Affording to Stay at Home

Updated on September 24, 2007
B.B. asks from Saint Augustine, FL
18 answers

We are financially struggling with two children under the age of 27 mths. I am currently working because my husband doesn't support me staying at home. Close to 60% of my salary is going to daycare but I supply the healthcare insurance. I was wondering how other larger families afford to have one parent stay at home and make ends meet. We tried trading in our car for a cheaper car payment but we are upside down and can't get a lender to insure a car with the added amounts from being upside down. I worked with one of my husband's old school friends a few years ago and he owns a house makes slightly over 40,000 a year and has four kids. His wife stays at home. I am wondering how they do it and other people like them. We would be making about that much a year if I stayed at home but I don't see how we can afford it. I also have huge student loans. I don't want to live in a bad neighboorhood and we do need a house for the kids to have room to play outside. Plus, we need to be able to buy clothes sicne the girls are growing so fast. I know you can buy second hand clothes but I have a fobia of clothes other people wore. I could never even wear my friend's clothes when I was a teenager. I know it sounds dumb but I can't get over it. I don't buy my girls expensive clothes and I haven't bought myself any clothes for a while now. I wear worn out shoes to work that actually have holes in them and bring lunch most days. I try to cut back as much as possible. I want a large family but now I am so discouraged that we might not be able to afford it. I couldn't imagine my life without a lot of kids. Also, I can't bring myself to go on birth control, even though I know we can't afford another child. We spent 7 yrs trying to get pregnant with my first child. My husband and I almost got divorced. We worked things out and then I was pregnant. Within 10 mths of having my first child I was pregnant again. I prayed everyday for 7 yrs to have children and I feel like I would be slapping God in the face if I went on birth control. I prayed for children and now he wants to bless me and I am saying no. What if he never lets me have kids again after that. I was wondering how other people make ends meet on one income, how do you afford heathcare or save money for retirement or to pay off debt. I need some saving ideas and plan.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

My husband's job isn't going too good with the housing market, so I will not be able to stay at home. He hasn't been paid for 6 weeks out of the last 2 1/2mths. My income is the main source for the family now so I can't take any chances with that. i appreciate all of the advice and wish I could do my life over again and make sure my husband was willing to get an education before I married him, so I would be able to stay at home with our kids.

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.W.

answers from Panama City on

Just an idea of what I do. I was a single mother of three and I make a full time income with Mary K. Cosmetics.
If you want to talk more about it you can call or email me.
[email protected]____.com or ###-###-#### www.marykay.com/kaywillard

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.L.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi B.!

I can make a couple of suggestions that really work for me. First, if you have ANY credit card debt at all, get rid of it as quickly as possible. If you can't afford to do it on your own... check out American Financial Solutions, at www.debtfixers.org. They are a non-profit that charges no fees to enter their program, then they negotiate with your credit card companies to get rid of late/overlimit fees and reduce your interest rate while paying it off. They do a complete budget analysis to come up with how much you are paying now and how much you can afford to pay going forward. They are WONDERFUL. I am 3 payments away from finishing off $18,000 worth of debt and it only took 4 years... believe me, the time passes either way and this way provides much less stress! I won't say it's not challenging but it's WAY worth it in the end.

Second... check out organizations like RADO and Operation New Hope locally, who offer both credit counseling (like above) as well as affordable housing for people who qualify and it sounds like you guys would.

First time homebuyers in Florida also may qualify for LOTS of incentives through the FL Bond Program... everything from grants for downpayment assistance, etc. Check out http://www.floridahousing.org/Home/HomebuyersRenters to get more info.

Good luck! You can do it!
K.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

F.R.

answers from Pensacola on

In reference to the coupon using advice. A lot of coupons are for the more expensive brands, and you'd be better off just buying the generic sometimes. Some things are totally worth it though, so definitel clip, but look on the shelves first for the generic to compare the price.
Also... if you like free samples of things go to absurdlycool.com. Every day they post new things for free. I get tons of little samples. Laundry detergent, toothpaste, etc. All things that my family uses.
I do surveys from some people online and rack up points for giftcards or cash. Sometimes I get picked to do in-home testing for products.
My husband is military. Together we have 5 children. Two are mine from a previous marriage. One is his from a previous relationship. And we have two together. The youngest two live with us, but we pay child support for the other 3. If you budget and stick to it, you can be a sahm. You really have to KNOW where you're spending your money before you're able to do anything about it. Like stopping for coffee or going through the drive-through for lunch. Running inside the station for a snack when you're getting gas. Paying for carwash. Those things we don't really think about are the things that end up costing us the most. And the notion that you and your children can't wear used clothing is rediculous.
Being a SAHM is a choice you have to make with your husband and the two of you have to agree to find a budget that will work for you. You take the things you HAVE to pay and list those first, then put in the things that you should pay, but could be cut, then try to live on what's left over. A good system is pulling out cash for any expenses that aren't bills. Once that cash is gone, you can't buy anything else until next payday. You're more likely to watch how much you spend when you can literally see it leaving your hands.
I won't even comment on the religious beliefs you've stated because that's your personal relationship with God and if that's how you feel, then that's how you're going to feel. Work it out wiht him.
Good luck in your journey!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

I agree with a lot of what has been said so far. I would just like to add an additional godly perspective for you.

When I gave birth to my son, I didn't have a choice about going back to work. My job was ended. (Don't worry, it was perfectly legal.) So, now that I am a SAHM, I once again face the struggle of being over-extended with our family's debt. My husband is in the military and we never know what his pay will be from paycheck to paycheck so that doesn't help much with trying to budget.

We got to a point where we had to seek financial counselling and I insisted we speak with someone who could give us a godly perspective on how to manage what we have and how our finances should be prioritized once we get back on our feet. This may be different than what many will tell you, as I have noticed from all the advice I received from variant sources, but right now, you need to take care of your family! I was told that when you can't even do that, you need to stop your retirement savings, stop any other savings (with the exception of having at least $1000 set aside for emergencies), and start to work your way out of the hole you have dug. Rather than looking at interest rates, look at your remaining balances and start with what you can pay off the fastest! Then whatever you were paying on that one, put it toward the next one until it is paid off. Continue in this pattern until you get everything taken care of.

We are modifying this a little so that we can put more funds back into our grocery funds as those are incredibly lacking! You will find that you will have to scrimp to make ends meet for a while, but that is a sacrifice you need to make! Even when you buy clothes, you should look at the resellers and remember that everything is thoroughly cleaned before they are put out on the shelves. You can find some AWESOME bargains there. Also try this site: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jaxfreecycle/ This is a wonderful site where you can get things for free! You just have to be willing to put things up on the site to give away that you no longer need. I cannot tell you the variety of things you can find and what a blessing it is when you find what you need (I found an entire wardrobe for my son in Madison, WI recently!).

Definitely coupon clip and make sure you go to the websites that will best benefit you with their coupons, such as Huggies, Pampers, Johnson & Johnson, Beech Nut, Gerber, Enfamil, Nestle, etc. These sites send tons of coupons and samples that really help you save money. I have saved more money on diapers than ever before!

Before you shop, be sure to check out the web for some fantastic deals! I found cloth training pants for $1 a piece! You can't beat that price!

As far as wanting to stay home, that will be a decision for you AND your husband. I am sure he is looking for the best for your family. I commend you for your desire to stay home, as I believe that is supported throughout scripture, if not commanded. But, I also understand that sometimes our current situations prevent that. (By the way, the reason I have not returned to the workforce is two-fold: 1. I feel I can better serve my family from home under what I believe is God's command, and 2. I can't get a job that wouldn't put me farther in debt because of gas, childcare, etc.)

To touch on the birth control issue, let me tell you one thing. I think God will get you pregnant when He wants you to be whether you are using it or not. I, personally, have an Mirena IUD because we definitely cannot afford another baby! I know that when the time is right for us to conceive again, God will let us know. Oh, and don't worry, we got pregnant the first time once my previous IUD was removed. My son is the result, and what a joy and blessing he is!

I guess that is about all I can tell you for now. If you have any further question or need som clarity, please feel free to email me. I check it daily.

May God bless you today and always!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.S.

answers from Jacksonville on

You need to weigh all the pros and cons. I am a stay at home mom and my husband is the only one working, we make it work by having as little bills as possible and not spending what we don't have. I worked part time for a while and I might do it again, but at this moment I'm not and for most of my time at home I haven't worked, but my husband is also supportive of me staying at home because we have twin boys and the cost of daycare would eat at 80% of my income if I worked plus all the food/diapers/formula you have to keep the daycare supplied with as well as at home.
The best suggestion I could make is really talk to your husband and come up with a solid plan, talk about how you can cut spending to stay at home, or maybe get an evening part time job so you can stay at home during the day. Also try living on just his paycheck for a couple of months and try to put your paychecks in the bank and save it and see if you can make it work on just his income. I hope this helps, you both have to just be willing to do a trial run for a couple of months.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.H.

answers from Tallahassee on

You need to see a financial planner. They will sit down with you and go over your expenses, your income, and how you can save. It is possible - you just need some guidance, so go to the professionals!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.R.

answers from Tallahassee on

I would love to have a chance to talk with you!! I am a stay at home mom of 5 boys ranging from ages 16 to 2! There are ways that you make things work and I have found some of them that I would love to pass on to you. We make things happen on my husbands salary of about $26000/yr. We do have some extra income of about $1000 a month from me but I stay home! My email is [email protected]____.com and my Cell phone number is ###-###-####. I am in valdosta and would love to share some of my secrets with you!

D. R.
27 yr old sahm with 5 boys 16, 15, 12, 5, 2

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.H.

answers from Washington DC on

wow, lots to cover. I have one child and we couldn't possibly live on just 40,000 AND pay off debt (credit and student loans). We would just get in more and more debt especially if we kept money going into retirement (which you MUST do). Insurance is very expensive for women in their child bearing years and I would really think twice about giving that up with 3 dependants. How much do you know about the family you talked about? What is their debt? Are theirs parents helping them out? Don't assume that they are doing it easily. They are either accepting debt, not putting away for retirement or they have money from somewhere/something else. My husband and I finally broke down and asked a few people we worked with how they did it. The answer across the board was parents still helped them out. You need to stay financially viable to give the life to your children that you want to give without killing yourselves in the process.
I too, do not go shopping for myself or my husband, we eat at home usually all 7 days of the week and we don't go out much. We still needed to cut our spending so here is what we did: Most of our money was going to Publix and Walmart believe or not! I was going 3-4 times a week because I work full time and just wasn't planning properly. So my husband and I sat down and made a list of all lunches and dinners that we eat. I made a two week calendar and wrote down what i would need for the whole week and make a thorough shopping list. Now, I only need to go to publix to get banana's during the week. We then got a Sam's membership and buy everything we can there. The savings are amazing and now I do not step foot in walmart, ever! The idea is to stay out of the stores as much as possible to avoid the impulse buying when something is on sale (that you normally wouldn't get anyway) or you are just hungry. And, it really frees up more time. I still do publix and my husband does Sam's. Do you know how much cheaper milk is there? Unbelievable!

As for the additional children, I understand that you don't want to stop having them just because of money, I feel that way too to an extent. However, going on birth control isn't going to ruin the possibility. Out of BILLIONS of people, God is not watching you to see if you are going on birth control so he can punish you. That of course is just my personal opinion, but I am not religious. So I can't understand you risking your family and your marriage over it. My mother-in-law is Catholic and has 6 kids back to back because of this view and she finally had to give in because she couldn't take anymore kids! Her daughter Julie and just gone on birth control becasue her anti-birth control view landed her with 4 children back to back and she is young! She realized she can't keep going at this pace. I think the idea is crazy, but do what you have to.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.M.

answers from Jacksonville on

I know it can be hard to cut your spending, but if it's what you want then you need to get past your phobias. Your second girl shouldn't really need anything as long as you kept her older sisters stuff. Clothes for a toddler are not expensive, so I don't think that's where you are spending your money. If you are the one providing the health care then I think you should really think twice about staying home...unless you have other health care plans in place. As far as student loans, you can plead hardship and have them deferred for at least a year. It's a pretty good option that's easy to apply for. As far as birth control...if God is going to give you a child, it will happen regardless. I think there is little chance that He would spite you because you were taking caution. I don't think having a bunch of kids when you know you can't properly provide for them is the way to prove your devoutness. God knows when the time is right and if you do get pregnant again, just pray about it, God will provide the money. I'm living proof, in the past whenever money was tight, God always provided. I may have stressed about it, but He always delivered. I'll pray for your family, just remember that God works in mysterious ways and sometimes it's when you stop searching that the answers appear. God Bless!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

Z.M.

answers from San Juan on

hello! down size,down size,down size. find what you can do without! and cut it out of the budget. look closly, it is there. then find a gimic. something that will generate more money in less time. it can be done. example i worked with children as a teaching assistance. the money was nothing and my son was suffering. so i reinvented myself. i produced an after school program. i now work 3 hours a week for 3 times the money of a 40 hour job.think about what you have to offer and what you love to do. put them together and come up with a plan of action. as for your husband if he is anything like mine, money is the main concern. relax at this piont you only need to make 40% of your current pay. cut out day care, cut out the extras and come up with a gimmic. good luck

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.V.

answers from Jacksonville on

I really do not have much advice to offer in regards to making ends meet with a single income family........but I know how hard the struggle is everyday to be a working mother. I have a 2 1/2 year old Son, and My Husband and I both work full time. We are fortunate enough to have opposite days off and only have to put our son in child care 2 days a week(even though they make us pay full time). However, have you thought about working at night(possibly waitressing) so that you can be at home during the day and not have to pay childcare?? I waitressed in Destin for several years(summer only) and made around 600-700 dollars weekly and only working 4 nights. If you waitressed all summer you could probably put enough money in the bank until the next summer. But, Good luck with everything. Keep me posted on your situation!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.A.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi, B.. I am the stay at home mother of two young boys (ages 2 1/2 and 15 months). We really can't afford it so I'm now trying to find a job. We're living with my mother-in-law now, and it is terrible! We know that I'm going to have to return to work if we're ever going to get out of this house. I've been really blessed to be able to stay home with my kids for the past year, but I have no idea how families afford to live on one income (and pay 2 car payments, mortgage, utilities, etc.). Once we get one car paid off, I think we might be able to afford it, but like you, we're upside down on the one that needs to be paid off.

I'm sorry I can't give you any advice on how to make it work, but if you want to commiserate I can help with that...haha.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

We make it with four kids. My dh is in the Navy, but we're fixing to get out in Feb. I babysit one child for a buck and some change a week.

Here's where you'll get your help: www.daveramsey.com

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.K.

answers from Jacksonville on

it's not always easy to make things work...but my hubby supports our family completely financially. granted, he is in the navy, so our health care is covered, but i assure you...theres not a whole lot of money floating around here!!! some of the things we have done in the past few years:
cut out any unnecessary bills you may have. if you and your hubby both have cell phones...get rid of the house phone and use one of the cell phone numbers as your house phone on formal paperwork, bills, etc. the way my hubby and i see it, we don't have children who are old enough to stay home alone, so no real need for the house phone. even if it only saves you $20 a month....it adds up. if you have cable, or sattelite or or even just a lot of the movie channels or anything...cut back. get rid of it completely even. i know for some people, that right there is a $200 savings!! clip coupons!!! buying the sunday paper for $1.50 every week can save you a bundle on the grocery shopping. like others have suggested, make a menu for the following week or 2...then write down what is needed for those meals and make one shopping trip. saves gas, and saves you from those impulse buys. check the sale flyers before you head out, if you have several stores within a close distance, get some things at one place, and others elsewhere if you can get things on sale. don't go crazy with that though if places are out of your way....you may end up wasting more gas than the money you will save. look into memberships at sam's club, bj's, costco, etc. it may cost you $30 a year, but the savings are amazing!!! buying things in bulk not only saves you money, but makes shopping trips less frequent. i spent $15 on a big pack of toilet paper 6 months ago....and i still have about a month before i'll need more! buy the cheaper store brands of the items you do get. check labels on baby food and formula, in most cases, store brand formula will save you tons, but is no different from the expensive stuff. try store brand diapers and wipes. buy clothes on clearance. at the end of the summer, most stores have the summer clothes at a steep discount, stock up for next year!! buy them in the sizes you think your girls will be in, you can also do this with winter clothes at the end of that season.
another thing you can do....sit down and figure out your budget....but not the budget you would LIKE to have. sit down and honestly calculate what you spend and where. this can help you figure out where you can scrimp and save. total up what you spend on entertainment in a month, eating out, diapers, food, gas, bills, childcare, etc. and compare each with what you both make. when my hubby and i did this, we were chocked to see where the money was going. we figured out that we could save about $200 a month just with him bringing lunch to work instead of eating out. even those little pit stops at the store to get a drink or snack can add up.
above all else, make sure you have another plan for healthcare in place.
one other thing i do...i babysit kids in my home for a reasonable price. if i watch one child for $100 a week...that covers my car payment for the month, and best of all, i am making a bit of money, and still being home with my son and not paying for child care.
good luck to you and your family!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

F.S.

answers from Sarasota on

Hi B.,
I too am a SAHM. I have 3 children and I support our family of 5. My husband just recently lost his job, and it is hard work trying to budget everything. But I always say... just take things one at a time and you will get through it. By the way I provide AFFORDABLE childcare in my home. If you are interested in my services please give me a call... I am located in North Port. ###-###-####.
As for having more children, I know exactly what you mean, because medically I am not able to have more, but spiritualy I want tons more. Children are my world, and it saddens me to know I am unable to have more, but GOD has blessed us with our 3 we have and if it was went to be I accept it. Even though it is VERY hard to do so.
I shop at walmart, even though I do not prefer to shop there it is cheaper, and the quality is not bad. For clothes for the children I go to the clearane racks and get tops for about $1-3 and bottoms for about $1-6. Another lady here stated to make a menu for the up coming week or two, that is a great idea... which I also do. There are some great ideas here, but it is up to you which ones will best fit your life style. But please remember that to take things one at a time you are not going to stress as much and you may just find a way to help make your family grow with out having to sacrifice too much.
I hope this has helped you out some. Again, I do AFFORDABLE childcare in my home.. not a facility, and my hours are 24/7 so I am flexable. just give me a call even if your just wondering what the cost is for your two precious girls.

GOOD LUCK!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

I'm not going to comment on the problems you and your husband have but i will say that if he is not supportive of you staying at home it will not happen. God will not punish you for not having more kids. He will hold you responsible for taking care of the ones you have. Many people i know have 1 or 2 kids but want more but know they can't afford it. Having more kids will not help your situation. You are a professional, could you find a part-time (20-25 hrs a wk.) job at another company or work on your own? I have a friend who is a teacher and chose to stay home with her kids. She tutors several days a week to help out. Debt is a real problem for all of us. Have you seen the oprah show on living a debt-free life? Check it out. People have paid off debt by thousands of dollars in a year. Maybe work on that and work to staying home in the next year or so. I am a sahm and things are really tight. We have lots of family support, not money but my mom will buy some things for the girls, my mother-in-law will have us over for dinner twice a week,etc. Here are some things we do to try to keep expenses down. We only have one credit card. We learn years ago (bankruptcy) not to spend if we can't pay cash. We too had a upside down car payment. We stuck it out 3 years before we could get a more family vehicle and something newer. We only had one vehicle for the first year we had my 1st daughter. Now my husband drives a very old truck to work that he paid cash for. I buy mine and the girls clothes at consignment shops or the goodwill. You will be surprised what great things you can get there. I also take clothes there,nice to have some extra money from out grown clothes.all of the girls toys are second hand but i make sure they are safe and not old. With gas so high i only go out two or three times a week. And after a $180.00 electric bill i have moved the thermastat up to 75-78. I make a list any only go to the grocery once a week. I have started with coupons. Check out couponsurfer.com and go to site for things you buy, they sometimes have coupons there. I have had to really cut back on the grocery list. I buy lots of store brand items. I hate walmart but it reallt is cheaper. We don't sometimes realize what we get that we don't need. We try not to eat out much, mostly on the weekends. My husband takes his lunch to work 4 out of 5 days. He also works 50 hours a week.the main reason i didn't go back to work was daycare. It made no sense to spend all i would make on daycare,doctors,gas and work clothes.if you are serious about staying home, check out state gov't health programs and wic. You may qualify. I don't have insurance but we pay out of pocket for the girls. It runs about $130.00 per month for both of them. We bought our house before the girls were born but even now we couldn't get rent for the mortgage we pay. If you can't buy just think of it as you don't have to worry about fixing things all the time!! It is a goal to work toward. If you are serious do your homework. Start checking out health programs, working at home or more part-time. Some companies will do job sharing. Do you know someone that is in the same field as you and wants to work part-time? Job share. You will have to offer it to a company and show them that it is a good thing. We also cut out long distance phone service and all the call features they have now. We were paying $7.00 a month for call waiting!! We don't have cell phones. Would like one but can't afford it. Cut back on cable too. Shop around for car insurance. You may get a better price somewhere else. If i think of anything else i'll let you know. I wish you the best.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.N.

answers from Jacksonville on

no one now days can afford to stay home, it takes two incomes to live almost, but I stayed home while my kids were little, until they became school age, it was rough, I put them on medicaid, I needed to know that they had medical insurance, when the kids are small we went to the family dollar store and bought their clothes, they have cute clothes for cheap, I am married we have 5 kids living at home with us, and 2 grandchildren, me and my husband work, I only work part time, we buy the grandbabies clothes from the dollar store, my 4 year old granddaughter starts pre-k this year and that is where I did her school shopping, it is rough on us but I look for deals like buy one get one free at the store, we also buy family pack size meat and they last longer, we also have organization here that helps with daycare and pre-k it will only cost us 6.00 a week to put her in pre-k, cutting out coupons, and mail-in-rebates are good also, they help you save, I saved 7,540.00 last year at winn dixie, we also have a good out look on things, my husband was out of work for 2 months just recently and I was the only one with an income, and we made it, it was rough but the lord is always there for you, even when you don't think he is. I hope things are going alright with you and your family, and have faith you will make it through.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.G.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi B., I would love to share with you how you could be able to stay at home and work with your children by your side. Check out my website first here at Mamasource in the Perks section. G. G

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions