How do you make it work financially? — The Bump
Stay at Home Moms

How do you make it work financially?

(Let me apologize in advance if this gets long!)

I go back to work in 5 weeks and am physically ill at the thought of leaving DD.  I have panic attacks about it daily.  While I do enjoy my job (most days) I would give anything to SAH with my daughter.  DH and I haven't really sat down to discuss it because he thinks there is no way we can do it financially.  I want to at least give our finances a look. 

Here is what is standing in our way: we live in a very high cost of living area and we would be giving up 50% of our income if I SAH (DH and I make about the same amount).  We would also be giving up great benefits - I get free family insurance where I work and as a teacher I get great retirement as well.  I don't know if DH would be willing to change our lifestyle very much - at least not things like giving up cable, etc.  We are also carrying about $50,000 in student loans. 

However, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make it work.  I'm willing to do things like cutting coupons, cutting back on eating out, not buying new clothes for DH and I, etc.  We only have 1 car payment, and plan on keeping it that way as long as nothing happens to DH's car.  We're also planning on moving back to our hometown as soon as the housing market picks up (right now we'd take a huge loss on our house, which we can't afford).  Moving home would cut about $600 off our mortgage (but DH would probably take a pay cut).  Also, when we move home my mom and MIL could each watch Adelynn for a day each week, allowing me to get a part time job to bring in some money.  I could maybe even get a 1/2 day kindergarten position and she could stay with our moms in the morning.  While I don't want to put her in daycare I'd be completely comfortable leaving her with her nanas for a few days each week. 

I'm also thinking about applying at tutor.com or brainfuse.com to bring in some extra money.  I know one of my DH's objections (and one of my biggest fears) is that I'll lose my retirement...and teachers really do get a nice retirement package.  However, I would probably go back to teaching once all of our children are in school full time.  But, I'd have to continue taking college classes to keep my certificate up to date - not the easiest thing to do on one income.

What other things have you done to cut back?  Did you sit down with a financial advisor before making the decision to SAH to make sure it would work?  Any advice you have is greatly appreciated...I need to do my research before I approach DH about looking at this more closely.  I have to finish out this school year anyways (I would never leave my principal in the lurch halfway through the year) so we have some time to really look into it before making a decision.  Thanks!

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Re: How do you make it work financially?

  • We're also going to be paying about $1200 a month for daycare - so that would be a huge savings if I stayed at home with her!
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  • You need to track your spending dollar for dollar and see what you could cut out.  It was  different for us because I was making such a crappy salary that after daycare and other work expenses, I wasn't really bringing home that much.  And healthcare is a huge  expense, if we didn't have such great coverage through DHs company there's no way we could have managed.

    I did go back to work after a few weeks, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined it would be.  No matter what you guys do, you and the baby will be fine.


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  • I hated being away from my son with a full time job, so my husband and I made the decision for me to go to a part time schedule. However, once we looked at the cost of daycare ($75/day), gas, and tolls, it wasn't even worthwhile for me to work outside of the home. I've also started working a few hours a day from home which brings me an extra $1000/month, which helps.

    Someone hear highly recommended reading "Miserly Moms." It was written by a mother who lived in a high cost of living area (San Fran) and learned how to support a family of four with one income. I'm only a couple chapters into it, but it's very interesting so far. Definitely check out a copy from your local library!

    Good luck!

    Hawaii
  • We also live in a high cost of living area and I reluctantly (at the time) quit my job to stay at home ( I say reluctantly because I was so worried about $$). My husband and I made the same amount, so we too cut our income in half. Fortunately, our insurance was through my husband's job and not mine so that helped a lot. In order to make it work, we started putting as much as possible into savings from the day we found out we were pregnant. That allowed me to feel more secure in leaving my job. Otherwise, day-to-day, I have just had to really stick to a budget, shop around for the best deals on just about anything I need to purchase and learn to go without some of the luxuries I was used to having. You do give up a lot of material things, but you adjust. For me, it is ALL worth it. It is the biggest luxury of all to get to be home with my son. I know I am fortunate that my husband does make enough that we can make it work on just his salary, even if it's tough. Good luck figuring things out-- like the pp said, it will help to track your expenses and look at the cost of daycare vs. your salary, etc. I will say I was suprised about some of the expenses that dropped once I quit working. My drycleaning bill used to be about $200 a month!! Now, it's about $30 a month since I am pretty much wearing clothes that can be spit up on all the time- ha. So, think it through.
  • When we found out that I was pregnant with our first, my husband was still in college and I was working full time.  He brought in about $100 per week at his part time job.  We had insurance fully paid for through my job, and knew it was going to be tight once the baby came.  We were determined to figure out a way to have me stay home.  Also, my husband got a job that paid for part of his insurance (we still had to pick up the family portion) and paid a meager ($10/hour) hourly wage.  I took on a babysitting job, watching a little girl, and was able to bring in about $100-$150 per week.  We had to live tight for a long time, in fact, we're still struggling with cutting back our spending with #5 on the way. 

    Honestly, though, it really hasn't cost that much more with each child.  We go to a church with a lot of families, so we recieve a lot of clothes second hand.  I also shop clearances for any other items we may need.  I cut coupons, and try to find deals online.  A great resource for me has been www.moneysavingmom.com

    Good luck!

  • I read Your Money or Your Life a long time ago and never looked back.  DH and I actually find it pretty easy to live on one income in Chicago -- and not a large income, either.  But we don't own a car, live in a smallish place, don't get cable, buy most of our stuff off Craigslist, shop in bulk, have given up our one luxury of travel.  Except for the travel, I haven't really missed anything.  You can make it work!


    Nola 3.30.08

    Lucy 5.15.12


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  • I'm lurking on this board since I'm on winter break.  I'm in the Chicago area and also a teacher.  I would love to stay home but it doesn't work for us right now.  (We cut expenses such as cable and my dh delivered pizzas last winter.)  Right now I'm teaching Kinder at my daughter's daycare.  It's a small step back career wise but it's a great arrangement for our family.  It's hard to leave your little one.  Whatever you decide your dd will be fine, but I always do whatever I can to be with my dd.  I'm sure you'll do the same.  
  • We live in the Chicago suburbs, so I can understand the expenses.  DH is a HS social worker, I was a HS physics teacher.  We tracked our expenses all of last school year and I looked into other jobs by working after school hours.  Tutor.com worked out really well for me, I'm able to make $800-900/month Sept-Nov and Jan-May.  In December I will make around $650.

    Something you could look into is in-home daycare, where you watch someone else's child.  It could provide some social interaction for your child and money for you. 

    Let me know if you need info about tutor.com.  They're always looking for chemistry, physics, and upper level math (algebra - Calc).

  • You really do need to hammer out every single penny you need on a monthly basis and then compare it against your actual income.  $50000 in student loan debt is significant.  Cutting your income by 50% is significant.  Cutting coupons and not eating out will not make up the difference, I'm afraid.  What are your savings like?  Do you have an emergency fund?  Is your husband's insurance adequate for the needs of your family now?  What if it grows?

     

    Your post includes many optimistic scenarios.  Your best bet is to look at reality as it stands and make informed and sound decisions from there.

     

    I don't think doing independent research is the way to go here.  This is a decision that you both need to make together, not a decision that one of you jams down the other's throat (your desire to SAH or your husband's desire for you to go back to work).

     

    What a tough position to be in.  Your desire to SAH is admirable but for the sake of your family, you and your husband really should be together on that decision.  Good luck.

    promised myself I'd retire when I turned gold, and yet here I am
  • image ridesbuttons:

    You really do need to hammer out every single penny you need on a monthly basis and then compare it against your actual income.  $50000 in student loan debt is significant.  Cutting your income by 50% is significant.  Cutting coupons and not eating out will not make up the difference, I'm afraid.  What are your savings like?  Do you have an emergency fund?  Is your husband's insurance adequate for the needs of your family now?  What if it grows?

     

    Your post includes many optimistic scenarios.  Your best bet is to look at reality as it stands and make informed and sound decisions from there.

     

    I don't think doing independent research is the way to go here.  This is a decision that you both need to make together, not a decision that one of you jams down the other's throat (your desire to SAH or your husband's desire for you to go back to work).

     

    What a tough position to be in.  Your desire to SAH is admirable but for the sake of your family, you and your husband really should be together on that decision.  Good luck.

     We have a good amount in savings - $30,000.  We can get good insurance through DH's work, we would just have to pay for it opposed to my free insurance, but it isn't too much each month.

    I should mention that DH would love for me to be able to stay at home, he doesn't want DD in daycare any more than I do.  He just doesn't think it will work financially, which is why I wanted to have some ideas of cost cutting in mind when I approach him about looking more closely at our finances. 

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  • A couple of things DH and I looked at when I left my job were...

    Cutting back on our cable package,

    Cutting minutes on the cell phones,

    Making DH's lunch for work everyday,

    Not eating out but maybe once or twice a month, etc...

    I wasn't making a significat salary, only about 21 thous. a year, but our debt is high because of school loans and such.

    Surprisingly, we have noticed as big of a difference as we thought.  We left the tv, and cells alone, but virtually quit eating out and I make DH's lunch every morning which we figured costs about $2.80 a day (big help!).

    Whatever you decide to do, I just wanted to wish you good luck!

  • When I worked I made more than DH but we always planned on me SAH which makes a huge difference.  We never lived a lifestyle of the double income which meant buying a cheaper house, paid for used cars, etc.  I think it's a lot harder to change once your expenses depend on the double income.  My DH did not make much money but we took a leap of faith & just did it...he's been motivated in the 4yrs since I quit & now makes twice what he did when I quit through job changes & promotions.  We also moved to a little cheaper COL area, cashed out on making a lot of $ on our first home & bought a very modest house in our new city.  We now do not worry about money anymore (though we do plan on buying a bigger place eventually).  I don't think little things like cutting cable & clipping coupons would be enough if you have a lifestyle (mortgage/bills) that depend on double income.  It sounds like it may take a radical change in your case (like selling you home, moving, etc).  Track your expenses (things that cannot go away) & what you bring in & see if it is at all feasible.  If not, decide what you can cut back on or things you can do to make more money/cut costs.  Good luck!
    AKA Carol*Brady! IHO my upcoming 10yr Nestiversary--Back to old screenname. My own Marsha, Jan & Cindy... image Designing a Life Blog
  • We live in the chicago burbs as well, and I made about 1/2 of our income too, so I know where you're coming from.  The biggest thing we did before I quit work was pay off as much as we could- paid off both cars and all debt except student loans and mortgage.  

    I'm really frugal to start with, so I didn't have trouble with not eating out, not shopping just for fun, cancelling satellite TV, etc.  We buy clothes and toys secondhand, joined Sam's club to buy in bulk (which only saves money if you only really buy things you'd be buying otherwise...none of that "but it's such a great deal!" crap.), and I cook almost everything from scratch.  DH takes a lunch every day, and DD and I stay home and play or do free things around town.  We walk or ride a bike to go as many places as possible to save on gas (and that was a huge savings when I quit work, as well, since I had a 60-mile round trip commute).  Sure, sometimes it sucks not having those cute new boots or going to the playgroup lunch because my policy is to only eat out on special ocassions, but it's worth it to be home with my kid (soon to be kids).  

    We still save a lot- we maxed out our IRA contributions last year and DH puts 6% of his salary in a 401k.  

    One thing that helped a lot at the beginning was that I babysat a neighbor's little girl for $125 a week and I'm now working from home 10 hours a week doing internet marketing and web design for a local store.  

     Good luck!

  • Thanks for all your advice ladies!  I know we're probably not going to be able to make it work while we are still living in Chicago, but if we move back home to the Rockford area our living expenses would go way down, so it might be possible then.  We're lucky that we don't have any credit card debt and our second car will be paid off a year after we move, so we'd just have a (smaller) mortgage payment and our student loans.
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  • I PMd you:)
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