How to Afford to be a Stay-At-Home Mom in 2023

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You’re probably wondering how to afford to be a stay-at-home mom in this economy.

The reality is that we aren’t living in the age of our grandparents. Back then, things were cheap to buy and the cost of living was low. So, although women staying home had more to do with the lack of equality in the marketplace, it was at least still financially feasible.

But today, as more moms are choosing to stay home, it can seem financially impossible.

Most households require dual income just to stay afloat. To top it off, one study shows that raising kids costs nearly $300,000!

So if you want to be a stay-at-home mom, it certainly needs to be something that you can afford to do.

As a mom who has transitioned from a decade-long corporate career, I’m here to share how it’s possible. So whether you’re a mom who wants to be home with your kids or one who just wants to start a home-based business, you’ll want to follow the steps that I’m sharing.

How much money does it take to be a stay-at-home mom?

Knowing how much it takes to be a stay-at-home mom is entirely dependent on your household. At a minimum, you need enough money to be able to cover your necessary household expenses.

This includes things like rent or mortgage, transportation, food, clothing, utilities, and more.

But I’m sure you want to do more than just stay at home, right?

If so, you’ll need to consider those added costs as well. So in addition to baseline living expenses, considering the cost of things like:

Add all of these expenses up. That’s what it will cost to be a stay-at-home mom.

How do you know if you can afford being a stay-at-home mom?

If you can reduce your household expenses to be covered by one income, you can probably afford staying home.

In some cases, it can save you money to be a stay-at-home mom. For instance, if the cost of child care is equal to or exceeds your salary, it may be ideal for you to stop working. In this case, you’re actually losing money.

I’m sure you’re wondering how.

Well, although you’re a working mom, you’re increasing expenses from the cost of your daily commute, having to pay for work clothes, eating out for lunch, and more! So there are cases where you can’t afford to NOT come home!

So if your husband works and you can live below your means, the you can afford to be an at home parent.

How to afford being a stay-at-home mom

Here are the steps that you need to financially afford to be a stay-at-home mom.

1. Calculate your household expenses

You’ll need to know exactly how much it will cost for you to be a stay-at-home mom. To get this value, you will need to add up all of your household expenses. Here are some expenses to consider:

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Clothing
  • Debt repayment
  • Subscriptions
  • Entertainment
  • Phone/Cable
  • Credit cards & other debt

How much does this add up to per month? This is how much income you’ll need to be able to afford to come home from your full time job.

2. Reduce your expenses

If your monthly expenses are more than your spouse’s income, then you’ll need to find ways to reduce them.

What can you realistically cut out to get your expenses down? Well, you can start by canceling any unused subscriptions and memberships.

From there, consider these frugal living tips that can help you reduce your expenses even more.

  1. Meal plan & prep
  2. Regulate your utilities
  3. Cut cable
  4. Negotiate bills

Those are just a few of the frugal hacks that you can leverage to start reducing your expenses.

3. Eliminate debt

As you reduce your expenses, a major goal should be to get out of debt.

A study done by Northwestern Mutual showed that 30% of most monthly income goes to debt repayment other than a mortgage. So if you want to relieve some of your expenses, get rid of debt!

There are several debt repayment options that you can use, but the idea is this:

  1. List out all of your debt
  2. Put extra cash toward one to pay it off
  3. Use the extra money to pay off the next debt
  4. Continue until all debt is paid off

The best time to start paying off debt is when you have two incomes. While you’re still working, find ways to make extra income so that you can speed up the repayment process.

You can pick up a side hustle, part time job, or start a business to quickly increase your income to pay off debt.

4. Save for emergencies & future expenses

In addition to paying off your debt, you’ll want to also begin saving for emergencies and future expenses.

Again, you’ll want to do this while you have two incomes. Doing so now is a lot easier when you have more money coming in.

Some things that you should consider saving for include:

  • Emergency fund
  • Retirement
  • HSA/Medical expenses
  • Vacations
  • Car repairs

Although you’ll no longer be working, it’s still important to have money saved for retirement. So while you’re still employed, max out your retirement savings and Health Savings Account (HSA) for future use.

5. Start a home-based business

One way to afford to be a stay-at-home mom is by replacing your income. So instead of going down to one income, you can either replace your full income or a portion with a business.

There are tons of business ideas for stay-at-home moms that still allow you to focus on your kids. In particular, you can consider starting an online business that allows you to make passive income. This means that you can make money without trading your time.

A few online businesses that you can start include:

6. Get all medical exams while you’re employed

If you’re not already on your spouse’s health insurance, you’ll likely soon be. Any new additions can mean higher deductibles and a higher out-of-pocket max. So, I recommend handling all of your medical procedures and checkups before you forfeit your insurance. This includes checkups for your children.

If you’ve just had a baby, you’ll have likely reached your out-of-pocket max. At this point, exams and other expenses may be free or drastically lower. If so, get those exams at much a lower cost.

And the great news is that you don’t have to worry about it for at least another year.

How to be a Stay-At-Home Mom on One Income

Now that you can afford to be a stay-at-home mom, here’s what you need to do to manage on one income.

Get on a budget

It’s important to be intentional about managing money, especially on a single income. The way that you do this is with a budget.

You’ll want to create a family budget that you use to plan and track expenses. I recommend using a zero-based budget, which you can grab in my budget binder.

Be frugal

Again, it’s important to be intentional about your spending. So look for ways to keep expenses down and save money.

Adjust your spouse’s tax withholdings

Now that you’re no longer employed, your husband may have to adjust his tax withholdings. You don’t want to pay more in taxes than necessary. You’ll want that money coming to your household.

Review this with a tax professional to understand what he should be withholding to avoid paying excess taxes.

Final thoughts on how to afford to be a stay at home mom

Being a stay-at-home mom has so many wonderful benefits and is certainly a labor of love. So being able to afford it is such a wonderful privilege. Hopefully, you’re able to take these tips and steps to make it financially possible for you to become a stay-at-home mom.

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