What's YOUR worth as a SAHM?

Jodi - posted on 12/21/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I have heard many numbers thrown around about the financial worth of a Stay At Home Mom, everything from $30,000 to $160,000 and even $500,000, but these are often times generalizations based off of things most families wouldn't buy regardless of whether one parent stayed at home or not. Such things these are often based off of include the cost of a maid, a nurse, a chauffeur and cook and with the higher numbers, paying these positions for a 24 hour, 7 day a week career. With or without my staying home, I can guarantee you, we would not be employing these workers in our household! So I got to wondering, what is MY personal worth as a Stay At Home Parent?

I researched extensively and found an average, annual daycare cost for an infant in Wisconsin, full time, to be roughly $10,500! Multiply that by two (we're having twins) and we're looking at $21,000 a year for just my twins. My daughter is nearing 2, so no longer an infant, not yet preschool, but the closest average I could find for her was preschool age, factoring in at roughly $9,000 a year. For my three children (once the twins are born), in one year of full time daycare, necessary for having a full time job, it would cost us, roughly, $30,000, more than some minimum wage jobs would bring home. I will not factor in any overtime I possibly may have had to work or any late fees for picking up children late.


Next, I factored in gas to and from a job. For a job worth covering the astronomical daycare prices, I picked a city nearby, but much larger with much better opportunities at a better than minimum wage job, approximately 45 miles away, or 90 miles round day daily, 5 days a week. Current average price for gas is $2.86 a gallon, and rising nearly daily it seems. My car gets approximately 27 miles to the gallon (it's a gas guzzler!) So, I would be looking at 450 miles of driving for a 5 day work week, with my gas mileage I would be using about 16 and half gallons of gas each week costing me nearly $50.00 each week just in gas. There are 52 weeks in a year, so we're looking at an annual gas price of $2,600 a year, assuming the price of gas didn't raise and that I didn't have to drive out of my way to drop my kids off at daycare.

Let's talk food now, while I'm an advocate for bringing a lunch to work to save money, with three kids, a full time job and myself to tend to, I figure I would be purchasing a ready made lunch twice a week (and that is potentially the understatement of the year!). Let's take a super cheap meal at a fast food joint costing $5.00, twice a week for 52 weeks is $520 a year. That's assuming I didn't go to a restaurant with a pricier menu, didn't purchase soda or a candy bar or chips from a vending machine.

Just in these three areas, we are looking at an annual cost of $33,120 dollars. My job as a Stay At Home Parent saves us more than some minimum wage jobs! This does not factor in pays lost due to taking time off for child sickness or daycare inability to watch children, it also doesn't factor in the extra electricity and utilities I currently use as a Stay At Home Parent. It does not factor in the money saved by cooking homemade meals vs buying insta-meals (aka, frozen meals or meals from a can), coupon clipping or budget shopping, which I may not have time for with a full time job.

My economic, financial worth may not be $160,000 a year, but knowing my job saves us the cost associated with my getting at least one job sure makes me feel pretty good. Regardless of what the number crunching comes to, a price sticker cannot be put on my worth as a Stay At Home Parent. I get to raise my daughter (s) with my values and morals, teach them the things they need to know, give them more individualized attention than they would in a daycare setting, make memories with them, see all of the "firsts", create a bond nobody can touch and reap a satisfaction I never knew possible. I don't receive a paycheck, sick time, vacation time or bonuses, heck, I don't ever even get to be off-call, I get paid in kisses, hugs, smiles and the satisfaction of seeing my hard work turn into a thriving person, no paycheck could compare to my "salary".

So what's YOUR worth? If you were working would you really hire a maid, a cook, a driver etc etc? It's nice to hear that we do all these jobs (and we do), but realistically, I don't know a single working mother who hires these people, they still do that jobs themselves, just like we do...

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Candy - posted on 12/26/2010

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I couldnt put a price on this. Knowing my child will grow up with Mom there when she needs her. The fact that they are safe staying with me and not strangers. The getting to see every little thing they do and try. No there is no price I could ever put on this wonderful life God has given me the chance to live.

Cara - posted on 12/23/2010

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If you take the cost of daycare(for all kids), babysitters for those times when daycare is closed and you still would be at work, the cost of gas to get to and from work every day, the cost of all the extra visits to the dr due to your child being sick more frequently, the times you'd lose part of a paycheck to take the sick kids to the dr or even just to stay home with them til they are well, the times you'd lose part of a check to stay home with them for snow days or things like such, the cost of having 2 cars that are used everyday, the cost of meals for you during work days, the cost of nice clothes to wear to work everyday, the cost of the extra laundry you would have to do due to having to dress nicely for work everyday...the list goes on and on. Even if I worked outside of the home I would not have a housekeeper but i do understand why some factor that in. I don't receive a paycheck for everything I do, things are tough at times financially, but my husband and I both feel that me being home with our children is our best choice for them and for us financially. While it would be nice to get "paid" I still LOVE MY JOB and wouldn't have it any other way!

Jennie - posted on 12/23/2010

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Thank you for doing this research! It's hard to feel worth that much somedays but after reading this I feel like a million bucks! I stay at home with my 2 boys and am SO thankful that I can!

Jodie - posted on 12/22/2010

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I'm not sure what I'm worth but I'll share with you the math we did before our third child was born. Where we live, there is one daycare and for 3 kids it would have cost us $1200 a month. My gas to get to my job was $500 a month. I was a teacher and once we deducted the $1700 from my take home salary I was left with $180 a month. I was teaching EVERYTHING from K-8 which required me to actually put in anywhere from 12-16 hours a day. Doing the math at 5 days a week (I'm being optimistic because I actually had to work 7 days a week to get things done) at 12 hours a day is 60 hours a week. Now take my income, $180, and divide by 60 you get an hourly wage of $3. Now, I don't know much but I do know this. My time was worth more than that!

[deleted account]

I didn't get as detailed as you, but I have thought about it. The daycare I'd WANT my daughter to be in would be 1/4 of my income as a teacher. I have another kid coming in March, so raise that to half.

Also, as a SAHM, I view it as part of my job to SAVE money. So I shop sales, cut coupons, buy used, etc. I cook from scratch and we are the "do it yourself" type. We wouldn't have time to do those things if I worked.

So really more than half my income would be gone. My husband and I decided it's not worth it for me to work, unless I WANT to work outside the home. I'd rather be home. We're very happy. =)

[deleted account]

I kind of see what Amber is saying, but the whole thing where people were figuring up these "salaries" was started to give the roll of sahm "worth" and if you are going to factor in things that working moms do also, you have to add it to their "worth" in addition to their salary from their actual paying job. So I think what Jodi is trying to do is find a worth for the job she does that working moms do not do, thus her value as a Sahm.....if that makes any sense :P

Mine came out to about $30k. That is not really much in my area, most jobs pay a lot more than that, but I love staying home, and I think that experience is well worth the corners we've had to cut to live on just my husband's salary.
When I worked, I did have a housekeeper ($360/month), Landscaper ($60/month), and an in-home nanny for my son ($1,300/month). On top of those things, I NEVER had time to make lunch for me or my husband, and I often used lunch for meetings and, thus, ate at pricier places, so between the two of us, we were spending over $100/week just on lunches! I now make my husbands lunch, and eat mine at home--we spend less than $40/week now, if that :)
I also had to spend about $1,800/year on my wardrobe...about $600 each for 3 suits a year. If I stuck to classic styles, I could wear them for several years, but I like to keep 10-12 in rotation so I don't always look the same...I still buy clothes, but I can get a year's wardrobe for the cost of one suit. Plus they all had to be dry cleaned, which was about $60/month--most of my clothes now are machine washable. Gas was about $90/month, I lived close to my office. And Groceries were about $400/month more than I spend now b/c I used a gourmet grocer that put all my recopies together for me and delivered them once a week, so I still served home-made meals, but all I had to do was heat the dishes up.

Stifler's - posted on 12/21/2010

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I don't think we can put a price on it TBH. It's my lifestyle to stay home and look after my kids not my job and my husband does help and stuff so I'm pretty happy.

[deleted account]

Cost of daycare around here is 1,200 a month so right there is 14,400. We would have to buy a second car or get a bus pass, assuming a buss pass that would be another 300 a month. I make meals that last into lunches but only enough for my husband. That would mean that our food budget would go up by about $100 a month.

So my worth is about 19,200... that's about 2,000 less than what my husband makes. I would have to have a very good job to pay for all that. Working at the mall certainly wouldn't pay for that.

There is a reason why I don't work. It would cost us more for me to work than for me to just stay home.

Amber - posted on 12/21/2010

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The salaries of maids, cooks, drivers, etc... are factored in because mothers do all of those things. They aren't saying that you would hire those people if you were working.
The way that it is calculated is to say, for the hours that you do all of these activities every day, you would be paid this dollar amount for that job.
It's not saying how much you save by being a stay at home mom. It's saying how much you would get paid by professional standards in each of the jobs that you do as a stay at home mom.

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