I often get asked how does someone become a SAHM? How do you manage to live on one income? Is it scary only having one money flow coming in?
Yes, it can be scary only having one person’s money coming into the household but it does not have to be frightening. Living on one income requires that we budget every red cent – and most importantly, we stick to that budget. Lastly, how do you become a SAHM? Well, I have listed a few ways that worked for us to help you plan becoming a SAHM, but the most important question to ask yourself is “how badly do you want it?”
Often times, we want something badly enough but we are not willing to do what it takes to get there. If your answer to how badly do you want it is something along the lines of “I want it badly, and I don’t think it’s possible for me to do”, you need to ask yourself these two questions:
– What have you tried to help you achieve the goal?
– What sacrifices have you made?
If you want it badly enough, you’ll get it, but it will take sacrifice. Often moms tell me they want to stay home with their children but their husband do no make enough money or they will just want until their husbands make more money. My challenge to you is to look at your lifestyle and see if you are maybe expecting to continue to live a two-income lifestyle on one-income. If so, you may never reach your goal of being a SAHM unless you change your lifestyle. You may have to give up your big house or newer car or maybe something really difficult.
The How-Tos of Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom:
Plan, Plan, Plan.
Do as much planning as possible before making the proverbial leap of faith into the world of SAHM. Start living off one paycheck as soon as you and your significant other agree that staying home is the best option for your family. While you are getting into the hang of living off one income, you must do some very important factors:
- Save every one of your paychecks in either a savings account or hand them over to someone you trust to keep you accountable (most paychecks are valid for 180 days or more).
- Do NOT use your paychecks – if you find yourselves continuously relying on your paychecks that you are saving then you are not ready to live off one income. The point of this exercise is to condition you that your money no longer exists therefore, you cannot rely on it when the car breaks down, bills are due, or you want to go on a date night.
- Budget – yep, there is that word that many find dirty. Unless you are married to a gabillionaire you need to budget the one income that you’ll be living off of. Your budget does not need to be perfect and it may take several tries to get the hang of it but stick with it. (You can download my free budgeting guide here.)
You need to start an emergency fund, you can use the paychecks that you are saving but remember to schedule in your one income budget a monetary amount each week/month that you will contribute to this savings account. My best advice is to save as much money as possible but a great threshold to meet is a $1,000. A $1,000 may not seem like a lot but it is a great start especially for when you go down to one income. If you need more help figuring out how to save an emergency fund, I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover* – life changing stuff.
This one is extremely important; if you have looked at your budget closely, you will probably see that living off one income is going to be tight. You need to make some room in your budget and the fastest way to do this is to cut back on your spending. Take some time to re-evaluate your cost of insurance, phone, internet, cable, etc and try to get those costs down. Consider, getting rid of your smart phone to get a basic phone. You will be staying home therefore, if you have a computer you will have access to the internet. Cut the cable and invest in an antenna, either Netflix or Hulu. Call around and try to get new quotes on your insurance – you may be surprised to see how much money you could save. Also, remember to watch what you spend while you are out – no more ‘Oh this is just a $1 what a great deal’ buys.
Dump the Debt.
You do not have to be debt free to be a SAHM but you should no longer be using debt. Debt will only make things worse especially when you are on one income. Do what you can before you become a SAHM to pay down/off as much debt as possible. When you become a SAHM, make sure that you budget in paying off your debt and not using it. I prefer the snowball method to getting rid of debt but honestly, anyway you do it is fine just so long as you do it and do not get into debt again.
This is not a perfect system but it does work. The most important thing to take away from this is that if you really want to become a SAHM, it is going to take sacrifice. You are more than likely going to have to live without the next latest and greatest iPhone and will probably have to drive an older car (I gave up my Mac-Daddy Tahoe to dump debt to keep me staying home with my boys) and may even have to forgo shopping at the mall. However, if you want it bad enough you will make it work and it will not bother you living without those things.
Are you a SAHM, how did you manage to make it work so you could stay home?
JOIN THE CHALLENGE!
Money controlling you? I know the feeling. My family has been living this real life on a budget for a long time and I can tell you that there's never a perfect season, but with a few changes you can start to reign in your money issues.
Join the 5-Day Challenge today and start getting your money life in order this week!