Deciding whether or not you can stay at home after you have a baby can be a big decision. Emotions play a big factor, especially after holding your precious newborn for the first time. It's hard to imagine leaving this tiny little thing with a stranger. On the other hand, you can gain a tremendous sense of accomplishment from your job that you couldn't feel after a day of changing diapers and wiping up spit up. No matter how you face it emotionally, if you are considering becoming a stay at home mom at all, you first need to figure out if you can financially afford to do it.
Make a Budget The first step you should take is to record your expenses. For at least one month, better yet three, record everything you spend from latte’s to toilet paper to dinners out. Everything needs to be accounted for. There is no need to go on a budget diet yet, the goal is to find out how much you currently spend and on what items, so that if you find you do need to scale back, you can recognize where to do so. There are a couple of ways you can go about recording all of your purchases. One is you can carry around a little notebook and make a note every time you buy something. The other way is to charge everything you purchase with your debit or credit card and use your as your notebook of purchases. However, if you choose to charge everything to your credit card, you must promise yourself to pay off the full amount when your statement comes. Going into credit card debt is not going to help you achieve your goal of becoming a stay at home mom. Once you have every cup of coffee, every grocery trip and every pair of new shoes accounted for, it's time to write it into a budget worksheet. Use a spreadsheet that contains all the expense categories most households face and will automatically add all of your expenses together and subtract them from your income. When you have the form filled out, look at your bottom number. Hopefully this will be positive. Now go up and delete your income at the top. Don't forget to delete any expenses that occur from you working (dry cleaning bill, gas costs, lunches out, etc.). Remember also that your taxes will change once you drop down to one income and you may be able to change your withholding to bring more in. Go to the IRS website and use their tax withholding calculator with only your husbands paycheck information to see how much you can change your withholdings. If your bottom number is still positive, then you are fortunate enough to be able to be a stay at home mom without much fiscal sacrifice. However if it's now dipped to a negative number, do not despair, it's time to look over your expenses and find ways to minimize them
Saving on Your Expenses Saving money doesn’t always have to be painful. Many women say that one of their biggest jobs as stay at home moms is to seek out bargains and make sure the family sticks to a budget. Consider this a lesson in what could be part of your new job description. Below are four big-ticket expenses that most households face. Let’s take a look at these and see if we can't save a couple hundred dollars right off the bat.
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