Can You Afford to Stay at Home?

Mother spoon feeding babyWhether you are preparing to have your first child or your fourth, you are probably thinking about when you will have to return to work. Many parents at this stage will fleetingly consider having one parent stay at home and then decide that it can't be done. The reality is that it is easier than you think.

To find out whether it can be done, you will need to sit down with your partner, some writing materials, and a calculator. Get together all of your bills – all of them – mortgage, utilities, grocery, entertainment and so on. You want to be able to paint a very accurate picture of your finances and decide whether you can survive on just one salary.

Generally, the more kids you have the easier it is to stay home, due to the cost of childcare. Look at the salary of whomever is staying home and deduct childcare expenses. This tells you how much money you are actually making. For some, once they see that they are making less than minimum wage after childcare, the decision is easy.

Of course, you may have to make some sacrifices to make ends meet, but for the most part, the feeling you get while staying home with your kids is worth it. If you don't think you can afford to do it, look at ways to supplement your income. Maybe you can work a few nights a week, or do something at home for money. You are already at home, so why not look after another child?

If you are really set on becoming a stay at home parent, then you will find a way to make it work. But don't feel like you have to. If the thought of being home with the kids for the next five or more years makes you unhappy, then you are better off to go back to work. Your kids would be much better off with a well-rounded parent that they spend time with evenings and weekends, rather than a full-time unhappy parent.

Another option for those who don't want to stay at home forever is to take a sabbatical from work. See if your work will allow you six months to a year off, and then see if your partner can do the same. That gives you up to two years to decide whether staying at home is something that either of you want to do full time.

With some careful planning, you and your spouse can find a way to make staying at home work for you and your family. Again, it will likely require a few sacrifices and some creative thinking, but it can be done.

What do you think?

Can You Afford to Stay at Home?

Tell us what you think!


  1. Profile photo of Lucia Lucia says:

    I have a baby boy 3 months old, and i have another toddler of 2 years old. My husband is only one is working right now i stay at home wth my kids, is hard with only one salary, but i have plans to back to work next year when my baby is a little bigger to stay with my husband.

  2. Profile photo of veronica veronica says:

    Im thinking about being a ftm, i know my husband would love that! So would i…

  3. Profile photo of MrsPearson MrsPearson says:

    I have one boy an a girl on the way an im a stay at home mom an its the best thing ever i get all things done plus time for myself. it makes since to make sure that you are able to do so before you do stop working but its the best for the kids an we spend less as well

  4. Profile photo of Heatherly Heatherly says:

    Way to go! Love your post!

  5. Profile photo of Heatherly Heatherly says:

    Why would you want children but not want to stay at home with them? I stopped working (you can work from home somehow!) so I could be with my two little ones at the time. I wanted to be the one that saw them change and reach goals…..not a paid woman. My husband said that would be great. We made it work…even if the fridge died, we had to get rid of cable, reduce and save. It was worth it. My children have thanked me.

  6. Profile photo of Anastacia113 Anastacia113 says:

    We decided together that being a Stay at home Mommy is MY full time job and I enjoy it.

  7. Profile photo of meridethann meridethann says:

    We decided I’d stay at home for at least the first year, but I babysit, tutor, edit papers and write resumes from home for extra cash anyways. I haven’t been able to work a real job due to really terrible morning sickness since I got pregnant, but now that I’m feeling a little better, I’m able to go back until I give birth. It is kind of nice knowing that I can stay at home.

  8. Profile photo of Angelwings Angelwings says:

    with my mom offering free sitting as long as I provide diapers food and change of clothes, now see if there’s a job close. I don’t need to be tired when picking my baby up

  9. Profile photo of Jeanetta Jeanetta says:

    It’s not in the cards for me to stay home.

  10. Profile photo of Brittney Brittney says:

    My baby is only four months I don’t want to leave him, but financially It’s just not in the cards for me to be a stay at home mommy any time soon. But my SO’s schedule changes so much it would be hard for me to get a job without the cost of childcare. So while he works out his work schedule i’m enjoying the time I have at home.

  11. Profile photo of lisa_iowa lisa_iowa says:

    I couldn’t afford to work even if I wanted to. I wouldn’t miss being home with my children for all the vacations in the world. 🙂 Of course, sometimes a mom really does have to work just to make sure there is food on the table. I am grateful I can be home.

  12. Profile photo of meredith meredith says:

    Its definatly tough financially, but I want to keep staying home as long as I can for my baby.

  13. It’s worth the sacrifices


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