Can you afford to stay home with your children?

One of the pressing issues about having a child is that you will want more time at home than before. Hence, it is natural to consider if it becomes viable to be a stay home mom (or dad) so that your child gets all the support he or she needs.

Is this a financially viable option?

From any angle you see it, this could be one of the most financially challenging decisions you would have to make. In fact, it could cause new issues that might affect your partner and you emotionally. Hence, the first and perhaps only question you need to answer is:
Can your partner support the family financially?

Issues to consider

Being a stay-home parent sounds good on paper. You need to weigh the pros and cons. On one end, you will need to decide if this is what you really want to do. Among the issues to really consider includes:

  1. Finance – Your entire family will be depending on one paycheck. Will that be sufficient?
  2. Options – Would it be better if you sent your child to a day care instead of staying home? That would take away all the complications as you can now both be working
  3. Stress – Over time, the pressure and stress might take its toil. You need to be prepared for that
  4. Necessity – Perhaps this might be necessary for the first 2 years of your child. But would this be necessary in the long term? What happens when your child is more independent? Would you go back to work? How easy or hard will that be?
  5. Alternatives – How about sending your child to your parents? Would that be better since it is a good option to have your child grow up with the old folks

Where do you start?

There really is only one thing to do and that is to do the math. It is not always this bleak because if you add up all your expense (both expected and unexpected ones) and then subtract it from your partner’s income, it might not be enough. It will never be enough. But if you take a close look and calculate properly, this might really work to your advantage.

  1. First make a list of expenses. This should be those that are fixed like your mortgage payments, bills and commitments
  2. Then, calculate the expenses that are not fixed. This includes monthly memberships, allocation for vacations, entertainment and others.
  3. Next would be allocation for things like medical and home repairs which are mostly unexpected and not covered by insurance
  4. Now, look at what are those that you are spending most on

This is where it gets difficult as you now need to take out those that are no longer necessary. however, there are some additional costs for staying home. This includes:

  1. higher utility bills
  2. meals
  3. etc

On the other hand, you can now save on expenses like paying for daycare, shopping for working clothes, eating out, transportation and such. If you are lucky, you might not need the car anymore especially if you have child-friendly public transportation.
Now take a look at how much you really need and how much your partner can afford. If staying home is something you really want to do, then you might need a second income which you might be able to accomplish at home. Then make your decision.

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