One of the first things you have to figure out when you
realize that you want to stay home with your kids is whether or not you
can afford to do so. You are probably used to living on two incomes, so
making the switch to a single income may not be easy. However, it may not
be as hard as you think.
If you have children already, the first thing that goes
away when you decide to stay at home is the cost of daycare. However, if
you work at home, part of that cost may remain, unless your work is such
that you can keep the children home with you. Take a look at how much of
your income right now is going to daycare. That cost alone may prove to
you that you donít need a high-paying work at home job to stay home Ė a
simpler one may suffice.
There are several other costs that will drop if you stay
at home. Youíll be in a different tax bracket. Youíll probably drive less,
eat out less often and you wonít need clothes for work, which can save
both on shopping and on dry cleaning bills.
When youíre figuring out how much it costs you to work
outside the home, donít assume that becoming a stay at home or work at
home parent will cause you to stop eating out. You will have those days
where you decide to take the kids out, more likely than not.
One thing many parents forget to think about when they
decide to stay at home is to handle retirement planning. Now, if youíre
just staying home for a year or two, itís probably not a big deal, but
if you plan on staying home for many years, this can be a huge impact on
you when you do retire. You may not have the finances to fund your retirement
account well when your family is living on only one income, but you should
try to do at least a little. See my article on retirement planning for
stay at home parents for more information.
Use this information to figure out what you will need
to earn while staying at home. Some will be fine as a single income family,
but others will need the stay at home parent to earn some kind of income.
Ideally, this will be a relatively small amount, as the whole point of
having a stay at home parent is to have more time with the kids and benefit
them, not maintain a freely spending lifestyle. However, if a single income
isnít enough, a work at home job or home business will likely become necessary.
Figure out how much income will be necessary and how much
risk you are willing to take. Work at home jobs are harder to come by,
but home businesses are by their nature more risky, and it may take a few
years to earn an adequate income from a business. Plan accordingly, and
know that you might not be able to live your preferred lifestyle right
Fortunately, by the time you take out the costs of working
outside the home, you will likely find you donít need to earn what you
used to. Half or even less of your previous income may be quite adequate.
It may require sacrifice, but thatís what being a parent is about.
About The Author
Stephanie Foster is the owner of Home with the Kids,
a resource for stay at home parents. To learn more about being a successful
stay at home parent, please subscribe to the newsletter at http://www.homewiththekids.com/newsletter/.