Are you taking a financial hit by being a stay at home mom?

Kristin - posted on 05/29/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )

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My husband works and I stay at home. we have a 10 month old son together and he has a 9 yr old son and a 12 yr old daughter from a previous marriage.
when i was working, we could afford the extras and were living comfortably.
now that i've been a stay at home mom for almost 2 years, i've really been noticing what we have given up. i mean, the bills are always paid and we are taking a vacation next week. but the little things, like buying things for the house vs putting food on the table. buying what ever we wanted when we wanted vs paying the bills.
i really miss when i could just go out and buy clothes whenever i needed them, or going out to dinner a few times a month.
i shouldn't really be complaining because we have what we need and the bills are paid, but i so miss the extras. it is definitely worth giving up those extra things to stay at home with my son, but i do miss them.

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[deleted account]

Honestly, I don't really miss the extras. We were never "extra's" kind of people anyway. When I worked, most of my income went into savings anyway, so when I stopped, all we really noticed was that the savings were not growing as fast anymore.

That said, I still indulge in the occasional extras, we go on vacations, but we fly coach and stay at the Holiday Inn. I still buy clothes when I want them (well, not ANYTIME I want them) but I buy them on sale and coordinate with what I already have--so I can buy a shirt and have 3 new outfits, rather than buying a shirt and realizing I need to invest in a skirt, jacket, and new shoes to wear it.

You can still indulge a little, you just have to plan it.

Tameka - posted on 05/30/2011

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It is certainly a strain in our family at times. Sure, the bills are paid and we always have food. I don't buy clothes for me and my hubby doesn't want clothes either. The only time the adults get new clothes is when there are too many holes or are see through. Our children get clothes all the time because they're so young and are growing all the time. But it is from the cheaper shops. I would love to buy clothes from Target for my children but our budget won't allow it. I am being forced back to work next year as it is just not viable for me to be a SAHM anymore. I've done the figures and I will get around $1,000 a month after childcare and school fees. The cost of living is a joke these days. Rent and childcare have gone up 10% each year (this is in Australia) for the past five years. Food has gone up 30-65% a year each year over the past seven years. Banks also refuse to lower interest rates whenever the Reserve bank does but increases them when the Reserve Bank does so like many other families mortgage stress bothers us too. Hubby's pay has gone up 2% over 6 years so we really can't afford me to be at home any longer. I'm sad by it but my arm is being twisted...

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Melissa - posted on 08/18/2011

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Right there with ya Tasha....we r so lucky to home with our kids! I have friends that chose the other route and not only do they both work 40 hrs a week they socialize and still live the same life they had before they had a baby...I try not to judge them for that but am curious on why they even chose to have a baby ..they judge us constantly for not being able to do things...but clearly we chose a different route....and I am happy with not being able to do anything because this time with my child is priceless!

Tasha - posted on 08/18/2011

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Certainly, but the ironic thing is it wouldnt even make sense for me to go back to work now as daycare would cost so much. It has been tough, before our son my husband and i made well over 100k a year, so we were spoiled, now i do my hair myself and havent gone shopping for myself in over a year, we have alot a med bills and it seems we'll never get out from under all the financial strain. But i feel its better than paying someone else to raise my son.

Melissa - posted on 08/18/2011

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OMG we can't seem to afford anything..I had to take a weekend job just to have money to have a life!

Kkrjrpleggett - posted on 08/18/2011

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It is normal I think to miss not having some of the extras anymore. Every family who decides to move from having two to only one income is going to take a hit, no matter how much money that one income provides. There are ways you can cut some of your bills to allow for more "free" cash. There are a lot of websites for coupons to cut your grocery bill, how about those movie channels on your cable or satellite? Do you really need an unlimited texting plan? I know I'm making generalizations by assuming that you Have those things, but most people do, and for some reason consider them a essentials, when they aren't. My hubby and I cut those things, and noticed, we don't miss them at all. The only reason I even still Have a cell phone is so I can be reached in case of an emergency and I'm not home. When I am home, the cell is turned off. We lost over half of our cable channels because we noticed we don't watch them. Cutting those channels, having a small texting plan and the lowest number of minutes on our cells saves us 204/mo. That's a few dinners out! Couponing can be very time consuming but worth it if you're willing to give it a try. We also lost our store credit cards, JC Penny, Macy's etc. The interest rates alone are killer. If we want/need something then we'll pay cash, if we don't have the cash and truly need the item then we use our generalized low interest rate credit cards. Bottom line, there are things you can be doing to make it easier, and allow for extra cash. If you truly enjoy being a stay at home mom, you can make it work.

Wendy - posted on 06/02/2011

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We took a huge financial loss when I stopped working to have our first, cut our yearly income in half almost, but we were also both working full time and then some. I was also diagnosed with a chronic illness shortly after our son was born which has always made working difficult for me, but has gotten worse since having children. We get by pretty well these days, we now have 2 children, aged 30months and 13months. My husband works full time plus some as he always has - and we do miss out on some of the things we used to do - but we get so much out of the kids being able to be brought up how we want them with me staying home, rather then relying on somebody else to teach them things we may have other wise not chosen. We also do more outdoor things than we used to because it is cheaper - and the benefits (hikes, walks, parks, lake swims, etc) are much much better. Also, as someone else pointed out, if I were able to go back to work, I wouldn't be able to go full time with two children under 3 in daycare, can you say EXPENSIVE. We don't qualify for subsidy because although we technically don't make enough a year, we fall just outside of the nec. tax bracket to get it - so a good 95% of any income I could make working a little over part time, would go straight to paying for a daycare type environment. We love what we have going now, and wouldn't change it for the world!

Charlene - posted on 06/02/2011

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I don't think our family is. I have been a SAHM for 6 years. I don't drive, we only own one vehicle, live in town. I also do a lot of things to save money, couponing, hanging laundry on the line, grow our own vegetables. If I worked, I would have childcare costs x3 and no time to hang laundry on the line and maintain a vegetable garden. Time flies, I enjoy every moment with my children, they grow to fast. I don't feel like i'm missing out anything, i'm incredibly happy at home taking care of my husband and children.

Honor - posted on 06/02/2011

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I found that the biggest thing I had to give up, was my ego. There was a big sense of pride and accomplishment, when I got that paycheck every month. I have tranfered that to my sweet (most of the time) family. I am lucky to have a wonderful husband who makes me feel part of a team. I may not bring home the "bacon", but we are both working together for our family!

Katrina - posted on 06/02/2011

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after I stopped working, we ended up cutting back until there was no more to cut. That's when I decided to try another work from home business, my 3rd one. This one I love, I don't need to leave the house to do parties, I don't have an inventory because I don't sell anything. I'm really looking forward to being able to do some extras this summer w/my 9 y/o daughter. She wants cable back, but thats one thing I really don't miss. lol

LovinLifeAsMommynWife - posted on 06/02/2011

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Being a SAHM, may mean that we may have to make certain sacrifices. It's well worth it to be home with our little ones. Have you ever thought about working from home ot make some extra money for yourself? I work from home and I love it!

[deleted account]

Cable is one extra I never missed. We turned it off 5 years ago (I was still working) because my husband would put off doing stuff until "just after this show". I got frustrated and turned it off, and our lives have been so much more fulfilling the past 5 years--we spend time in the evenings on bike rides, walks with our dog, we play board games (there is a Dr. Seuss line that even the youngest toddlers can play), and actually talk to each other. Until we turned it off, I had no idea how much of our time was wasted watching shows that mean nothing to us.



It took some getting used to--I hung a note on the fridge with "Stuff I want to do" ideas on it, and added to it whenever I thought of something, then when I felt bored, I looked at it and picked something.

[deleted account]

I love reading all these posts because they inspire me to love living simply. But I can really relate to missing the extras! I have a high paying career and I can work 2-3 days a week and it still offsets daycare by a lot so that puts a lot of pressure on me to work but my heart is really not in my work right now. I am addicted to being a mom and I will do anything in my power and try to cut as much out as I can to make it work for me to stay home. We are missing cable TV, eating out, buying clothes, etc. but we are a very happy family with a home (needs a little cosmetic work that we can't afford), a minivan (used but great for us) and healthy children! We are blessed! All you moms have really inspired me! xoxo

Denise - posted on 05/31/2011

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I have been a stay at home Mom for 6 years and I wouldn't change anything. I started a home business to help with the income and now that both my boys are in school full-time I am still a stay at home Mom because I know I can make more money working for myself than I would get paid trading my time for money. And it is true, if you go to work outside the home and have to pay for daycare it basically cancels out your pay so you might as well stay home with you kids. If you are missing things then I would suggest starting a home business that will give you a little play money. :)

Erin - posted on 05/30/2011

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I miss the extras too. Like getting my hair dyed at the salon, nails done, eating out whenever we wanted, buying clothes brand new, having newer vehicles, satellite tv, buying steak instead of hamburger, having a BB instead of a prepaid cell phone, and plenty of other unneccessaries. But that's what they are, and being home with my children trumps my looks ;) When you go down your list of needs, wants and luxuries, your children always seem to take the first place on those lists. My family is indespensable to me, everything else can be cut off in an instant. I would live in a shack with no running water if that's all we could afford. It's life and we only have one together.

Mary-Ann - posted on 05/30/2011

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I miss the extras sometimes too, but me going to work and forking out $1800 a month for daycare, just isn't worth it to us. I couldn't bring in enough money to cover that. I'd rather be home with my kids, Once they go to school full time, I will get a part time job. Like the op, we pay the bills and we have enough to eat, but don't buy much for extra. And when we do, it's often for the kids.

Bridgette - posted on 05/30/2011

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As I made more money than my husband we are really missing out on money with me not working. We have things budgeted out so that I can be off work for a while, but unless things change at some point I will need at least a part time job to keep us afloat. The problem with that is the same as many others - finding a job that will pay for daycare and still give some extra income!

[deleted account]

We are honestly saving money by me not working. Day care alone would cost us more than I could possibly make. We didn't have new clothes or anything fancy before children. So we didn't really give up much either.

[deleted account]

We wouldnt make any money if i worked. The price of daycare alone for 3 children would more then eat up my paychecks. I find it easier to stay home for many reasons. I have choosen to give up alot (new clothes, my body, my mind(I think its in the pile of laundry sitting by the stairs), but no one can teach my children or understand them like me so I'm ok with it. I miss the extras too, but atleast I have my kids and a husband who loves me for me!

[deleted account]

I made maybe 2/3rds of what my husband makes, but we've always tried to live simply, whether we had money or not -- so I guess I don't notice it that much.

We've been extremely lucky with hand-me-down clothes and toys from generous friends and family, though. I've hardly bought my son a thing. Plus, breastfeeding and co-sleeping are free. :)

I realize this will change when he gets a little older. There will be pre-school fees and all the rest of it.

Could you budget around an occasional dinner out?

Louise - posted on 05/29/2011

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In England you would not be any better off working than you are now. Child care for a child under 2 is about £250 a week and that is after you have paid tax so this would consume an average wage. I have always stayed at home with my babies until they were at an age that they could either stay at home on there own or join a sports club. My career has always been built around my kids. When my sons were small I worked in their school as a teachers aid and when they got older I went into pre school teaching and worked term time only. This way I was always around for the holidays. My daughter is now 2.5 and I will be at home another 2 years before I look into going back to work. It is a strain on the family and if things do get rough I will look into working evenings whilst my husband is at home to earn a little extra cash. What you are going without now is material things but what your child is benefiting is priceless.

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