How Do You Afford Being a Stay-At-Home Mom, Especially if Your Husband Doesn't Make Much?

QUESTION:

"Stay at home mamas-: HOW do you afford it?!

Especially wondering for those of you whose husbands don’t make that much money. I just don’t understand how it is possible with a mortgage, bills, etc, and I want in!"

RELATED QUESTION: Stay-At-Home-Moms: How Do You Make It Work on One Income?

TOP ANSWERS (AS SELECTED BY MODERATOR):

“My husband and I have saved and worked hard to get to a position that allows me to raise our children. We tackle the debt with the snowball effect. We pay off smaller bills when we have extra money. We don’t do credit cards and we primarily pay for things with cash. Our house is paid off too. I will say he’s a hardworking man who has always worked 40+ hours to give us this life.”

“If your husband has an average job and you want a super expensive house with the best car, and the newest phones and your nails done every week it’s probably NOT going to be possible for you. If you’re keen on living modestly but still having your child’s needs be met, maybe it is. All about priorities, really. It can also be hard to get out of these things when you have them due to the financial obligations you have already incurred. Add up the amount your husband makes + what you currently spend on daycare and subtract your necessary expenses, and see what you have leftover.”

“Drive an older car, only have one car, don’t eat out, buy clothes at second hand or swap with friends, no nail salons, no cable tv, read books, play games, do crafts, cook, etc.”

“Ultimately, it’s cheaper to stay at home than it would be to pay for daycare.”

“For me, it wasn’t that I could afford to do it as much as I couldn’t afford not to! 2 littles in daycare was going to cost me $360 per week minimum, plus all the expenses of a daily commute. I would have been working just to afford to work AND missing out on that time with my babies. It wasn’t worth it. So we had to buckle down and budget. We’d also always lived practically: small house payment and no car payment went a long way until my youngest started public school and I went back to work.”

“Daycare for 2 was too expensive. It was financially easier to be a SAHM. Now that the kids are in school, I’m happier being able to go back to work. Being a SAHM is not always easy by a long shot.”

“Not everyone can. You have to have a partner that has a good enough paying job to afford to pay for everything alone.”

“So I’m not a stay at home mom, but I’m a single mom with a household to maintain. It all comes down to budgeting and being tight with your money. I carefully plan out how my money will be spent, when I pay bills vs when I get paid, and how to save money constantly.”

“Honestly we just couldn’t afford the daycare it wasn’t worth for all of what I would be making to go into daycare my husband would try and get any overtime possible but it wasn’t worth what we would have to pay for someone else to care for our babies.”

“Been a stay at home mom for almost 20 years now. Can’t say it’s been easy. We live by a simple mantra, A penny saved is a penny earned. Every dollar I save is just the same as if I had a job and paid for it, so careful budgeting and shopping are very important. Also, you don’t have to “have a job” to help put food on the table. I started with a small garden and now have a nice sized one that helps me feed the family. We started with the basics; fruits and berries that would never need replanting, salad stuff, peas, green beans, carrots, things like that.”

“We just don’t live a glamorous lifestyle and aren’t afraid to live in a trailer as opposed to an expensive apartment or house. We have our needs met and save a little each week to be able to take trips after a few months or buy some “wants” (games, clothes we like, decorations, etc) and I do our budget weekly if not more to make sure we stay on track, in the beginning, we made cuts like no internet no phone plans no car payments but now we have all of that because we budget cautiously. It’s doable if you don’t want a fancy life. If you need all the bells and whistles then your husband will have to be able to work a super good-paying job.”

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READ ALL ANSWERS BELOW:

82 Likes

We have 2 kids and a moderate income. It’s difficult but possible. Sometimes bills get put off a week or two and we live paycheck to paycheck but being able to be with my kids is a blessing. The Lord has provided for us in so many ways and instances. Not sure of your faith so I’ll leave it at that. I miss working some days, just interaction with other adults but it truly is wonderful to be able to be with them.

46 Likes

After daycare, union fees and gas to go to and from work I would only have brought home $300 a month. Really watched my spending and before the shutdown I had a one night a week job that brought in "fun"money for activities and so that my husband wasn’t buying his own christmas/birthday gifts (yqnd it gave me time to interact with other adults.,)

I went and worked to support my family while my husband went to cdl school for 3 months when he got out of school he got a great job and I got to stay home with the kids, for 2 years straight, I didnt have to but recently made the choice to go back to work amd just started a new job

I am a paramedic and work 4-8 hours twice ish a week … my husband makes decent money, I treasure the opportunity to stay home with my sweet Sarah, but the extra $ helps. Cover groceries , our phone bill etc … and sometimes this mama needs to get out of the house … I’m mostly a SAHM … but I get out once in a while … it works for us

1 Like

Budget. Budget. Budget. My husband doesn’t make much at all but our free childcare was becoming unreliable and we knew we couldn’t afford daycare. We make sure we have our basic needs and plan in advance for special extra expenses we know may be coming. Also doing the Dave Ramsey debt snowball (or trying our best when we have a little extra) has helped out. I wouldn’t trade this time with my babies for the finer things we could have.

9 Likes

I’m home 5 days and work 2 12 hour shifts. It’s sucks to never see my husband, my car is 10 years old, we live very basic… but it means we get to keep our kids out of daycare. I make good money working part time (as a nurse) but it still gets tight at times. Not much going into savings, not too much extra. I just tell myself they aren’t little forever and if we can make it work, it’s definitely worth it to us.

72 Likes

It cost more for child care than what I’d make working. We were a military family living in places child care and jobs were difficult to find. Now we are homeschooling, and he has a good paying job.

13 Likes

You don’t need a big house or a big car. Stay out if debt and don’t use credit cards. Don’t keep up with the Joneses down the block. If you want it and it’s important to you then you will make do with less.

73 Likes

I’ve been a stay at home mom for the past 9 years. I’m now a part time working mom for the past year. I loved being home with my kiddos and bit meant a lot of sacrifices, budgeting and planning. The reason I’m working it has became to much for me to stay home no matter how much we sacrifice it became no choice but for me to get a part time job

1 Like

My old man has always worked jobs that he made just enough that we got by, weren’t completely poor but definitely weren’t making bank either, lol. Now he’s making really decent money so we’re good. Before it was definitely a struggle, but it’s almost a lose lose in some areas. At the time jobs available for me wouldn’t have been high paying jobs, we only had 1 car, and child care probably would have cost near what I would have brought in anyway. It just wasn’t really the smarter choice.

1 Like

I’ve been a stay at home mom for the last 3 years since I had my last child at 45 years old. Basically I go completely without. The money I get from hubby is for necessities like gas for the car or groceries needed in between our large grocery shopping days or things the kids need. He pays for everything. My husband also works out of town a lot. We were just able to buy a house and we live in California. We also have an SUV and truck and my hubby has two motorcycles. Neither my husband nor I have a college degree so he doesn’t make a lot but it’s decent. We moved into a smaller town where home prices are really low. That helped because the mortgage payment is way lower than what we were paying in rent.

3 Likes

If I went back to work, after gas and daycare for 2 babies… I wouldn’t bring much home. It’s just easier for me to stay home. Better for the babies to be with me than someone else anyway. We don’t make a lot of money thru my husband’s work, but we don’t spend frivolously. He picks up weekend shifts sometimes. We get assistance thru wic to help with food. Our vehicles are old, we have no car payments or credit cards. We refinanced the mortgage and it’s lower now, about $880 a month. I go thru shit and post online and sell it to make some extra $.

5 Likes

My husband makes about 50k a year. I’ve been a stay at home mom for almost 8 years now. Sometimes we are paycheck to paycheck, but we make it work

15 Likes

Back when my husband wasnt making that much and I was still a stay at home we just didnt spend unnecessary money and always lived comfortably. Now i run two businesses just for side cash, still a stay at home mom lol

2 Likes

I did in home daycare for some of my friends which helped … and you truly have to decide what you are willing to give up or change.

2 Likes

My husband and I have been married for 10+ years.
We waited to have kids until we bought our house, paid off debt and were in a position to be able to afford for me to stay home. During the 8 years before we had our first child. We knew that we wanted me to be able to stay home, so we worked our butts off and saved as much money as possible. We are both savers, not spenders. We live well within our means and strive to be wise with our money.

6 Likes

You have to decide whats more important and make it work. No new vehicles, no notes. We took out a small loan to remodel an old trailer on family property so no mortgage. We don’t buy fancy clothes, we buy in bulk and sales, we diy alot of things. We don’t go out. Make meals in bulk. I learn a LOT of stuff on YouTube, when the car breaks down or you have a plumbing problem or your kid needs a haircut and you’ve gotta figure it out instead of paying someone? YouTube.

8 Likes

I cut back drastically. Got rid of cable, switch to the economy internet 9.99 per month, use my brother in law Netflix account. Open windows to cut back on ac. Cook at home, buy from local farmers for just $20 i feed my family of six per week.
As for diapers I call pampers and ask for coupons. I also dash on Fridays night.

3 Likes

Just because pay a child care is more than what I would earn…

20 Likes