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Preparing Financially to Become a Stay at Home Parent
For as long as I could remember I always wanted to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to go to PTA meetings, be there to chaperone field trips, go to soccer practice, menu plan, grocery shop, and manage the home. The dream has changed a bit since we homeschool the concept of being home with the kids is still the same. Thankfully Hubby and I have been able to make this come true.
We got married we weren’t very smart money wise. Basically everything we paid for the wedding went on a credit card. We were young and didn’t care much about budgets and such. But I knew I always wanted to be a stay at home mom so once we found out we were pregnant we had to sit down and figure out if we could make that happen. Then when hubby was deployed when our son was just a few weeks old we didn’t have a choice BUT to make it happen (long story)
So here are the steps we took that have allowed me to become a stay at home mom for the last 6 years!
- Get on the same page. If one of you is frugal and saving money and on board but the other is spending money and not on board this will not work. Sit down and do your budget together, consult each other for EVERY purchase, even that extra coffee while you’re out grocery shopping.
- Look at day care. This might seem a bit contradictory. But take in to consideration the price of day car and the cost of gas to your job. Will you actually be making money? In our case I would have only been making $50 a week profit and I really didn’t see the point of being away from my kid for $50 a week. If you make more than your spouse you might want to consider having you spouse stay home and keep the higher income.
- Put your income in savings. Before one of you leaves your job take that paycheck and put it ALL in savings and see how well you do without it. This will get you used to living on one income and build a great emergency fund.
- Put money in savings. This is a must. You MUST have a savings, an emergency fund. With kids things happen, they get sick, hurt, they break items, outgrow car seats, the list goes on and on. As they get into school they are masters of forgetting to tell you about a fee needed for this or that so having a little extra money set aside is a must. Not to mention thing for you and your spouse!
- Take a Look at Expenses. Where can you cut some money out of your budget? Don’t think small either! You need to calculate the expense of diapers ect, Your electric will go up since you are at home more. Yes you can save on groceries here and there and at my one tip to save $1200 on groceries will help out but think bigger. If you have 2 cars and 2 car payments, get rid of one! You will be staying at home you can take your spouse to work and pick them up when you need the car. Cut your cell phone down to a pre-paid plan, cut your cable and switch Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
- Make a Budget. Budget your income each month. This is a must, make sure you bills are paid and see where you money is going. You should know if you can afford to take your child to that Gymboree class or not before you do it, not just guessing.
- Get rid of debt. Make sure to pay off as much debt as you can before becoming a one income family. The less debt you have the more freedom you will have! Make extra payments on your debt pay more than the minimum.
- Stock up. Is there a sale on diapers this week? Buy extra to last for a few weeks. We started stocking up on diapers and wipes so we didn’t have to stock up at full price. When chicken goes on sale? Stock up to last several weeks then plan your menu around it. We have shelves threw out our house of stock up items so we aren’t paying full price. You don’t need to go ‘extreme couponing crazy’ just enough for a few weeks will save you a crazy amount of money!
- Make Extra Money. While you at home doesn’t mean you can't contribute to the house hold income! I know many stay at home parents who will watch a neighborhood kid or two every week during the day for parents that work. You can bake or can items and sell on local Facebook groups, like the girl here who makes action cookies and sell them across the country right from her own kitchen! You can make crafts and sell them on Etsy or shop thrift stores and re sell items on eBay! I started this blog and doing Social Media Work and bring in extra money. You can also check out my 45 Ways to Earn FREE Amazon Gift Cards. Don’t write this off you can buy almost ANYTHING on Amazon, save up and buy birthday gifts, and Christmas gift from the gift cards you earn and it won’t have to strap your budget. I use these and shop Amazon Pantry and lighten our grocery budget.