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Want to have more time with your kids? Get tips on how to prepare your finances to become a stay at home parent!
There are several reasons why couples may want to have at least one of them stay home with the kids. In most cases, it's a mix of the practical and the emotional.
Benefits of Being a Stay at Home Parent
There are plenty of practical and personal benefits to becoming a stay at home parent.
On the financial side, you can save money with childcare. Having your kid in daycare can be extremely pricey.
The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) found that the average cost of daycare in the United States for an infant or toddler is about $972 a month. For an urban area like NYC and San Francisco, it can be closer to $2,000!
That's a significant amount. If you have two kids or more kids, daycare can be as expensive as your housing.
Besides the financial advantages, there's also emotional benefits with staying home and spending time with your children.
Even with these benefits, there are other factors you two need to talk about before making this transition.
Making the Money Work to Be a Stay at Home Parent
While some consider staying at home a luxury, most parents I spoke to made sacrifices with their budget so that one of them could stay home full time.
- Make sure you're both on board – This is most certainly a team effort and both of you need to be ready for this transition.
- Review and understand your finances – You can't go into this with blinders on. You want this change to not be overly stressful or tense. Grab your numbers and see where you are. Two of my favorite free online tools to use are Personal Capital and Mint. If you prefer pen and paper, do that.
- Move finances so the essentials are covered under one income – You don't have to wait for kids to do this. Actually I think all couples can do their finances a huge favor if they adopt this goal. Do a line by line check of your expenses and try to get a better deal.
- Do a test run your new budget – Here's where you two can give yourselves some peace of mind and improve your finances. As soon as you can, begin living on that one income. Pretend that the stay at home parent's paychecks aren't coming in. See what areas you need to improve on. With that second income you can either pay down any high interest debt you may have or you can stash it in savings to help you smooth out any rough patches when you are down to one income.
- Be willing to adjust – Being parent doesn't change the fact that life happens, so understand that it will take adjustments to make the numbers work.
But what if you two are deeply in debt or your income drops too much to support your expenses? What do you do then?
So are there situations where staying at home with the kids can harm your finances?
I think one situation that can be a huge obstacle is debt – specifically high amount or high-interest debt.
My general advice is to become debt free if you want to stay home.
Double down, especially with testing out keeping expenses under one income.
Any money you're able to use to get rid of your debt is bringing you one step closer to your goal.
Resources to Transition Your Finances
Need advice and tips from people who have become debt free? I've done several shows and interviews!
- Paying Off Your Debt Faster as a Couple
- Stressed Over Debt? How to Get Free
- Questions Answered on Paying Your Debt Faster
- How to Stop Fighting About Money and Build Wealth Instead
- Saving Quickly & Easily for Baby
Download these and start listening together!
Whether it's using the debt snowball or the avalanche, it's vital that you two have a plan that fits your personalities.
I completely understand having a strong desire to stay home with the kids, but you have to look at the big picture. It's not just about the numbers, it's your marriage.
I don't want it to be a situation where that the spouse who is working outside the home feels this added burden with being the sole income provider.
You may find that one way that you can stay at home with the kids and pay off debt is earning some income either as a side project or becoming a work from home parent. But that's not always as easy as it looks.
Tomorrow, I'll share some tips on how you can work from home without going insane. 🙂