My husband and I always planned on me staying home with our kids – even before we were married this was the plan we had. However, after we found out we were pregnant with our first child, it became very clear to us that at our current rate, we were never going to be able to afford for me to stay home.
The advantage to figuring this out while we were still pregnant, is that we had time to make it work. But even if you don’t have that same kind of time, there are still a few things that you can do to start making the possibility of staying home with your children a reality.
Start Acting Like It
One of the best things we did when it came to preparing for me to become a stay-at-home mom was that we started acting like we only had one income coming into the house. We started having my paychecks automatically deposited into our savings account instead of our checking account so we could make my paycheck “out-of-sight, out-of-mind”.
This worked beautifully…okay, well not exactly beautifully. It was hard. It showed us a lot of weaknesses that we had in our budget and the way that we managed money. But it also gave us the courage that we could, in fact, make this work.
So if you’re wanting to transition into the world of stay-at-home-momdom, start tricking yourself into living on one income now. It won’t be easy, but it will allow you the time to adjust as necessary before you make that leap.
Make a Plan
Just like you need to start using only one income before you become a stay-at-home mom, you need to develop a plan – a.k.a. a budget. If you don’t already have a budget in place, now’s the time to make one, but instead of making one with both of your incomes, you need to make it with only one income. (PS. If you need help setting up a budget online, try Personal Capital – it’s free. 🙂 )
The reason, is that you’re pretending your income no longer exists. Even though you’re still working and earning a paycheck, start putting your paycheck into your savings account (this is the perfect time to build up an emergency fund if you haven’t already). Or if after making your budget you realize that you need more wiggle room, start applying a part of or all of your paycheck towards any debt that is a heavy burden on your household.
Regards of what you decide to now do with your income, you need to make a plan and need to most importantly stick to your plan.
If you need some help on crafting a budget or paying off debt, these posts will be able to help you:
Things to Think About
When you’re making your plan, think about:
- How much time do you have before you plan to stay home?
- How much money do you currently have in savings?
- How much goes out every month in debt payments (credit cards, car payments, student loans, mortgage, etc.)?
- How much does your husband earn every paycheck?
- Does your husband’s company offer health insurance (if you’re not already enrolled through his employer)?
- What are your priority expenses every month (things you absolutely must pay every month because they are important to you like, utilities, transportation, savings, groceries – not dinning out, etc.)?
- What is your Christmas budget?
- What is your plan for your retirement account (assuming you have a 401(k) with your current employer) – are you going to roll it over into a Roth or something else and how are you going to continue to contribute to it?
- Do you have a separate life insurance policy from the one your employer offers? If not, I suggest you look into getting one for term life to cover you after you leave your job to stay home.
Why is this important?
Now, you may be asking yourself, “why is figuring this out important?” It’s important because there are a lot of things you need to think about before making the leap to staying home. These aren’t meant to discourage you, but instead to give you things to think about, to plan, and to take action on.
The more prepared you are BEFORE you make the leap, the better the transition for everyone will be.The more prepared you are BEFORE you make the leap, the better the transition for everyone will be. @jessifearonClick To Tweet
So what do you need to do?
Alright, so now you have your plan, so what’s next? Up next, is to start executing your plan – start applying your paycheck to savings or your debt payoff (or whatever you decided to do with it) and start living off just the one income. Even when you hit roadblocks and set-backs during this change, keep going.
It will be hard at first because you’re living on less than what you’re used to, but it’s possible and it will get easier. Give it time and make adjustments as necessary and when the time comes for you start staying home, you’ll be better prepared to live without your income because you’ve already allowed yourself and your household to get used to living without your paycheck.
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