Are you a mom who dreams of being home with your babies everyday instead of having to work? I am a SAHM with two kids, and I’ve been home for six years. Read about how to afford to be a stay at home mom in this post!
Hi, I’m Chantal.
I have two kids, I’m a certified personal trainer, ZYIA rep, and I have been staying home for over six years. My family survives on a “working man’s,” blue collar income.
That’s ONE income to provide for six people. (I have two step-kids.)
Here’s how I became a SAHM.
After my daughter’s first year of life, I was completely unable to picture myself leaving her in the care of someone else. I hated the idea of her spending more time with another person and potentially developing a stronger bond with someone other than her own parents.
It hurt my heart to think about leaving my daughter, even though my original plan was to return to work after her first year.
I started searching for other ways to make money for this very reason, and it is still the number one reason I am blogging and doing other side jobs (like ZYIA) today. Having a side job (or a few) isn’t hard, but having an important reason for making an extra income is important.
My goal isn’t to make extra money so that I can have more shopping money or indulge in outings at nice restaurants, rather, my goal is to make money so that I can offer my kids more as a parent. I want to be a parent who is present and who can give my kiddos the life experiences that I feel are important.
Do you really want to know how to afford to be a stay at home mom?
If you are truly set on making a steady income from your side hustles, and perhaps even becoming a work-from-home parent entirely, you can make the decision to make it work – end of story.
I truly believe that if you want to be a SAHM, you can.
When you decide that you want to take the plunge into blogging or other side hustles, you will realize that its value is subjective. Since I highly value my ability to stay home with my daughter, I take what I can get in terms of side hustles and am willing to put in the work.
Almost everyone would like some extra cash, and that’s why this post is for more than just the stay-at-home-mom. For many working parents, the idea of being home is financially infeasible, so I hope to encourage you if you fall into that category.
But this post is really for anyone who wants to make extra money or save more, including (but not limited to) dads, current work-at-home parents, and future parents.
But if you are a parent or future parent who is feeling torn between financial security and the ability to stay home with your children, this is especially for you.
Don’t let society make you choose between your family and money!
Parents shouldn’t have to make the choice to have someone else raise their children (especially when they are young) just to be comfortable financially. You CAN figure out how to afford to be a stay at home mom.
It is my belief that at least one parent should be able to be home if that’s what feels right for your family. This post will help you see that you can be a stay-at-home parent (or at the very least spend more time with your family) by opening your eyes to the possibilities of side hustle opportunities and ways to save money.
It’s all about what you value and how you see the world.
To give you a bit of perspective, my family of six (my husband and I, two biological children and two step-children) lives comfortably on a traditional salary of about $70,000 a year. (And when we started out, he only made 40k.)
This is only possible for us because of the side hustles my husband and I work on throughout the year, but it is important to both of us that I stay home because our youngest is not yet three years old.
My step-daughter and step-son are both in public school, but we are considering homeschooling as a long-term option for my bio kids, so a continuous stream of side income is important for my ability to be home long-term.
In this post, I want to share with you how we make this all possible and let you know that it’s possible for you, too. (You can also read about one of my side gigs, ZYIA Active, here.)
To begin, let’s talk about the importance of identifying needs versus wants from a financially responsible perspective.
Being A SAHM: Deciphering Needs VS. Wants
I would love to be able to say that the transition to stay-at-home-mom was an easy one. Financially it has been a huge adjustment, but it has also meant adjusting many other areas of our lives.
If you really want to figure out how to afford to be a stay at home mom, a serious examination of where you spend your time and money is necessary. This is the first and most important thing that needs to be done in order to successfully side-hustle.
If your goal is to be a stay-at-home parent if you aren’t already, this is absolutely critical if finances are your biggest obstacle. Before becoming a parent, I was spending my money on beauty products, clothing, going out with friends, and other fun things I’d now call luxuries.
However, I was absolutely certain that I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom, and I was fully prepared to make some serious sacrifices if need be.
So, let me ask you: do you really need that monthly beauty subscription? Is a smart phone necessary? Is Netflix absolutely critical? Think about all of those little things you spend money on regularly.
What’s really important?
I was able to give everything except for my gym membership up. It is something that is important to my physical and mental health, which determines my ability to be emotionally and mentally available to my daughter.
While this is true of my gym membership, it was not true for my Netflix and Hulu subscriptions. Decide which things you really need, not just for yourself, but to help you stay sane and be a good parent to your child.
Needs are sometimes quite subjective among varying lifestyles. You may be surprised at how your small spending habits add up to big savings. If your overall goal is to be financially stable as a stay-at-home-parent, start by evaluating potential savings in order to maximize your side-hustle efforts.
Sometimes it may be helpful to have an outsider look at your spending habits and bills and objectively identify unnecessary spending.
A great way to begin assessing your spending for the potential elimination of bills (and increase in savings!) is to keep track of all of your spending for at least one month. Keep track of every penny spent with complete honesty. This is the first step in figuring out how to afford to be a stay at home mom.
This includes money on bills, groceries, restaurants, clothing, healthcare, etc.– every penny! If you think that you will have trouble keeping track of each expense, you can use an app or website like Mint.com to keep track and categorize everything for you.
With a free service like this one, you can link your debit and credit cards to your accounts and all expenses will be automatically categorized and tracked. You can even set savings goals that connect to your savings accounts.
After you’ve taken an honest assessment of your spending, you might notice that you are spending surprising amounts of money on unneeded things.
When my husband and I tracked our own spending before our daughter was born, we saw that we spent hundreds of dollars a month on going out to eat and impulse buys at convenience and grocery stores.
We realized that the $10 or $20 spent here and there was really having a negative impact on our financial goals. We were then able to focus on staying home for dinner, meal planning, couponing, and other things to keep us from spending so frivolously.
When you finally take an honest look at your spending, I encourage you to make sacrifices in the name of the “big picture,” whatever that may be for you. Our “big picture” is the ability to be very present and intentional parents, the ability to offer all kinds of experiences to our children, and the financial stability to savor life instead of just live it.
Saving is a Side-Hustle For SAHMS
Side-hustles are as effective as you make them. What’s the point of having a side hustle to increase your income if you’re just spending it mindlessly? Maximizing your profit depends on how much you are saving.
If your goal is to help your family financially, one of the first things you need to assess is your savings potential. I fully understand that being frugal is not normal or natural to many people.
Saving money is a skill that requires focus, determination, and motivation. Focusing on a bunch of side hustles will be futile if you aren’t also finding ways to save money. Learning how to afford to be a stay at home mom is pointless without this factor.
Consider the potential savings that being a stay-at- home-parent provides:
- Daycare costs savings of $400+ per month.
- Savings in fuel if you stay home more often (as opposed to commuting).
- Savings on clothing costs. Many people have entirely different wardrobes for work than being at home. If you stay home, you can wear what you have (and what you want!) without having to buy specifically for work.
- Savings on food. Being “on the go” for work can get costly if we don’t plan ahead, meaning we spend more on coffee trips, lunch breaks, etc.
- Savings from lack of social pressure. It’s not something we like to admit, but when we are around other people who we want to impress, we spend more money. Staying home more can take some of that pressure off.
- Unlimited “other” savings potential – if you stay home, you have the time to clean your own house instead of hiring help, coupon, cook and plan your own meals, and the time to think ahead and prepare for travel, family time, etc.
Since I believe that saving money is a side-hustle in itself, I want to share with you a few ideas about how to start saving. The following pages include a list of ways you can start adjusting your lifestyle to make your side hustles count.
Money Saving Tips That Will Help You Afford To Stay Home
The ways to save money are endless, but not all are obvious to people with varying lifestyles. This list is divided into two parts:
- Little Ways to Save: Money saving tips that you can do now without any major life changes, and;
- Big Ways to Save: More involved money saving tips that require a change or bigger commitment in your lifestyle or financial perspective
Little Ways to Save / How to Afford To Be a Stay at Home Mom
- Save your re-closable plastic containers from yogurt, milk, meat products, etc. to wash and reuse later.
- Invest in faucet aerators to save money and water.
- Open/close windows and doors and wear layers before reverting to using air control.
- Fill your soap dispensers with water when they are close to empty.
- Check to see that all lights and outlets are off in your house several times per day.
- Make your kitchen sponges last longer by steaming them in the microwave to kill germs.
- Make your own holiday decorations from things you already have.
- Play board/card games at home instead of going out to see a movie, play, etc. that costs money.
- Turn your smartphone data off and on manually when you go places to ensure that it’s not being used when you forget to close apps or turn location services off.
- Start paying attention to ads and sales and coupon when you can.
- Visit the library to find new, free ways to entertain yourself.
- Wash your towels only every other use.
- Use slightly cooler water in your baths and showers to conserve energy.
- Save everything, including your pennies.
- Weather strip your windows and doors to help with energy costs.
- Use up everything in your pantry or cupboards before making your next grocery run.
- Use home or natural remedies to combat colds and headaches.
- Make your own soap, laundry detergent, and other cleaning products.
- Invest in reusable bottles for water.
- Wash and reuse plastic bags unless they had raw food in them.
- In the summer, water your garden deeply 1-2x per week instead of daily.
- Water your lawn or garden at the coolest time of the day in the summer.
- Keep and redeem all of your bottles and cans to get your deposit returned.
- Switch to energy-saving light bulbs.
- Use your towels more than once before washing.
- Set time limits for showers.
- Wear lightly worn clothes longer between washes.
- Walk to work or the store when you can.
- Start a carpooling group.
- Trade things you don’t need or want for things you do usingCraigslist, clothing swaps, etc.
- Download coupon and grocery store apps to maximize savings and rewards earnings when shopping.
- Meal plan to avoid going out to eat excessively.
- Set up automatic bill pay.
- Enable direct deposit from your paychecks into a savings account.
- Wash your hair only every other day.
- Sign up for freebies in the mail.
- Thrift shop and check consignment stores before shopping department stores when you need new clothing.
- Visit the clearance/sale section before buying items at retail value.
- Combine your trips around town to be more fuel and time efficient.
- Plan meals more than 3 days ahead to avoid impulse buys and trips to restaurants.
- Compost kitchen scraps to create less waste and feed your garden.
- Go on free dates and family outings- to the park, for a walk, freecommunity concerts, etc.
- Use up everything in your fridge and pantry before makinganother grocery shopping trip.
- Go old school and write down all of your expenses in a checkbook.
- Set your washing machine and dryer to a cooler heat setting to useless electricity for heating.
- Always make a grocery list before heading to the store to make sure you buy only what you need and don’t have to return after forgetting something.
- Reuse plastic grocery bags in your own home to reduce waste.
- Consume all leftover meals before cooking something new, even if you have to get creative!
- Keep a payment schedule for all of your bills in order to avoid missed payments, overdraft fees, and maximize savings.
- Buy staples like flour, rice, butter, etc. in bulk whenever possible.
Big Ways to Save / How To Afford To Be A Stay At Home Mom
- Learn to preserve food by canning and dehydrating. This requires an investment in time and money for tools and learning, but it pays off over time.
- Learn to keep a garden for growing your own fruit, herbs, and vegetables.
- Learn how to raise and process your own animals for meat and other products.
- Downsize houses, cars, boats, or other oversized or luxurious possessions.
- Invest in reusable and sustainable items for all areas of life— from dryer balls to energy efficient vehicles, windows, etc.
- Stop going out to eat so much!
That last one might have been a mental note to myself.
But hopefully this helps you understand how to afford to be a stay at home mom.
The list above is full of things I actually do!
On top of these savings tips, I do have a couple of side hustles that have helped me a bunch over the years. My top two are 1) Blogging, and 2) ZYIA.
If you’re curious about learning how to blog, I have a bunch of resources for you:
- How to Start a Blog
- How to Make Money Blogging | 2020 Guide For Beginners
- Blogging Income Report May 2020
If you’re curious about the ZYIA Active opportunity (in direct sales) I have info, too:
- Why I Decided To Become A ZYIA Active Rep
- Become A ZYIA Activewear Rep
- The Truth About ZYIA (From A New Rep!)
Do you have any more tips on how to afford to be a SAHM? Please share them below so that other women can read them. 🙂