- Family and Parenting
Ways to Plan Ahead Before Children so you can be a Stay at Home Mom
Planning ahead so you can stay home with your children
It is admirable that you want to stay home and be the person raising your children. I have been lucky enough to be home with my sons the past five years and feel I have been doing the right thing for our family. I do realize this is not the right thing for every family, and in some cases both parents have to work. It takes planning and sacrifices to be home with your children. Here are some of the things my husband and I did to plan before we had kids.
Stay out of debt. We agreed to never put more than we could fully pay off each month (never carry a balance) on our credit cards. Luckily we had a good start because both of us believed in this before we met and we did not have any credit card debt to start with. If we wanted something we saved until we could buy it. Granted, our house is not paid off and although we currently do not have a car payment we have had car payments off and on throughout our marriage. We agreed house and car payments were reasonable debt to carry.
Start living on one salary before you have kids. I’m not suggesting the one staying home quits their job before kids. My suggestion is that you put the entire paycheck of the secondary income in a savings account you don’t touch. This will serve two purposes. First, it proves you are able to live on one salary. Secondly, it gives you a savings cushion should you need a new appliance, or have an emergency something happen you’d need to pay for while actually living on one salary.
Consider how to keep costs down. My husband and I looked at some beautiful homes we loved and could easily afford on both of our salaries before we had kids. Knowing we wanted children and that I was going to stay home we decided on a small house. It fits our family (some days barely) but we can easily afford it on just my husband’s salary. We chose reliable, but certainly not top of the line cars to stay in budget. We don’t have state of the art phones or other gadgets. We don’t have a home phone or every cable channel. We also don’t go out to eat as often as we used to. I don’t buy clothes for myself unless absolutely needed and even then I look for sales. I’ve been able to buy a lot of various items at yard sales. Childrens clothing can be like new (they outgrow clothes faster than they can wear them out) and cost a fraction of the new price. We’ve purchased scooters and other outdoor “musts” for active boys for next to nothing and in great condition. Sometimes you have to sift through junk to find the gems at yard sales, but for me it has really paid off. There are many ways to save money with a little thought and creativity.
If money is still an issue, consider other options. If all of this still isn’t enough, decide how much more than the one income you still need. Maybe it is possible for the second income to be earned from working at home, or working a job opposite hours your spouse works so one of you is always home with the kids. Once you know how much more you need, with some creativity and prioritizing you might even be able to shave that much money from your budget.
The early years of your child’s life are filled with a lot of firsts and opportunities to instill values and trust. By living a more simple life you can ensure that you will be the one experiencing all of the firsts and teaching all of your values. If you have more than one child you can raise your children together rather than separate rooms according to age in daycare. If you want to be home, the earlier you plan for this, the better.
© 2013 HeatherH104