Will I Be Able to Be a SAHM? Wahm?

Updated on September 23, 2010
K.W. asks from Galt, CA
25 answers

Will I be able to be a stay at home mom? My husband makes a modest salary ranging from 20-24,000 a year. We have property taxes ever spring and winter. I am planing on cutting down on things such as entertainment and non essential items. My question is will this be enough to live on or sould I make money somehow? We dont have car payments. Our living expences are phone, cable, insurance, and food.

1 mom found this helpful

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

Featured Answers


answers from Dallas on

My hubby makes twice that amount and we barely make it by with me not working outside the home. And we don't even have car payments. So, I'd say you're going to need to work or be very comfortable with having NO extra for anything you want.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

I guess it just depends on how much those bills add up to be if it works out then why not? You could sell Avon or Mary Kay on the side. The sucky thing about that is you have to buy the starter kits I've been told other than that I wouldn't think It would be too hard to do.



answers from San Francisco on

I think that the US Government defines the "poverty line" at around $22,000 for a family of 4. I guess if you have no housing expense you might be OK however, you have no margin for error. If you have savings and excellent health care you may be OK.

More Answers


answers from Dallas on

I think that is a pretty tight budget. I would make money somehow and put it in the bank. Try to live on your husbands salary only. Your goal should be to have 6 months of living in the bank. You never know when something may happen where neither of you would be able to work. There is also college to think of and expenses you can't predict. If you are on such a tight budget then you are at risk of debt, which you want to avoid.

I have my own small business at home. Let me know if you would like me to tell you about it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Stockton on

I see that you live in Galt and we live in Stockton. At the time of our son's birth, my husband did not make alot of money. We live frugally and there our programs that can help you out.
Your child can qualify to be on Healthy Families insurance and the monthly cost is based on income. Also, WIC - great program that pays for milk, cereal, formula(depending on the age of your child), cheese, juice and I believe more products now.
It is tough living on one income but my husband and I agreed that it is best for me to be home with our children when they're young.
You can send me a personal message if you have any more questions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Are you currently working now? If so, then I would TRY it right now. Don't quit your job, just put ALL of the money you make into a savings account/rainy day fund and pretend that you didn't earn anything at all, like if you were staying home not working. If you cannot manage on it now, you won't be able then. If you can, then you can start saving all the extra that you are currently making to offset extra expenses later.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

It will be tight, but sit with your husband and discuss some ideas...

1. How long is he planning to work alone?
2. WIll you need childcare and when?
3. Do you pay for rent/mortgage and how much, when due?
4. What about food, will you be able to live on a limited budget
5. Will it affect your relationship and his view of you after 1 mo, 1 year, etc
6. Do you drive, is there maintenance issues for the cars, etc
7. Retirement, how old are you, and can you afford that long term?
8. Are you good at budgeting and can limit your expenses?

Just some things to consider and then you both can decide if that is enough for you to work or stay at home...every one's situation is different. Some can make it on little or nothing and others cannot give up certain luxuries.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If you have to choose WHEN or WHETHER to stay at home with your children there are certainly the economic issues to consider, but also the parenting and developmental ones. If forced to make a choice, I would save up to be able to be a SAHM when my kids hit about 5th or 6th grade. Being the mom who is home in the neighborhood during that tumultuous time can be really critical to their safety, development etc. during the middle school and high school years

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

This response is a gift--seriously--it will help you BEYOND measure!
Get a Dave Ramsey book--either Financial Peace or Total Money Makeover. Good plan for living on less than you make, eliminating debt, etc.
So the answer is--YES! With common sense and smart judgments you CAN do this, for sure!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Myrtle Beach on

I believe your husband will not owe income taxes if you have a child, but it will be tight.

Don't buy into any home sales companies. You have to not only sell overpriced things yourself in a horrid economy, but recruit people to sell.
I don't know anyone who ever was able to support themselves this way.
I know two ladies who got a car from Mary Kay. Just don't open their closets as they are stuffed with merchandise they bought and have not sold.

If you could do babysitting for an infant, you MIGHT find someone to pay you $400 per month. I know a doctor who allows her nanny to bring one child to her house to sit and pays very well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Provo on

Only you and the hubby can answer that. But maybe my experience can help: when my first baby was born , I knew that no one else could raise that child for me. My husband and I sat down and decided that he would provide for us and I would handle the SAHM stuff. That was fine when he was making $50-80K. But two years ago he lost his job and he spent 1 1/2 years looking for work. To say I wanted to get a job and help was an understatement. But he held firm to the idea that he needed to handle it and you know what, he did. He is. He got another job and basically had to start from the ground up. Now we have three kids and he is making less than $30K and it's still tough, but we're getting by. And I'm glad and don't regret in the least that I've done the SAHM thing to the best of my ability and the hubs doing his thing to the best of HIS ability. We're religious so we believe that our Heavenly Father is holding us in his hands and blessing us. And we believe things will get better. My point is, if you feel like it's the right thing: Have a little faith--in yourself, the hubby, and God. Things will work out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Depends...if you have a mortgage payment or rent and/or car payment with his salary range you will probably want to work at home or work in the evenings after your hubby is home. Working during the day would mean childcare and unless you have a great paying job it may not be worth it.

I do know of a WAH opportunity if you are interested.



answers from Honolulu on

Make money somehow.



answers from San Francisco on


Did you inherit property or do you earn an equal or higher salary then your husband? I ask because most people in the salary range of 20-24K per year are barely able to rent and get by.

I would take your paid maturnity leave and keep your job until you can save enough to sustain your household for 3 to six months. Start working on a plan for a home business now or just work part time.

Money is one of the biggest factors for spouses fighting and divorce.




answers from Redding on

Even if you can only pull it off for one year -- it will be a wonderful investment into your child.



answers from Sacramento on

Do the math. Yes your husband's income is low. (I'm not sure what the government says about poverty levels at this time, but it sounds like your husband's income is close to that). However that doesn't mean you can't be a SAHM.
Do the math and figure out how much you are likely to be able to earn. Then subtract from that amount a good estimate of what it would cost you to work. Figure in any extra clothing you might need, cost of transportation to and from work, childcare expense (a biggie!), extra cost for food (because when you can take the time to cook from scratch at home, it's a lot cheaper than when you need to either eat out more or use more quick fix items at home), and then don't forget to figure out whether your extra income would put your family into a higher tax bracket.
I did this type of math several times during the years we were raising our children. Each time it worked out that after my expenses I would have realized something in the neighborhood of $50 a month. Neither my husband nor I felt that was worth me not being home with the children.
Sometimes we felt as if we wouldn't make it financially, but we always did.
Oh, another thing I forgot to mention was that you need to consider whether the medical insurance you have with just you husband working is adequate. If you have decent insurance to pay for having the children and then taking care of their health needs, his low income won't be as much of a problem as if you don't have good insurance.
You will also want to do an honest assessment of your talents and abilities so you can figure out what you might be able to do to earn a little bit of money from home. Could you perhaps take in one or two children from friends who work.. or even just some part time babysitting for couples to go out at night? Do you have the ability to do sewing, or some special item you bake or cook that could be a sometimes money maker to help you out? Look around for items you might sell in a yard sale and put that money aside for a nest egg that will help you get through the next few years. Be creative. Also, is it possible that your husband has the time and energy to take on a part time extra job or do something from home himself that will help the money situation? Get creative in your thinking and you'll most likely come up with some ways to do this. I don't think you'll regret staying at home with your little ones. I know I never have!


answers from Phoenix on

This should be as easy as adding up all your bills as well as the cost for a baby (which I assume you are pregnant) and seeing if they are more than you make. This is something only you would know, none of us can really advise you on that. You also need to stash money away for emergencies as well as retirement, college, etc. We didn't have car payments either and then had to trade in one of ours and because we didn't have cash, had to get a loan and with our credit scores, the payment is not pretty. So life happens, and things change, and you need to make sure you are ready financially for it. Check out DaveRamsey.com. He has good advice for money management. Good luck.


answers from Dallas on

You need to bring something in to help. Multiple income streams is important. Carry NO debt. With that amount of income, you can't afford to have debt. Pay cash for everything.

I am not from your area but that amount seems low to carry a family. You have to be prepared for the future.

I'd be wary of signing up for sales, recruiting and things like that if you don't have the drive to carry it and money to fund it.

Babysit, do something.



answers from San Francisco on

Cable should be the first thing to go. But Wow. I guess it matters where you live. Galt maybe isnt as expensive as it is here but 24k is not very much money for even one person to live much less a family. Sorry if my message isn't as blindly positive as the others but I have seen the effects of poverty on children and it isn't pretty and they didn't deserve to live in the situations their parents put them in by being irresponsible. Also as much as I believe faith is impt but it is irresponsible to just think god will provide. I shouldn't need to remind you how many good Christians Can't feed their children. Prayer will not feed your family. U didn't mention rent or insurance- are you not paying for housing? Does your husband have full benefits? Are u already pregnant or thinking about it. It sounds like u need to be more responsible and budget out your living costs and the costs of raising a child. What makes u think people will tell you more than u know? Do you really think anyone is going to say "oh yeah that's plenty of money" yeah right. If they do then they arent very smart. Bottom line is maybe you can do it , but youare entering a high risk situation. Are you ready to accept that your child will not have all of the developmentally appropriate tools and you will not be able to give your child what u truly wish ( not to mentionsaving for college). So many people just collect welfare or take money from others. I wish there were more responsible people. U also didn't mention your age or career that has a lot to do with whether u will have the life skills to adequately budget. I dont even know why I am responding. Your message must be a joke, right?



answers from San Francisco on

Guys don't like to share "thier" money for very long.
If you can't get a job that makes enough, then see if you can help another mom by watching her kids. Another baby or just after school pick up and watching ( the older just sit and do homework/ eat/ watch TV but may need drop-off to activities). Look up what needs a license in your area, usually one other family's kids does not.
Enjoy your little one...



answers from Dallas on

Have you thought about partnering with a home based business? Or perhaps there is a company that has virtual assistants? This would give you both some extra income and allow you to stay at home.



answers from San Francisco on

Greetings, Good for you to be planning ahead for your children's best needs. I have had to work from time to time over the years and once my children were grown I was able to do so more.
If you are willing to be humble and live frugal then you can do it. It it wonderful that you are wise enough to not have many expenses. I know that we all have unexpected things that come up. I have several cousins that have 3-5 children who have all worked hard to be at home with thier children, they plan ahead for expenses as well as plan vacations that are resonable like camping and visiting family and friends out of area. None of them regret it and are wise enough to enjoy each blessing that they have by being able to do so.
I hope that you will be able to make this choice.



answers from New York on

I agree with one of the other answers. Put every cent u make into the bank and only live off of your husbands salary. See how you manage. I am a SAHM due with my 3rd baby next week. I left a very good paying job in order to stay home with my children and had to give up a lot, but also gained so much more being home with my babies. But my husband makes about 6x's what you said your husband makes. I live in NJ and everything is super expensive here. Most of it has to do with the cost of living in your area. We gave up a lot of frills but there are some things you can not cut back on such as food/electric/mgt/taxes. I hope you can stay home bc it is the best thing for your kids! (just my opinion) good luck.



answers from San Francisco on

I would get some part time work, if and when you can...maybe just childcare in your home. And think if there is a way your husband can increase his salary (by getting additional education or changing jobs?).
Unexpected events can create expenses you did not expect, and you can slip into debt, quicker than you would guess (I know from experience).


answers from Kokomo on

Do you not have rent/morgage or utilities? You also have to factor in gas, diapers/pullups, toiletries, cleaning/laundry supplies, do either of you smoke, do you have family you regularlly travel to see?

I go to school and just my boyfriend works.Until I graduate, any job I could manage to get around his revolving schedule would barely cover childcare so it makes sense for me to not work at the moment.

He makes about the same as your husband in a year, however we save our tax return, which is rather large. That is used to supplement our monthly income, or for large surprise expenses like car, holidays, health bills, big winter/ summer utillity bills, and all the other things that come along.
Do you have any kind of backup plan for things like that?

Also we live in a smaller town in Indiana, and have one of the lowest cost of living of anywhere I have ever seen (example: you can get a very nice 3 bed 2 bath house for 40,000, and 400 a month covers all the groceries you could possibly need). Shockingly low! I am positive in California you have got to have a substantially higher COL.

Also you have to be realistic about your spending, saving ability, and past fianacial history. I am extremely frugal and careful about money naturally, he is not, most people are not. If he was the one who did any handling of our expenses we would not even make it a month. When compared to many other people who make twice as much as we do, we actually have more or better.

Maybe you can think of creative ways to make a bit of extra money, or could wait til you get some savings built up. Just be realistic and don't get yourself into a hole you cant get out of. Good Luck, being a SAHM is so rewarding but so very hard, especially if you have too many other stressful issues.

PS: I also wanted to add that we have no debt. No credit cards, no car payments, no owing on furniture or electronics ect...

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions