Today we have a guest post from Max of Tried and True Mom Jobs. Max started Tried and True Mom Jobs to provide stay-at-home moms with legitimate job opportunities that pay well and offer the flexibility to raise their children.
How can I financially justify quitting my job to stay home with my kids and depend solely on one income? That’s the question I had to entertain when I became pregnant with my second child.
In this day and age, it seems only natural to have two incomes in order to live “well” and have all the necessities that come with enjoying the American Dream.
My family volunteered to watch my first child at no cost to us, but adding another child to the mix was pushing it.
Looking at our income, it was not an ideal time for me to quit my job but I was determined to stay home with my second child because I had already missed out on so much with my son.
If you’re considering leaving your job and have found yourself counting up the costs, be sure to include the money you will save:
- Gas and car maintenance from driving to and from work every day
- Daycare/childcare costs
- Going out to lunch and more
Also, consider the costs that will rise by staying home like your energy bill.
Financial Advice for Stay-at-Home Moms
I’ve learned a lot staying home with my kids and want to share what I’ve learned financially.
1. Have a Plan
I knew I wanted to stay home with my kids after I had my daughter so we started saving aggressively. We wanted to see if we could really live on one income, so we did.
We put my checks in our savings account and lived solely on my husband’s income.
This not only helped us determine if we could live on one income but it greatly increased our savings account and emergency fund.
This forced us to live on less and get accustomed to this new lifestyle.
If you want to stay home with your kids make sure you can afford it, which brings me to my next point.
Create a budget and know where your money is going. How much money do you spend each month? I break my expenses into groups like:
- Phone Bill
- Clothing (includes diapers)
Check out these really great saving tips here.
Decide what you can live without but just because you are staying home with your kids does not mean you need to give up contributing financially. That brings me to my next point.
3. Find Ways to Make Money from Home
Being a Mom is a full-time job, YES! But you can find time in the morning, nap time, and at night to make money. I’m not saying working from home is easy with kids, it’s not, but it is doable. It also forces you to be more organized to make it work.
For example, my kids are napping right now which gives me time to work without the mom guilt.
I make money from home blogging, if you are disciplined and persistent I think running a blog is the absolute best way to make money from home as a mom.
To see this awesome series on how new bloggers got started, check it out here.
I also think doing something to make money is good for you. It’s important to have some outlet for yourself.
4. Renegotiate Your Contracts
Do you have cable, internet, car insurance or a landline phone? If you have not attempted to negotiate a better rate in the past year, do it today.
Companies would much rather keep you than lose your business altogether. Call and see if you can negotiate a better price or consider leaving if it means you will get a better deal somewhere else.
We did this and easily saved over $100 a month.
5. Use a Cashback Credit Card
We have a cash back credit card and we use it on everything: food, clothing, diapers, bills, etc. The more money we spend the more points we accumulate, so that’s why we use one credit card.
We pay our statement off in full each month so we don’t have to pay any interest and take advantage of all the great cash back benefits.
We spent over $500 of our rewards on Christmas gifts last year and we’re currently back up to $654.15.
You already have to spend money on essentials, so why not get a percentage of that money back?
You can use this money to pay off any debts, bills, or whatever works for you. It’s free money as long as you don’t spend what you can’t afford.
6. Pay Off Any Debts
As a stay-at-home mom disposable income is very important. If you have any outstanding debt and you can find ways to make extra money try putting some of that money toward your debt.
I’m a huge advocate for not paying interest if you don’t have to because you are just giving that money away. I really like Dave Ramsey’s Snowball approach.
For those who don’t know what that is, it’s essentially paying off your debts from smallest to largest. Make the minimum payments on all your debts except the smallest. Pay as much as possible on your smallest debt and then repeat these steps until all your debts are paid in full.
I love this phrase message about the Snowball approach:
“Doing the debt repayment hustle can sometimes be like fitness: Everyone starts out motivated in the beginning—but if you don’t see results soon, you might become discouraged and start thinking about quitting.
Improving your finances isn’t something that you want to give up on.
Although some people can handle delayed gratification, most people wouldn’t choose to intentionally put themselves in that position if they didn’t have to.
Thankfully, the Snowball Method rewards you as you continue to crush each of your debt repayment goals.
It does so in at least two ways:
- By focusing on your smallest debt first, you won’t have to wait as long to hit your first big achievement (compared to when trying to pay off a large debt).
- By increasing your monthly payment amount as you go along, the method helps ensure that you keep up as much momentum as possible.”
Do you get a tax refund? Use that to pay off any debts. We did this each year until we paid off my student loans and car loan. We are now debt free, living our best frugal life.
7. Meal Plan
Food is one of the easiest ways to spend money, especially if you act on impulse. It’s important to take time and plan your meals to discourage going out to eat and stopping at fast food restaurants.
Consider the following:
- Search your local newspaper for coupons and specials. This might sound like common sense, but you’d be amazed at how many people just throw these away without looking at them.
- When there is a sale on meat RACK up on it and freeze it until you’re ready for it. Meat is usually the most expensive thing we purchase for groceries.
- If you’re not a vegetarian, try having a Meatless Monday or pick a day not to eat meat.
- Buy in Bulk. Do you have a Sam’s Club or Costco membership? You may find better deals at your local grocery store for certain items, but there are some bulk food store prices that are so hard to beat.
- Lighten up on Brand Loyalty. It’s ok to try an off-brand, they have very similar flavors and a smaller price tag.
- Do you buy bottled water? Stop! I realized I could just use the water filter on my refrigerator or use a water bottle if I want to travel with it. Bottled water doesn’t cost much, but it does add up over time.
And finally, use Ibotta. Get paid for items you are going to buy anyway.
Here’s how it works:
- Download the Ibotta App and before you shop, add offers on great products by completing simple tasks on the app. Buy the products you selected at any participating store.
- Redeem your offers by taking a photo of your receipt. Ibotta will match the items you bought to the offers you selected and give you the cash!
- Your cash back will be deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours.
As a woman, you can accomplish more than you know. We hold a lot of weight on our shoulders but we were built for this. You can be a stay-at-home mom and thrive financially, I know because I’m doing it.
I hope these financial tips were helpful and will encourage you to take the leap, a very prepared leap.
Can you afford to stay home with your kids? Consider these financial tips to get there.