach your dream to become a stay at home mom. If you are a stay at home mom (or were in the past) feel free to share any thing that is helping (or helped) you accomplish that goal so that we can all support each other in our similar dream (positivity only please).
These tips are my own opinion and what worked for me and my family. I am not a financial advisor.
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