If you’ve decided to take the leap to stay home with your kids, that likely means you’ll be living on one income. With this huge change, someone in the home has to know all the ingoing and outgoing expenses.
Being a stay-at-home mom comes with a host of responsibilities. According to salary.com, the median annual salary for stay-at-home moms is $184,820. But did you know that part of these responsibilities includes being the Chief Financial Officer?
That means you’ll likely be establishing and keeping up with the family’s budget.
Being a stay-at-home mom certainly has its benefits, but it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows. There are important factors to consider.
Living on one budget can be super challenging!
You and your family will likely have to make some lifestyle changes to make it work. It could mean eating out less or cutting out unneeded monthly subscriptions.
It will take time to adjust to the changes, but keep in mind your desire to be a stay-at-home mom. This will motivate you to find ways to make the budget work for everyone.
Get everyone mentally prepared and onboard in advance for the upcoming changes. If your kids are used to going out to eat weekly and going to the movies, gently tell them that they won’t be able to do that as often.
Depending on their maturity level, you can explain to them why the changes are being made but reassure them that you’ll make the change as smooth as possible.
For example, if you can no longer eat out, you can let them bring the restaurant home. They can play waiters/waitresses or even help cook the meals.
You can also incorporate new habits to replace the movies, like having a family game night at home.
Let the family know that although things will change, it doesn’t mean the fun will end. You can think of creative ways to make it fun in a different way.
Once you have the mindset shift that you will have to give up some things that you’re used to and start putting them into practice, it will get easier.
Communication is Key
Take time to sit down with your spouse to discuss the expenses to prevent disagreements in the future. Decide what you can eliminate from your budget and what you will keep.
Here are things to consider when having this discussion:
- What do we want our lifestyle to look like now that we have one income?
- How much should we keep in our emergency savings?
- Do we have any major expenses coming up soon?
- Will we be able to contribute to paying off debt?
- What will insurance premiums look like on one income?
Understand that budgeting is a process. Reassure one another that you will try to be supportive and communicate throughout this journey, whether temporary or long-term.
Be prepared for unexpected expenses and set realistic goals for the family.
Benefits of Living on One Income
Initially, your feelings of overwhelm by establishing a new budget may be discouraging, but there are several benefits to living on one income and being a stay-at-home mom:
- You will have more time with your kids to watch them grow and develop.
- You won’t have to worry about taking off work for appointments.
- You won’t have to commute to work, which can save on gas and lunch expenses.
- You will feel more connected to your home and family, which is something you will grow to cherish and value.
Once you have this important conversation with your spouse and are confident that the benefits of staying home outweigh the negatives, focus on these top tips when you begin budgeting:
Top Tips When Establishing a Budget:
After living on a budget as a stay-at-home mom, I have some top tips that helped me and our family stay on track and not have any financial stress from this decision. Here are my top tips:
- Cancel subscriptions
Yes, you may have to give up Netflix binge-watching, but think about how much money you can save in a year, not just monthly. That truly puts it into perspective.
Grab a Sunday paper and search online for coupons for your favorite stores. You’ll be surprised how much you can save with the consistency of couponing.
- Shop Wholesale
If you have a wholesale store in your area, like Sams or Costco, stock up on items like toothpaste, laundry detergent, snacks, etc. If you can afford to buy meat in bulk to freeze, this can also help save money.
- Shop consignment for kid’s clothes
Not only is this a great way to save money, but you’ll also feel better knowing you’re not spending too much money on clothes that they grow out of and wear through so quickly.
- Shop around for discounts
This could mean that you call around different cell phone companies to see which one is cheaper.
If you’re under a contract and it’s almost up, consider talking with your current cellphone company that you’re interested in switching. You’ll be surprised that many will want to work with you by giving you a cheaper rate.
Customer satisfaction does still exist.
- Use fuel points
Start shopping at a store that gives you fuel points for shopping with them. Every little bit helps. If you save $.30 per gallon on a 15-gallon tank, it will add up to a chunk of money saved over time.
- Meal plan
Write down the meals you plan to make for the week and go shopping for those specific items. Focus on using staples in your pantry to help plan your weekly meals.
Choose stores with the best deals and where you’ll get the most bang for your buck with your coupons. This way you can shop for what you need and prevent getting items you don’t need.
- Use a cash envelope system.
The Budget Mom has a wealth of information and tips on how to use the cash envelope system, so check her out. These tips will be sure to get you on track, and in no time you will have spending habits that align with your budget.
Alternatives To Your Fixed Budget
There are other options to just staying at home. You can also consider working from home to help with the income.
That way you get the best of both worlds – being home with your kids and bringing in extra income.
The extra set of income can put you and your spouse at ease so you can continue doing things you enjoyed doing, or you can use it to add to your emergency fund or pay off debt.
Whatever you decide, remember that there are other options to help you bring in additional income.
You can do the following to earn extra income:
- Sell items on Facebook Marketplace
- Start a blog and get into Affiliate Marketing
- Freelance Writing
- Sell a product on Etsy
- Become a Virtual Assistant
Find a Community
As mentioned, this process will not be easy – it’s ever-evolving. But, there are so many SAHMs who are responsible for managing their budget, too.
Surround yourself with like-minded moms in your community who have the same goals and expectations. You may also find some extra tips to help improve your budget and tips on how to earn extra income.
The most important part is to keep your head up and enjoy the ride. Establishing a budget will be another thing you master as a mom. You are about to partake in a beautiful journey that will be hard but so worth it.
After it’s all said and done, you’ll know that you’ve made the right decision!
What are some changes you made when establishing a new budget?
About the Author
Hi. I’m Sharonda Jackson, author of A Dozen Hands. I’m a wife and Stay-At-Home mom of 6. I help moms manage the chaos that comes with large families by providing homeschooling tips, delicious recipes from the heart, and parenting hacks.