This is a guest post from Gina of Horkey Handbook that is sure to help you figure out how to trim your budget to become a stay-at-home parent!
Two years ago, my husband and I were just like any other couple working full-time in Corporate America.
We’ve been married almost a decade now, but waited to have our first child until 2011. Our beautiful son was born and we were all in love! It’s amazing how becoming a parent completely turns your world upside down – in a good way!
Even though I was a financial advisor by day, we never thought that we’d be able to survive off of one income, in order for one of us to stay at home. But after a couple of unsuccessful nanny attempts and baby number two’s birth looming, we decided to sit down and really crunch the numbers for the first time.
My husband had always expressed interest in becoming a SAHD and my job at the time had a better long-term career path, so we decided to try to figure it out so he could quit his job. He carried the benefits, since I was self-employed, so there was a lot to do and prepare before we made the leap.
Luckily, we just got our math to work out. Here are the four major budget cuts we made to make it work. Are you ready?
Related Post: Our Family of Four’s One Income Budget
1. We Got Rid of Satellite TV
This was for some reason a hard decision for us. The $100 per month bill wasn’t all that attractive, but recording and watching t.v. on our terms (sans commercials) and the hubs getting his sports fix was what made it difficult.
Luckily, we also enjoyed Netflix and Hulu Plus, so once we cut the chord we didn’t mind so much. He started listening to baseball games on the radio like he used to do as a boy and we probably spent less time overall watching television. Win/win!
2. We Went with a High-Deductible Health Insurance Plan
Going out and getting our own medical insurance was a grueling process. Wade’s benefits were ending just after the birth of our baby and I couldn’t apply for coverage until my six week check-up was done, which made it more stressful than I would have liked.
Ultimately, we weighed all of our options and chose a high-deductible plan similar to the one that my sister had (her husband was also self-employed). Technically it’s not HSA compatible (even though our family deductible is almost $14k), as we are covered at 100% after the deductible is met.
We’re all fairly healthy, so it was more important to maintain a lower premium (~$650/m for a family of four), but know that we wouldn’t be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars if something major went wrong (surgery, cancer, etc). We know that $14k is the most that we’d have to pay in any given year (still a lot, I know).
3. We Significantly Decreased How Much We Went out to Eat
It’s crazy that we can drop $50 on a meal out for four (where we’re trying to order conservatively) in no time. It’s not as much fun to dine out when you have babies/toddlers in tow anyway, so this was an okay change overall.
Now we probably go out to eat once or twice per month. It makes you really appreciate it! It sucks going out and getting bad food or bad service – I’d rather be home and eat for cheap!
4. We Cut Our Retirement Savings
I’m not going to lie, as a former financial advisor, this one hurt – a lot! Not adding to our retirement savings was against everything that was ingrained in me.
But having one of us raise our babies was worth it. We don’t know how long we’re going to live or what the future is going to look like, so we decided to balance the now with the later.
Cutting our savings is what helped us to be able to make the final decision for one of us to stay at home. I’m happy to say that so far, it’s been more than worth it!
We Track Our Expenses
Budgeting and tracking our expenses is what’s allowed us to make this change successfully. We have a small whiteboard on the fridge and have a total for the month that we want to stick to for our discretionary expenses (groceries, gas, dining out, etc).
Now that Wade stays at home with our kiddos, he also does all of the grocery shopping (and most of the cleaning, yes I’m super lucky!). So it’s much more of a team effort tracking our expenses.
We collect our receipts and then daily subtract from the white board balance. When we overspend at the beginning of the month, we proactively try to plan by creating meals from our cupboards and freezer and try to only get the bare essentials at the grocery store (milk, bread, etc.).
Related Post: How to Become a Stay-at-Home Mom
I’m Now out on My Own Too!
Since we’ve been so successful budgeting and paying down debt, I was able to build up my freelance writing side hustle last year, put in my notice and transition to being a full-time webpreneur.
It amazes me that just two years ago, we both had Corporate jobs we weren’t in love with and for the most part planned on settling for the status quo. God had other plans for us, however. And boy, I’m glad that He did!
We’re on track to pay off our last remaining debt (besides our first mortgage) by the end of this year and should then be able to restart our retirement savings. Doing what we love and having the freedom to travel is priceless!
What major life change seems impossible in your life right now? Is it really?
Gina Horkey is a writer for hire, with a background in personal finance. She also offers coaching services and really enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. Please stop by Horkey HandBook and say hello and download a free copy of 8 Tips to Start Your Freelance Career off on the Right Foot!
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