It breaks my heart when I hear of moms who long to stay home and raise their kids, but can’t afford to because of their family’s financial situation. Moms who dread dropping their kids off at daycare every day but have to because they don’t see any possible way to make it by on one income. The moms have no other option than to work full time at a job they don’t love, but long to stay home with their kids. Learn how to afford to be a stay at home mom here.
Many moms don’t believe that being a single income family and staying home with their kids is an option, no matter how much they wish they could.
I want to tell you that, if you and your family are willing to make some changes, becoming a single income family IS a possibility (and I want to help you get there).
Here you’re going to learn how to afford to be a stay at home mom – even when living off one income doesn’t look possible.
I have always longed to be a stay at home mom, long before I even got married or was thinking about having kids. My husband and I have been incredibly blessed and I have been able to be a stay at home wife for many years now, and just recently as our family grew, I have been able to be a stay at home mom.
I have been able to stay home not because my husband makes a big income (in fact, it’s quite low. Being a stay at home mom on a LOW income IS possible), but because we have decided that me being a stay at home wife and mom was more important to us than living an expensive, luxurious life.
You might be thinking it’s impossible for you to stay home because that means your family would be going down to a single income, and your husband’s income might not be very high. Living as a single income family on one low income is possible, and I want to show you how we do it.
How to afford to be a stay at home mom (even on a low income).
Before we look at how to afford to be a stay at home mom, let’s take a quick look at a couple ways stay at home moms SAVE money, simply by staying home.
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How stay at home moms save money by staying home
1. On daycare
Stay at home moms can keep their kids at home with them, therefore significantly cutting monthly costs.
The average cost of daycare for one child in the US is $1,000 a month.
$1,000 A MONTH
That’s what the average family pays to have one child in daycare. The price may vary depending on where you live, but when you quit your job to become a stay at home mom you will undoubtedly save money by keeping your kids home with you.
2. On transportation
When you become a stay at home mom you will no longer have a dire need of having two vehicles.
While you most likely needed two vehicles when you were working so you and your husband could both get to work (unless you took public transit, which you will now save on, too), when you stay home you can sell one of your vehicles.
This will save you money on car payments, fuel, and vehicle maintenance.
My husband and I have been a one-car family for 2 years now, and even though it was an adjustment at first, it has been one of the best things we’ve done.
Being a one-car family will take a lot more planning on your part (if you or your kids have appointments, you will need to plan in advance so you can drive your husband to work that day), it will save you a significant amount of money.
My husband and I bought all our vehicles used and with cash, but even though we didn’t have monthly car payments to make we were still able to save around $5,000 year by becoming a one-car family just on fuel, maintenance, and insurance.
3. On food
Moms who work out of the home all day are very likely exhausted and don’t want to come home and have to make dinner after a long day of work.
This results in grabbing take-out for the family for dinner more often than necessary, simply because they’re too exhausted to cook. (I don’t blame them! When I was working outside the home my husband and I ate out WAY more than we should have.)
Stay at home moms can save money by cooking wholesome, homemade dinners every night for their family to enjoy.
One way that my husband and I were able to save a LOT of money ($700/month) on food was when I started meal planning.
Simply by planning out our meals in advance and only going to the grocery store ONCE a week, we were able to save over $700 a month, which is pretty significant.
Those are just the top three ways that stay at home moms can save money simply by quitting their job.
There are many other ways that women can save money by quitting their jobs like spending less on clothing (when you work outside the home you likely have to keep up a certain type of appearance and spend money on dry cleaning), stay at home moms can also save money by switching to cloth diapers and exclusively breastfeeding their babies, if that’s an option for them.
Now that we’ve gone over what you can save by quitting your job, let’s go over how to afford to be a stay at home mom.
How to afford to be a stay at home mom in 9 steps
1. Make a budget
To ensure financial security, you and your family should already be following a budget, but if you’re not, it’s time to create one.
A budget will help you see exactly how much money you have coming in every month (it’s a good idea to create a “mock budget” before you quit your job. This mock budget would be created as if you were living off of one income already by only accounting for your husband’s income on the budget), and exactly how much money you have going out every month.
It also shows you where your money is going, and it allows you to see where you can cut costs every month.
Following a budget is extremely important, especially when you’re living on one low income. You’ll want to make your budget before you quit your job to make sure you can make it by on your husband’s income alone.
If you’re looking at the budget you have created and you see that you have more money going out each month than you have coming in, you will want to look at your monthly expenses and find places that you can cut costs and get rid of bills altogether.
2. Get rid of unnecessary expenses
Expenses that are wants, not needs, should be considered for removal if you really want to be a stay at home mom and make living on one income possible.
Necessary expenses, or needs, are expenses like housing, transportation (but, being a two-car family isn’t usually a need), and food (but you should look into bringing your food bill down with meal planning).
Unnecessary expenses, or wants, are expenses like cable, monthly subscriptions, entertainment, etc.
My husband and I have never had cable in the life of our marriage. Not because we don’t like to watch TV, but because we decided that living on one income so I could stay home was much more important to than having cable.
But, we do still get to watch movies, and we make this affordable by sharing a Netflix account with a couple family members and splitting the cost.
You can also use a service like Amazon Prime to watch TV shows and movies. (Try Amazon Prime FREE here.)
Other unnecessary expenses could be things like magazine subscriptions or a landline. My husband and I don’t have any subscriptions (except Netflix), and we don’t have a landline phone.
Since we both have cell phones, we decided that we had no need for a landline phone, and save an average of $50/month because of that.
3. Start meal planning
As I mentioned above, when you quit your job you can drastically bring down your food bill for the month by cutting out how much you eat out.
But, this bill isn’t going to magically drop in its own. You have to be willing to put in the work to bring this bill down.
Meal planning is one of the biggest reasons that my husband and I are able to live off of one low income. In fact, meal planning saves us $700/month on groceries alone (and we’ve lowered our eating out costs by strictly following our budget).
When you start meal planning you can save money on eating out AND save money on your grocery bill. Meal planning allows you to always know what’s for dinner (so you aren’t tempted to stop in at your favorite take-out place), and it will help you save money on groceries by only buying WHAT YOU NEED, and only going shopping once a week (at most).
Even if you don’t think meal planning is right for you, it can be. When I started meal planning, I hated it at first. But, after figuring out how to effectively meal plan, I’ve grown to love it and I could never imagine going back to not using a meal plan.
(Plus, I have way less stress this way. No more having to spend hours trying to find a single dinner idea. Do you want less dinnertime stress?)
4. Become a one-car family
It’s no lie that having two cars is just easier. But, it’s also a LOT more expensive.
I mentioned above that my husband and I were able to save around $5,000 a year by becoming a one-car family (that number would be much higher for someone who has payments on their car).
While being a one car family is definitely more work (if I need the car for the day I have to drive my husband to work and plan my schedule so I can pick him up on time), it has been very worth it for us.
Becoming a one car family didn’t only save us money on the vehicle end of things (fuel, maintenance, and insurance) but it also saved us money by cutting down on the amount of time I spent in town.
When we had two cars I would make unnecessary trips into town just because. And with those trips, I would spend unnecessary money… just because.
I would end up going to the grocery store more than once a week (I would often go several times a week), and I would buy clothes and other items that we didn’t need just because I was in town and… why not?
I understand that some families may not be able to be single car families for various reasons, but if there’s no reason other than it being an inconvenience for you, becoming a single car family can save you a good amount of money each month. (Which will help you afford to be a stay at home mom!)
5. Shop around
Shopping around can save you a lot of money month after month. Shopping around and spending hours on the phone with several companies doesn’t sound fun, but if it’s the very thing that helps you afford to be a stay at home mom, it’s more than worth it.
Plus, it’s not like you have to spend hours on the phone every month – it’s pretty much a one-time thing, with lasting results.
The surprising thing about shopping around is that you can often get a significantly lower rate than you’re getting now, just by making a couple phone calls.
I was able to lower my cell phone bill by making a simple phone call to the company. I didn’t even have to shop around for this one.
Most companies want to KEEP their customers, and they want to keep them happy.
You may be able to get a lower rate on your phone bill and insurance by making a quick call to the company, explaining that you’ve been a customer for theirs for however many years, and asking if they can offer you a lower rate.
Most companies will gladly look into lowering your rates for you. If they can’t offer you a lower rate, you can start to shop around and see if any other companies will offer you lower rates.
Don’t settle for the first thing that comes around. By shopping around for better rates you could save yourself a couple hundred dollars a month.
6. Downsize your house
The biggest monthly expense most families have is housing costs. Many people buy far bigger houses than they need, which causes their monthly bills to be astronomical.
Not only is your monthly mortgage payment higher when you live in a more expensive house, but your utility bills are much higher, as well. (It costs more to heat and cool a big house than it does a small one.)
If it’s an option for you and your family, consider the thought of downsizing your house. Do you really need a 2,500 square foot house, or could your family live comfortably in a 1,100 square foot house?
If you are determined to live off of one income, but the main reason why you can’t is because of your housing costs, downsizing your house is a very viable option.
7. Downsize your car
We talked about becoming a one-car family, but what about when it comes to that one car that you DO have.
If your family is small enough to fit into a car and you don’t need a truck to haul anything, downsizing from a truck, SUV, or van to a car will save you a lot of money in fuel costs each month.
I understand that some people do need to have a truck, SUV, or van for various reasons, but if your family doesn’t need one, selling that vehicle and getting a car will help you be able to afford to be a stay at home mom by cutting costs.
8. Find free activities to do
Since my husband and I became intentional with our finances, we have learned that there are a LOT more free activities around for couples and families than we realized before.
Since we can’t afford to pay for many activities, we’ve been extremely thankful for the number of free activities there are around. Plus, finding new free things to do has been a fun challenge.
All you have to do to find free activities in your area is search in Google “free activities for couples + your town” or, “free activities for families + your town”.
Libraries often offer a lot of free activities for kids, which is a great opportunity for you to meet new moms in the area, or drop your kids off and have some you time (plus, it doesn’t cost a dime).
9. Bring in a side income if possible
Supplementing your husband’s income by utilizing your skills to bring in a small income from home is one way many stay at home moms make it possible, even when finances are extremely tight.
If you have a knack for reading, becoming a proofreader could be a good way to earn some extra income from home, while being a stay at home mom. (Sign up for a free proofreading workshop here.)
If you’re particularly good with writing and grammar, becoming a freelance writer from home could be a good option for you. (Click here to learn more about freelance writing.)
Maybe you have skills in the area of social media, email and project management, content production and bookkeeping. If you enjoy doing all that stuff, becoming a virtual assistant would be the perfect fit for you. (Click here to learn more about becoming a virtual assistant.)
Another option is selling products on Amazon. Did you know that you can make a good living by selling products on Amazon? I didn’t, before learning about The Selling Family. If you want to start a selling business from home, click here to sign up for a free course to help you get started.
And, of course, the BEST way to make extra income from home (in my biased opinion), is blogging. But, blogging isn’t for everyone – one of those options we talked about above might be a better fit for you.
You can also click here to learn the secret blueprint for blogging success (for free). This is the course I took that helped me take my blog from earning nothing a month to earning a full-time income in one year. Click here to get on the waitlist.
What are your tips on how to afford to be a stay at home mom on a low income?
I’d love to hear from you!
Here are a couple more resources I recommend that have helped us afford to be a single income family on a low income:
- Eat at Home Meal Plans. These meal plans help you use up the food you have, create meals on a budget, and in turn, can save you hundreds of dollars every month on groceries alone.Using the meal planning strategy in these plans is how my husband and I cut our grocery bill from $1,000 a month to $300 a month. Click here to learn more.
- Grocery Budget Makeover. The GBM also helps you save money on groceries every month by providing you with a combination of grocery shopping, meal planning, and couponing methods to help you cut your grocery bill significantly (Erin, the course creator, was able to cut her family’s grocery bill in half). Click here to learn more about this 5-week Grocery Budget Makeover course.
- MyFreezEasy. I started using MyFreezEasy to learn how to properly cook freezer meals (there ISa right and a wrong way to freezer cook… who knew?!), and I have been loving it. I was able to make 20 freezer meals in ONE evening – that means that our freezer is now stocked with 20 healthy, homemade meals that are ready to be used on nights that I don’t have time to cook. If you’re interested in freezer cooking, you can learn more here.
Do you feel ready to take on the challenge of affording to be a stay at home mom – even on a tight budget and a low income? I’d love to hear your stories!