Anyone a SAHM with a household income of around $50k in a HCOL area? — The Bump
Stay at Home Moms

Anyone a SAHM with a household income of around $50k in a HCOL area?

I apologize for the faux paus, posting about income, but it seems to be the only way I can truly get an idea of whether I can be a SAHM or not. I am not yet pregnant but I am thinking ahead on this. I would love to be a SAHM when the time comes but my DH has recently decided to change careers and become a teacher, so he will be LUCKY to start off making $40-$45k a year (in our area).

Many of my friends that are SAHM say that you always find a way to make it work etc, but I just dont see how it will be possible for us. We live in a relatively HCOL area so the thought of making ends meet on around $2k a month seems downright impossible.  

Also, right now we are working hard to pay off some debt and get some very necessary home improvements done so we really need both of our current incomes to meet these goals.....we cant save my income now to use later when Im not working. 

Any advice? Anyone in a similar situation and making it work?

Thanks!

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Re: Anyone a SAHM with a household income of around $50k in a HCOL area?

  • It really dependso on what your monthly bills and expenses are.  Total them up, and decide what is necessary and what you could cut out.
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  • I am not a ft SAHM, but I work pt to make ends meet.  We added up all of our bills and just could NOT make it on my DH's salary alone (and he makes more than your DH is expecting to).  We live in a tiny TH and don't really have a lot of luxuries, and it is still hard on close to 6 figures.  We have no car payments, although we do send a decent amount of money to savings/retirement accounts monthly.  If we cut that out (which we are NOT willing to do), things would be a lot less tight.

    It sounds like you are already a homeowner, so renting a tiny apartment most likely isn't an option.

    You could look into things you could do pt, maybe.  Some women have jobs in the evening or take in other kids/nanny.  I have a pt job through a friend of mine who runs her own company.

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  • I agree with PP.  Of course, you could always consider moving to a LCOL area... I don't know how feasible that is though.
  • Thanks everyone. Your response is kind of what I thought, but Ive run into so many SAHM that seem to think that no one in their right mind would send their kids to daycare that I started to wonder if I was indeed out of my mind for being resigned to using day care! Obviously the folks on this board are a bit more realistic than the people Ive met in person.

    Im still going to do as the pp suggested and write out our absolute bottom line budget and see if part time work might get us by, but Im skeptical at this point. Thanks though, I appreciate the honesty. 

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  • For a few months you need to keep track of every penny spent, even if you are buying coffee in the morning.  Create a spreadsheet and every night input all your daily expenses and any bills that were paid that day.  This will give you a black and white look at where all the money goes.  Once a baby comes of course you don't eat out as much or go out as much so those expenses will be cut.  But then all the baby expenses come into play diapers, formula(if you choose not the breastfeed)..etc.  The numbers will tell you if it's feasible or not. 
  • i am trying to become a SAHM when the time comes in June.  since you are both working now, use as much as you can to pay down your monthly bills, and think about what you can live without.  i'm willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means getting rid of my new car.  you'll have to make some sacrifices, but you CAN make it work.  you can also try and make some cash at home as well.  and visit the money matters board, you can learn a whole lot over there.  gl!
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  • a agree w/ the bare bones budget to see what you would need to live on.

    the other thing i would suggest: put off trying for children till you get your main debt paid off (granted not everyone can do this due to age, problems, infirtility, etc.). and lower your cost of living NOW, try to minimize your expenses starting now, instead of "when the baby comes" or when you know you are expecting. getting into a routine of pinching those pennies now will help you in the long run (and you can do it gradually instead of all right now).

    once you are expecting, put your ENTIRE paycheck in a savings account, spend NONE of it. you'll get an idea of what you will need financially that way. but if you are saying you can't do it now w/o a baby, then the added expense of a child will definitely put you over the edge and you'll have to work (part time at minimum). 

    good luck! SAH is not for everyone... and not everyone can. 

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  • yes. we do and we live in one of the HCOL cities in the country. ?it can be done. ?you just have to decide what is important to you and we have cut back a lot on extras, but i think it is worth it. ?i am, however, looking for a part-time WAH position to supplement DH's income so we can have a little extra spending money.
  • DH is a social worker in a HS.  This is his second year.  With coaching, he willk make ~$45K this year.  We determined that I need to make $500/month for us to live somewhat comfortably.  We could cut out ~$150 of that if absolutely necessary (eating out, cable, gifts).  Our mortgage is $1550/month, no insurance included in that.  I tutor online to make the extra money.  If you find you only need 500 or so per month, you could probably work part time while your DH is home, especially since he won't have real late hours teaching.  Let me know if you'd like to see our budget.
  • Absolutely!  It's all about making sacrifices and being realistic.  Ditto pp - track your expenses!  We have one car, and a small house but it's worth it to me.  We don't have much spending money, but being at home with my son is worth any sacrifice I'd have to make, IMO!
  • I just saw you live in Drexel Hill!  I was just looking at a house there online last night!  Small world. :)
  • I live in Seattle, right in the city, and my husband makes $43,000/year. It is all about what you are willing to give up and how important staying at home is to you. We saved up the last few months I was pregnant. We only have one car, we only have limited basic cable ($12/month), we don't eat out or go to movies. We make all our meals at home and DH takes his lunch. We have netflix for entertainment, or we just go walk around the city and go to free festivals on the weekends. We shop at thrift stores for clothes. We cut all of the processed crap out of our diets (and grocery bill) and cook totally from scratch, which is way healthier and WAY cheaper. It was an interesting adjustment to go from making over $90,000 combined then down to $43,000, but it was that important to us that I stay home. You will never get these years back to be with your child, and I don't want someone else raising my child and being with them more than 9 hours a day.
  • Such a great post and I hope more people chime in because we get this question on this board a lot; soon-to-be moms are considering SAH but just aren't sure they can do it and are curious how others are managing. 

    I live in the San Francisco, CA area (one of, if not the Highest COL areas in the Country) and our annual household income is much higher than $50K.

    But, to answer your question, to be helpful, I did a quick calculation just to see if we could make it on $50K:

    We could rent a tiny 2bed/1bath somewhere far out in the East Bay for $800-$1100 but the gas for DH to commute would end up costing $300 a month!  Taking into consideration our other necessary utilities (gas, electricity, water & trash) and other monthly expenses, we could live on $50K but it would require a TON of sacrifices like cutting out cable, our home phone, getting rid of luxury items like our IPhones, DH's games, guitars and his collector's car that he's restoring.  We couldn't buy new clothes, get haircuts very often and forget ever eating out or traveling back to Texas to see our friends & families.  Just to be honest, we don't have any debt, we own all three of our cars and paid off our student loans last year... and having only $50K a year wouldn't allow any money to go towards debt nor retirment. 

    So, I guess the point of my post is to say that, after doing the calculations based on US not having any debt, moving to a cheap rental and only having $50K to live on here in the San Francisco, CA area... it is doable!  :)

    Best of luck making your decision!!!

    eclaire 9.10.06  diggy 6.2.11

  • You will be amazed at what you can do with a little sacrifice. We don't live in a HCOL area but we do live in a major metropolitan area where DH needs to commute downtown, etc...but I just wanted to chime in and say YES it is doable. BUT if you want to be able to have extra cash, you may want to do something from home or pt, or if you really want to cut your COL then you might consider moving to a less expensive area. DH is making just over the 50K mark and we are making it. Still, we want to be able to go out to dinner or have a vacation, and save for retirement, etc..so I am working on my medical transcription certification to start doing that from home for extra $. Also he is going back to school for his masters so he can make more too. It is all about what you and DH are willing to do in order to make it happen. But you CAN do it if it was you really want to! So don't be discouraged, just pay down your debt as quickly as you can, save up so you won't be stressed, and see what you can cut out of your budget and then stick with it : ) You'll have a very happy baby in return : )

  • image als33:
    i am trying to become a SAHM when the time comes in June.  since you are both working now, use as much as you can to pay down your monthly bills, and think about what you can live without.  i'm willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means getting rid of my new car.  you'll have to make some sacrifices, but you CAN make it work.  you can also try and make some cash at home as well.  and visit the money matters board, you can learn a whole lot over there.  gl!

     

    I agree with Als33 about paying down the bills, thinking about what you can live without, and the fact that you can make some money at home as well.

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  • I am a SAHM but DH makes about twice what you mentioned. He is in the software industry and teaching college part-time. ?
  • Have you thought about a home based business?  It's a great way to be able to stay home while still making money.  I'm a Mary Kay consultant for that very reason.  I'm not a mom yet but once I am, I want to be able to stay home and since my DH is a teacher, I will need some income.  This was the perfect option for me!  Best of Luck!
  • image littlemermaid:
    For a few months you need to keep track of every penny spent, even if you are buying coffee in the morning.  Create a spreadsheet and every night input all your daily expenses and any bills that were paid that day.  This will give you a black and white look at where all the money goes.  Once a baby comes of course you don't eat out as much or go out as much so those expenses will be cut.  But then all the baby expenses come into play diapers, formula(if you choose not the breastfeed)..etc.  The numbers will tell you if it's feasible or not. 

     

    I agree we are in the same boat (not pg but thinking about it) and so every night or so we sit down and put in every penny. It has helped us also to see where we are wasting money and if we will be able to save anything right now. I hope it works for you, I am struggleing to dfind solutions everyday so I can stay at home. There are also great books out there about staying homw and how to make it work.

  • I'm not in that situation yet but may be soon.  DH recently found out he's being laid off but is free to re-apply in the company.  Hopefully he will find a place to hang on and probably even at his current level of management but it won't likely be in NJ or in his old area of the company.  That translates to a pretty good salary drop and the loss of his company paid personal vehicle.  We are going to see how it shakes out and see what we can cut to keep managing on one income no matter what it is.  We have some wiggle room and I think if we really make an effort we can do it.  And hopefully he will not have to stay there and make less for more than 6 months to a year before he can transfer or move up.
  • I think it really depends on your current bills, debts and what you are willing to give up.

    DH makes more than that, but we could definitely make it on $50k. We live in South Jersey which is expensive to live, but not super HCOL.   We havent had to give up much, so there is definitely room for cutting back in our budget. We dont have a huge house, one car is new/one is paid off. We dont eat out a lot, etc. Basically, we live below our means.

     The best way to know for sure, is to pur your income in savings and see if DH can handle the bills.  GL!

  • I really don't know how it would be possible, but I'm sure like most things, you could make it work if you really had to.

    We live in a HCOL area, and determined that to be somewhat comfortable DH needs to bring in almost three times that amount, which he just about does.  I am currently a teacher and we are putting all of my income for this school year (only Sept-March when my paychecks stop) into savings.  We already have a decent amount in savings, so we know that we will have plenty of back up if we need it.  I can't imagine quitting my job with nothing in savings.

    Also, it really depends on your debt and expenses.  Everyone's situation is different, regardless of where they live and how much income they bring in.  We have two older cars with no car payments, we paid off grad school as we went so no student loans, and we have no cc debt.  The only debt we have is our mortgage ($3 k per month).  If we had other debt to pay off it would definitely make it more difficult.  Things like home improvements happen very slowly in our house.  We currently want to redo our very old 1940's upstairs bathroom, but we are waiting until next summer after DH gets a bonus. 

    You really just need to sit down and write out all of your monthly expenses and see if it is possible.  If not, maybe you can get a part time job now, since you aren't even pregnant yet, and start putting away every dime of that extra income. 

    Good luck!  If you really want to make it work you'll find a way!  :-)

  • When I quit to SAH, we lived in a fairly HCOL area, owned a home (fixer upper) & my DH made about $40K.  We had my student loans ($300/mo) to pay too.  He soon got a few raises & now 4yrs later makes twice as much, but we took the leap of faith & it has actually worked out a lot better than I expected.
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  • Posts on this board always seem to have a great lag time, so I don't know if anyone will be following up on this again.

    But I think a big thing to consider, which I haven't heard anyone mention is just because you're paid $45-50K a year, doesn't mean that's what you're bringing home. Health insurance is often taken straight from the paycheck, 401K, and worst of all, taxes.

    We sat down and did our budget last week and that was one of the things we had to figure in.

    I'm working from home and the scariest thing for me is that my income isn't a guaranteed figure each month. That's what's freaking us out. We're still trying to make it work, though.

    But, like I said, be sure you're budgeting with that take home pay! Oh, and we're right in the same area, so I have a small idea of your COL. One of the things DH does is commute to his job (it's easy because he's working in center city, I don't know about your situation). Anyway, cuts down on gas and parking and other car expenses.

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