Are you considering becoming a stay-at-home mom but afraid you won’t be able to afford to? I certainly understand your fear.
Living on one income can be tough for most couples, so it’s a good idea to figure out if you can afford to be a stay-at-home mom before giving up your career.
Before you continue, read this article to decide if you’re ready to become a stay-at-home mom. In it, I include a quiz that you can take to help you make this decision.
In this article, I will share some of the ways you can manage your finances so that you can afford to be a stay-at-home mom.
Read on to find out!
How much income should my husband make for me to be a stay-at-home mom?
The amount of money your husband should make for you to become a stay-at-home mom depends on the number of kids you have and where you live. In a survey of 587 stay-at-home moms, the result showed that the majority of their spouses make between $61,000 – $70,000 dollars and $91,000 – $100,000 dollars a year.
If you have more than one kid and live in a very expensive city, then you would need more money to sustain your lifestyle.
See the chart below for a visual explanation
If your husband makes less than the average for most stay-at-home moms, then you may be feeling discouraged.
Try not to compare yourself to others because it is still possible to afford to become a stay-at-home mom, even with a low income.
Below I share some of the strategies I use to reduce our monthly expenses so that I can afford to stay home with our kids.
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How to afford to be a stay-at-home mom
Have a monthly budget and stick to it
One way to afford to be a stay-at-home mom is to budget for every important thing in your life. As soon as the paycheck comes in, sit down with your spouse and set a budget for every dollar you earned that month.
The simplest way to budget is to use the cash envelope system. Check out this article where I explain in detail how to use the cash envelope system. I also include a weekly expense tracker that will help you monitor your spending better.
One rule of thumb for allocating money in your budget is to use the 50-30-20 rule.
50% percent of your monthly paycheck should go to fulfilling your NEEDS/NECESSITIES. These include food, housing, utilities, car payment, health insurance, etc.
30% percent of your paycheck should go to your WANTS. Things that make you happy, like shopping, going out, eating out, traveling, etc.
20% percent of your paycheck should go towards your savings. You can put that into a savings account, stocks, bonds, and other investments if you want.
When you follow this simple rule to budget every month, you’ll be able to manage your finances better and stay home with your kids.
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Learn how to manage your finances
Women find it hard to become stay-at-home moms because of a lack of financial education. Learning how to manage our finances isn’t something that’s taught in school anymore.
This means most people will go through high school and college without knowledge of personal finance.
As stay-at-home moms, it’s extremely important that we learn how to manage our money so that we can live on one income.
This is why I recommend taking a personal finance course. You can take a college finance course if your local college offers it.
You can also take an online financial literacy course such as FinancialFit. It’s a wonderful online course that teaches you all about managing your money.
Some of the topics covered include managing debt, building credit, and budgeting as a couple. I definitely recommend it for new stay-at-home moms. You can check out the course here.
Learning how to manage your finances will help you figure out how to afford to be a stay-at-home mom.
Find ways to save on gas
Another way to afford to be a stay-at-home mom is to find ways to save on gas. Depending on where you live, you may need to own two cars to get around your neighborhood.
Car payments aren’t the only things to worry about when you own a car. Buying gas is another expense that will eat into your monthly income.
Some ways to save on gas include:
- Using gas station apps like GasBuddy or GasGuru to find low prices in your area. Some gas stations might offer a discount when you pay with cash instead of cards (source)
- Drive less when you can. Consider doing a big shopping trip once a week instead of taking multiple trips to the store to get a single item.
- Ride a bike, take the train, or bus if you live in an area where that is possible.
- Slowing your speed when driving will reduce your gas usage.
- Use less A/C and put down the window instead.
Finding ways to save on gas will definitely help you afford to be a stay-at-home mom, and live within your means.
Find ways to save on groceries
Groceries are another expense we have to worry about each month. You might need to spend a lot on groceries depending on the size of your family.
So finding small ways to save money on food will go a long way to help you afford to be a stay-at-home mom.
Here are some ways you can save money on groceries
- Buy groceries in bulk
- Buy items when they’re on sale
- Buy less meat
- Use a food bank
Check out the article I wrote on 11 simple ways to save money on groceries. It will help you learn to stretch your food budget.
Find ways to save on clothes
We all know that children grow up faster than we want them to. If your kids are younger, then they’ll grow out of their clothes faster. This is why we need to find ways to save money on our kids’ clothes.
You can save on clothes using thrift stores like Salvation Army and Goodwill. You can also shop for clothes off-season. Buying a jacket in the summer will be cheaper than buying one in the fall or winter.
Some other ways to save on kids’ clothes include buying items on sale and buying bulk sizes from the Facebook marketplace.
When you save on kid clothes, you can add the savings to your other budget categories. This will help you afford to be a stay-at-home mom.
Find ways to save on healthcare costs
Healthcare is one of the most expensive parts of a budget. If your spouse is lucky enough to have health insurance from his employer, then you and your kids will be covered.
For some families, employer-provided health insurance is still expensive because of high deductible costs.
This is why finding ways to save on healthcare costs will be crucial in being able to afford to be a stay-at-home mom.
Here are some things you can do to save money on healthcare costs:
- Always buy generic brand medicine
- Go to the emergency room when needed. By law, you can’t be refused treatment if you can’t pay.
- Get an HSA account or use an FSA if your employer offers one. Both HSA and FSA are pre-taxed dollars you can only use for medical purposes. FSA is created for you by your employer, while HSA can be opened by you (source).
- Use telehealth visits when possible. These are usually free with no copays. The doctor that sees you can also prescribe you meds if needed. Telemedicine also helps you save on gas.
- Go to a free clinic if there’s one near you. They may be able to provide general care and give you some prescription medications at low or no cost.
- Check your Medicaid eligibility. You may qualify for Medicaid depending on your annual household income and family size. Make sure your check with your local Medicaid office.
Things to stop buying to save money
Consider living a frugal lifestyle in every aspect of your daily life. That’s the most important way you can afford to be a stay-at-home mom.
To live a more frugal lifestyle, there are things you need to stop buying to save money. These include takeout and fast food, soft drinks and sodas, takeout coffee, etc.
Check out the complete list of 21 things you need to stop buying today to save money.
Get a side hustle
Every stay-at-home mom should have a side hustle. It won’t just help you make extra money, but it’ll also help boost your mental health when you’re earning some money.
One good thing about side hustling is that you don’t need to have a set schedule. You can do it on your own time whenever you want.
Some side hustles you can start doing today include selling stock photos to companies like Adobe Stock, doing grocery deliveries, Uber rides, etc.
Finding the right side hustle will help you afford to be a stay-at-home mom. Check out this article to see some unique side hustles you can do to make money.
Start a small business
If you’re brave enough, then consider starting your own business. Having your own business will set your family up for financial freedom.
Don’t let the idea of starting a small business scare you. There are businesses you can start today that are fully online, and require no inventory in a warehouse.
Some fully online small businesses include dropshipping, affiliate marketing, selling digital downloads on Etsy, and print-on-demand clothing.
You can also start a work-at-home small business where you can control your work hours. Some work-from-home small businesses include doing hair, nails, makeup, babysitting, etc.
Make sure to read this article to see the full list of online and work-at-home small businesses for stay-at-home moms.
Save for unexpected expenses
Unexpected expenses can definitely throw your monthly budget off if you don’t plan for it. To afford to be a stay-at-home mom, you must plan for these unexpected expenses each month.
If you own your home then one unexpected expense to save for would be your appliance and plumbing repair. You also need to save for car repairs and emergency medical treatments.
You never know when the dishwasher will stop working, and your toilet will start backing up. These are things we can’t live without so you must save for their eventual breakage.
If the money you save for repairs around your home doesn’t get used that month, you can add it to another budget category.
Keeping a tight budget and planning for unexpected expenses will help you stay home with your kids.
Learn to fix things yourself
One of the most important things you can do to save money is to learn to fix things yourself. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to learn to fix appliances that break around your home.
There are tons of Youtube videos that’ll teach you how to fix different issues with your dishwasher, washer, and dryer.
You can find tutorials on how to fix almost anything online.
Consider learning to sew so you can make clothes for your kids and yourself. You can also learn to mend clothes so you don’t throw out things just because they’re ripped.
If you pay someone to mow your lawn, now’s the time to try to do it yourself.
Learning to fix things on your own will help you save enough money so you can afford to be a stay-at-home mom.
Final thoughts on how to afford to be a stay-at-home mom
If becoming a stay-at-home mom is your dream, then don’t let the money scare you. I’ve met stay-at-home moms who survive on $45,000 dollars a year and do just fine.
You will have to tighten your budget and spend less on things you want, but it is doable. Use the strategies I listed above to help you find ways to save money.
I hope this article has answered your question about how to afford to be a stay-at-home mom.
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