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Advice for those wanting to become stay at home moms

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 

This is one of the most commonly asked questions around here, so I thought we should create a thread full of tips and advice from those who have transitioned from two incomes to one. What advice would you have for someone wanting to become a stay at home mom (SAHM)?

 

Tips for becoming a stay at home mom sham

post #2 of 93
MY first tip would be one we didn't use and I wish we had ~ a financial one....

When you make the decision to become a SAHM and you're still working...Live off your DH income and bank all of yours. Make sure you can cover all of your expenses with just his income. Make adjustments as necessary to your budget. Do this for 6 months to a year. If it all works out, you;re financially ready to be a SAHM.

You'll get a real understanding of what your financial situation will look like as well as build your savings.
post #3 of 93
I second the idea of banking your paycheck and living off the one that will sustain you when you aren't working. That's what dh and I are trying to do, although we aren't doing a great job of it.

Start cutting expenses now, don't wait until you stay at home. I know I am guilty of still doing things and spending money I wouldn't after I quit my job.
post #4 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bearsmom View Post

MY first tip would be one we didn't use and I wish we had....

When you make the decision to becomea SAHM and ytou're still working...Live off your DH income and bank all of yours. Make sure you can cover all of your expenses with just his income. Make adjustments as necessary to your budget.

You'll get a real understanding of what your financial situation will look like as well as build your savings.

i secound this we did it for only 6 months i would say do it for a year....

1. write down everything you spend for 1 to 2 months to see where your current finanaces are going...

2. once you have written down everything for a couple months start looking at what can be cut back on to make it more comfortable for your family to live on one income.

3. write down all your bills that will be due minus work related such as daycare clothes eating out ect.. that there will reduce your monthly bills...

4. one of by biggest things is you most likely will have to be willing to sacrafice some things in order to make it work... be willing to do that with an open mind.. it took me a little while i missed the things i used to do but being home has been well worth it.

5. be optimistic it is possible even on a limited income you will need to become creative, resourceful and a planner.
post #5 of 93
I'm a detailed planner, so my advice would be to sit down with your spouse and make a plan then work the plan.

It took 9 years of planning for me to have a child and become a SAHM. We lived off of my dh's salary for years and banked mine. We lived way below our means in a teeny tiny trailer and socked away a lot of money for a down payment on a house. We took a lot of ribbing from both our acquaintances and our family during that time for living in that trailer. After 5 years, we finally had a lot of money saved up for a house. We put down a huge down payment (basically paying for 1/2 the house) on a nice house and have a small house payment (Who's laughing now?). I worked for a few more years after that, living off of dh's salary and banking mine. We finally decided that we had enough money saved up/invested, our cars were paid off, and we were ready.

So in short, live way below your means, live off of one salary, and plan, plan, plan.
post #6 of 93
I'm so glad you started this thread! I am working toward becoming a SAHM. We had thought I could be home by August but we hadn't really started making the financial arrangements to make that possible. So after a few days of feeling sorry for myself I am now energized and we are really putting away some cash.

We've played around with a budget and we've been "pretending" to live by it but we didn't actually put the money into savings and you know what happens when you have money in your account. Well anyways, I've now figured out that we can sock away quite a bit by the end of 2007. It is my new goal. With the amount we can save we will have enough to make a couple YEARS worth of house payments or anything unexpected that may come up if trouble should arise.

I only wish I'd realized that I wanted to be a SAHM before I was pregnant (or realized years ago how much we could save and really made a dent in the student loans or mortgage). We just never thought that it would be a possibility. I can't wait to see what other advice you guys have.

One question: Did you find that once you made the transition it became easier to save money on things like groceries? I try hard now but I run into the convenience problem. I know that our gasoline use will definitely drop since I currently work 1/2 hour away from home. What other bills/budget items were reduced after you came home?
post #7 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bearsmom View Post

When you make the decision to become a SAHM and you're still working...Live off your DH income and bank all of yours. Make sure you can cover all of your expenses with just his income. Make adjustments as necessary to your budget. Do this for 6 months to a year. If it all works out, you;re financially ready to be a SAHM.

I was going to write the same thing. Not only will you know that you will manage financially but you'll have your whole income from that time ready and saved up for emergencies.

However, my experience has been that many Moms fall into the situation of being a SAHM rather than plan it from the start. I was planning on working full time after kids. I enjoyed working and I wasn't much of a kid person so I didn't think I'd be much fun as a Mom. Boy did that change after becoming a Mom. Now, I'm a kid person. I love being at home (I do work from home as well though). At first it came down to simple math. I work for non-profit. It was going to cost more to work and find daycare then it would cost to stay at home. So I became a SAHM and as the kids got older and started school, I started working from home more and more. But I :love: being the one who picks them up from school, who takes them to their appointments, who spends their summers with them. I wouldn't give it up now even if I were offered big money to go back to work full time.
post #8 of 93
Our first step was in buying our home. We bought the home that we could afford on just one income. This meant for us that our first home was a starter only 1050sqft and 50 years old.

The think we wish we would have done was to have cut our budget way earlier then we did. Looking back we spent a lot on things that we really don't need.

You need to be ready for the unexpected. We have a small amount of CC debt because we weren't. I totaled my car at 7 month PG. A newly used car and car payments were not in the plan.

If you have the money now do things that can help lower your bills, we had our home re-insulated to save on the gas bill, we had the home re-apraised to have PMI removal.

I agree if you really want it you find ways to make it work.
post #9 of 93
A) That's my primary advice, too ... live off of one paycheck. The only think deducted from my paycheck was (1) the added taxes, (2) daycare, (3) my personal work expenses (gas, clothing, etc).

B) As soon as you become a SAHM, change your hubby's tax withholding to reflect the change in income. Changing his withholding puts more cash in your pocket. Don't use your tax refund as a savings account. You need the money now.

C) As soon as you become a SAHM, keep saving. Have an automatic withdrawl taken from your hubby's paycheck and deposited into a savings account. I know money is tight but it is important to continue the saving habit. Live on LESS than hubby's paycheck.

D) While you are still working, pay down all your debts. Obviously pay off your credit card debt if you can. Stop the habit of using credit cards to make purchases.

E) Recognize that being a SAHM will mean some of your expenses will INCREASE. When you work your car is used to commute to work and back and maybe a little bit of driving during your lunch break. When you're a SAHM your car can be used all day long - AND FREQUENTLY IS! Plus when you're home you will be running the furnace and A/C all day and using other utilities more than you do now. When you're at work, you use their bathroom, for instance. Now you'll be using your own. And the temptation to continue to eat out or get take-out will NOT go away.

F) Recognize that being a SAHM can be very isolating. As above, you will want to shop or eat out MORE, not less, if for no other reason than to be out in society and away from home. Many people (almost all that I know) who suddenly stop working go through a period of depression. When we stop working we have to re-define who we are and our place in society. It isn't easy. Have a support network set-up. If anything become too busy early on - enroll your children in classes and playgroups, etc. Join organizations like MOMs Club or MOPS. You will probably find yourself making new friends since most of your acquaintences are work-related.

G) Be realistic about how much you can get done around the house when you're not working. Daycare is expensive for a reason. Those other people who are taking care of our children really are doing a real job (hopefully). When I worked we had a housekeeper which was wonderful if for no other reason than to validate for me that cleaning my house had a real dollar-value AND did take time. You might be surprised how little you will get done during the day.

H) While saving money, set aside a separate bank account for yourself (not joint with hubby). While my husband is extremely progressive when it comes to my independence, we have had arguments over money when I no longer brought in an income. He had to go through a psychological transition, too. Suddenly my income was no longer a safety net. His role in the family shifted when I stopped work, too. Don't be surprised if your hubby suddenly feels like he has to work MORE (instead of come home to enjoy time with you and the kids). Anyway, one Christmas I was fretting over what to get hubby as a gift and he said, "Don't get me anything. You'd just be using my money anyway." His attitude surprised both of us and we did have a long talk to re-align his thinking BUT it is still nice to have an individual savings account of your own.

I) Increase the life insurance on you or buy a new policy. When we work our employer usually provides some life insurance. You won't have that anymore. As a SAHM a life insurance policy on you is more important. After all, if your hubby dies you could always go back to work. If you die, your husband will be in dire straits to find household help, daycare, etc. Of course, make sure hubby has enough life insurance, too. You don't want to have to go back to work soon after a family tragedy. Similarly your husband should have disability insurance - a private long-term policy - to help with the financial hardship that would come along if he was injured at work. You won't be in the position to work if you're at home taking care of the kids AND your husband. Of course, update your wills and make sure that all bank accounts, house, etc will automatically transition to you in case your husband suddenly passes away.

J) Have an exit plan. Anytime we start a new venture, we are prudent to have an idea of when it isn't working out. So set aside dates now where you will re-evaluate your decision (6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, etc). See how you're doing financially. How are you doing emotionally? How are the kids responding? How is hubby transitioning? What do you have to do to adjust or improve? A problem doesn't automatically mean you will go back to work fulltime and return your kids to daycare but you may decide to try other solutions. I don't know any SAHM who never did anything except stay-at-home the entire time their children were children. The more you live as a SAHM other options will become available to you. However, don't feel like you need to jump on the first idea that comes down the pike. Try to remember that the more we fill-up our day with one option, the more we block other options from coming into our life. Remain open, listen and observe. The perfect balance of takng care of your marriage, your children, and your personal life will eventually come to you.
post #10 of 93
As a new SAHM I agree with everything said. We did not live off one salary before the change but we did the following things:

1. Look at all your expenses and lower what you can right away. For example, get rid of cable TV, Shop for a better phone deal, get rid of cellular phones (or at least one if you have two), etc.
2. If possible plan to only have one car. The days you need the car you can drive your husband to work or he can take the bus once or twice a week. Of course it's better if you get rid of the most expensive one.
3. Pay up as much debt as possible.
4. Start doing activities that are cheap or even better, FREE.
5. If you don't cook, LEARN. If you cook than learn how to cook cheaper.
6. Follow your expenses, even if I do this, I always find new ways to save.

And don't forget to think about yourself, Being prepared financially is one thing, you and your familly also needs to prepare emotionnally and mentally.

Good luck,
Being a SAHM is the best!!
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