Deciding to be a stay at home parent was very nerve-wracking process for my husband I but happy we took steps to understand it. Don’t for a second think that you are alone when trying to figure out if being a single-income family is right for you. There is no definite right or wrong answer but a couple of things you need to consider.
Having a parent stay home full-time with the new little bundle(s) of joy is a lifestyle choice, some parents are quite happy putting their kids in daycare/in the care of family for work hours as soon as their parental leave is expired and that’s fine. Initially when I found out I was pregnant the first idea that we agreed on was that we wanted me to be a stay at home mom until our little guy was old enough to be in school part-time. And after throwing around various numbers, costs and logistics of getting to and from work/daycare, we discovered that financially it would work for us.
Money, money and more money!
Most of us are really not aware of how much money it actually costs to go out and make money. First, let’s think about Commuting. You will be faced with the costs of maintaining a second vehicle (repair/insurance & possibly a monthly car payment). You also need to make sure there is gas in the vehicle(s) to get you from point A to point B….and we all know how cheap gas is today *eye roll*. Maybe you would rely on public transit like myself since we are a 1 vehicle household. In either case both time commuting and costs need to be considered.
My Personal Example: Should I be a Stay at Home Mother?
So lets use my situation to see example numbers : 1 x 1 month transit pass = $160 for me and its free for Peanut since he is under 5 years old.
Getting him to and from daycare would add anywhere from 1-2 hours a day to the already 1-2 hours commuting to and from work. We’ll be optimistic for my situation and say: work + commuting = 11 hours per day.
Obviously if you are going the route of the 2nd vehicle your monthly cost would be higher than that and the time getting to and from work would obviously vary.
Keeper of the Children- Day Care!
Next is daycare, which is not cheap at all unless you have very generous family members. Many daycare centers don’t tend to state their prices online, probably because there are many deciding factors that go into their rates. The standard prices I have come across for my area is around $25 for a half day and $35 for a full day for my toddler.
So cost for a month we are looking at: 20 days x $35 = $700
Mama doesn’t fit in her pre-baby dress pants no mo’-Clothing Costs
When at work do you need a uniform? Or maybe if you are in an office there is some form of dress code to be followed? Maintaining a wardrobe of some variety is not necessarily a monthly cost but it would still be present. Or maybe, if you are like me, after a 10-12 hour day of working and commuting you may not feel like making a home cooked meal so the odd take out lunch/dinner might sneak in.
All these little odds and ends can add up quickly. So again, let’s be optimistic for me and say that I have $100 a month go towards 1x “I’m too tired to cook” takeout meal for the family, a 1x “I really should try to be involved at work” donation to a birthday/retirement/etc or maybe a “oh no I missed the bus,the day care is going to charge me a late fee for not getting there on time” sort of thing.
Now all these numbers were applied to my own net income. In my case, my job was paying me just above minimum wage here in Ontario which meant I brought home about $1400 a month net.
$1400 – $160 in transportation – $700 for daycare – $100 for incidental expenses = $440 free and clear and 220 hours a month spent getting it. Yup, you are reading that right…$2 an hour.
For some people $400 would make or break a living situation so they have no choice but to suck it up and do it. In our household we knew that with my husbands net income and some strategic belt-tightening that I’d be able to stay at home and care for our little guy as we had hoped.
Ways we Cut Expenses so I could be a Stay at Home Mom
- We cut cable tv out of the picture
- I use coupons to stockpile every day items that we use
- Created a budget
- Lived with-in our means
- Planned our meals
- We use fans instead of A/C on the tolerable-ish days.
- I can count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve run the dryer in this house since we moved here in February to help keep bills down.
Also with my time spent at home I’ve started getting into the DIY/Frugal state of mind. I’ve learned to make my own household cleaners & laundry soap. I’ve also learned how to make fresh homemade bread. Our little guy gets many of his clothes at Value Village and garage sales since he will grow out of them in 2 months anyway.
All these things can add up into savings, even the small stuff. Lastly, budget, *do not* start free-styling with your monthly expenses because you can so easily have money disappear on things you can’t even recall buying.
So before you run into work waving a resignation letter, or before you sign away 8-10 hours a day of child raising to a daycare think about the outcome. Sit, write-down all the pros and cons to being a stay at home or a return to work parent before making any final decisions. Take the time to discuss what you are willing to do budget wise to make either happen.
Guest Post By: I’m Melissa a stay at home mom who runs the blog A Rambling Stay at Home Mom. I have an 8 year old step-son, a 17 month old son and a loving husband. I spend my free time finding and writing articles to share with my fans. I also enjoy finding ways to make our own money go a little further be it by budgeting, couponing or maybe good-ole household DIY projects.
Photo Credits: ALL Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>
- Today’s modern parent: Daycare poor, with little to save (theglobeandmail.com)
- The Frugal Basics-Convenience Costs! (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Book Review-Money Smart Mom-Financially Fit Parenting (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Maternity and Parental Leave Part 1 – The Basics (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Maternity and Parental Leave Part 2: Budgeting (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- How Much Should My Grocery Budget Be? (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Are Frugal Men Sexy And How To Potentially Spot One? (canadianbudgetbinder.com)