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So you are pregnant with your second child. You are contemplating quitting your job to stay at home with your kids and rely on one income. How do you financially justify this move? This is perhaps the biggest question working (would-be) moms have to grapple with.
It’s challenging to rely on one income in this time and age especially if you want to live a comfortable life. To relish the American Dream you need all the necessities you can get, and that only seems possible if you have two incomes.
There is never an ideal time to quit your job if you’re a would-be mom. But if you love your child and don’t want to miss out so much on their lives, you can make the move anytime. However, you need to figure things out and consider your family’s financial status.
Ask yourself some questions.
- Is the one income enough to cater to your family’s needs?
- Can quitting your job affect your finances in the long run?
It’s natural to find yourself counting up the costs of your move. If you want to make things easier make sure to consider the costs that will rise by your staying at home – and save up for them before leaving your job.
For instance, your energy bill is likely to skyrocket so set aside some money for it. Also, consider your car’s maintenance costs and gas money for daily use, your daycare costs, and other expenses such as going out to lunch with your family, etc.
Here are some other financial lessons to learn as a stay at home mom:
Planning is Key
If you want to stay at home and spend quality time with your kids – enjoy their milestones, even – you must have a plan. And this plan must include saving aggressively before quitting your job.
Save both your checks in a savings account then solely survive on your partner’s income. Doing this will help you determine if you can survive on one stream of income. If you can, you will help increase your savings and emergency fund in the long run.
Getting acquainted with this new lifestyle can be challenging at first. But as time progresses you’ll realize it’s easy to live on less and get accustomed to it. And that’s a good thing!
Have a budget (and stick to it)
If you want to know where your money is going each month it is prudent to create a budget. And stick to it. Break your expenses into these groups to make things easier:
- Clothing (including diapers as well)
- Utility bills
Some of these costs you can cut. After all, staying at home with your kids will require some financial sacrifices. You can consider Netflix, for instance, instead of paying for cable TV.
The idea is to save money not to spend more. By doing so you will contribute financially to your family’s income indirectly.
Work from home
Working from home when you’re a full-time mom (with kids to look after) is not easy. But it is doable! You need to find pockets of time in your busy schedule to make money. That includes early in the morning or when babies are asleep or even at night.
To some moms this can be challenging, but not when you’re organized. Once you discover your family’s schedule you can work around it. Then find a stay-at-home job flexible enough to cater to your family’s needs.
What if this doesn’t work for me? What if I can’t find a reliable and flexible stay-at-home job? Start your own business!
You can Google-search the best and ideal businesses you can start while working from home. Once you find a good job, remain consistent and disciplined at it. It will take time before you can make a significant amount of money from your business. But, be patient, all goes things come with time.
Negotiate for better prices
You don’t have to pay exorbitant prices for your landline phone, car insurance, Internet or cable TV. You can renegotiate all these contracts for better rates.
Remember these companies are making money from you. It is business as usual for them, but it doesn’t have to be for you. They’re not ready to lose you as a client. Your business matters.
So call and negotiate for better rates or better yet leave for other alternatives. It is for your own good as you will save in the long run.
Use a cash back credit card
One way to save money is to use one credit card for all your purchases. Have a cashback credit card that you use together with your partner to accumulate points over time.
Pay all your bills using a cash back credit card including utility bills, diapers, clothing, food, etc. Then each month make sure to pay your statement in full and on time. Doing this helps you pay zero interest rates PLUS you’ll enjoy great cash back benefits.
If you spend money on necessities and essentials on a daily basis isn’t it worth it for you to get a percentage of that money back? The money or rewards accumulated can help pay off bills and any pending debts or monthly installment for high-interest loans. It’s a simple, smart way to contribute financially.
If you have any outstanding debt, find ways to pay it off. Otherwise, you’ll cripple your finances and that’s detrimental when you’re a stay-at-home mom.
The best way to pay off all your debts is to start with the smallest to the largest. Make partial payments on all your small debts first before you embark on the largest.
Why? Well, because it is fulfilling to know you don’t have to wait to clear a debt.
Paying off the smallest of debts first brings forth a sense of achievement unlike when trying to pay off a large debt. Having that instant gratification when clearing a small debt that helps you have the motivation to clear the largest of debts on the list, eventually.
Plan your meals
A lot of families spend so much on food especially if they’re buying food on impulse. As a stay-at-home mom make sure to plan your meals beforehand to minimize the costs of eating out as a family.
It’s good to eat out once in a while, don’t get me wrong, but to discourage this habit take time and plan your meals. At least you will know what you’re buying and in what quantity. This will save you tons of money.
To save even more on food, try doing the following:
- Buy food in bulk
- Buy a cheaper brand of food with the same quality and flavor (try an off-brand meal)
- Use filtered water from your refrigerator instead of buying bottled water
- Pick a day you go without eating meat. You don’t have to eat meat daily.
- Take advantage of a meat sale, for instance. And freeze enough for later.
- Look for coupons and specials in your local newspaper. You save a lot with these.
It is easy to thrive financially as a stay-at-home mom more than you know and even contribute to your partner’s finances. All it takes is discipline, consistency and a will to do so!
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.