Can you afford to be a Stay at Home Mom?
Most couples in the U.S. require dual incomes to maintain a quality lifestyle and even with two sources of revenue, it is not at all uncommon for budgets to become strained, especially when children come along. Many women leaving the work force would like to become stay at home moms, even if it is only for a few years. The real question is if it is fiscally possible for a woman to stay at home with her children, without her family going into debt.
The answer to this question is what type of lifestyle the couple would like to maintain. If the decision is made to keep all of the current expenses, then it really becomes impossible for the woman to leave the work world. However, if the couple decides that they are willing to make some alterations to their lifestyle it can be done
One positive is that there are no work related expenses for a stay at home mom. These include expenses such as gas, lunches, work related clothing, dry cleaning, coffee, child care, etc., so the requirements for income are lower. In addition, the couple will have al lower tax bill.
The key is to focus on necessities, such as food and clothing, and hold off on luxuries such as eating out or buying an expensive car. You need transportation, but a BMW is a luxury. Figure out how much money you will have each month to live on and then begin to cut out these luxuries. Continuing to spend as if you have two incomes is the fastest way to go into debt.
Consider downsizing if you want to keep some of those luxuries. To balance the budget, you may want to consider moving to more affordable housing. This is generally the largest expense within a budget and by moving to a smaller location or to a different geographic area you can generally save a good amount of money. Couples can make the transition to a single income if they feel it is worth the sacrifices. However, if circumstances simply prevent this from being a feasible, continuing to work will be a necessitY.