How to Be a Stay At Home Mom- 9 Personal Finance Bloggers Dish on What it Takes
Have you ever thought of staying home with your little ones only to be discouraged by the financial aspect of giving up your paycheck? Believe it or not, it’s easier than ever to be a stay at home mom! I profiled 8 AWESOME mama blogger/entrepreneurs who made the switch from full-time working mom to stay at home mom (many of them are actually entrepreneurial WAHMs making great money from their blogging and other business efforts!) In this post, they’ll dish on what it takes to prepare for stay-at-home-momdom…
Before we get started…I must throw in my two cents about my journey to being a stay at home. Like many of the ladies who we’ll hear from below, I knew even before I had kids that I wanted a flexible working arrangement. Having kids just heightened that need and desire. I incorporated my business the same year I was on welfare and had tons of terrible ideas along with some that worked a little and paid the bills a little more. More than a few ideas later, I found a rhythm (plus some profitability) and have been home with my kids for most of their lives. I enjoy being able to homeschool them and travel with my family. If you get anything from this article, I want you to know that staying at home does not have to be impossible or scary. Just like any financial goal, it will take some planning and forethought. If we can do it, so can you! The best part is we will tell you what we did to make it work. Just keep reading….
Kim Anderson the author of Becoming a House Spouse and the main contributor at ThriftyLittleMom.com points out a number of considerations when a spouse is thinking of coming home from full-time work. The process should start with some introspection and answering some honest questions about your career, time spent away from home and what feelings arise when you think about coming home. This will be important in making the decision to come home. In her book, she poses the following questions:
- When you imagine staying at home, does it fill you with a sense of peace or anxiety?
- Do you believe it will bring you more joy or more stress?
- If money didn’t matter, would you be happy at home?
Other suggestions Kim has to make the transition include:
- Making a plan for a transition date
- Creating a budget that takes into account your new arrangement
- If possible, get out of debt and cut frivolous or unnecessary expenses
- Discussing expectations of your stay-at-home role with your spouse
- Remember the bright side of being able to stay home: more time for fun, children, healthy activities and pursing interests like art, entrepreneurship or additional education.
Let’s mosey over to the East Coast with Rosemarie Groner, of the www.BusyBudgeter.com. She had some stringent requirements to make her say-at-home dreams come true. She kicked off her plan by investing in a top-notch blogging class along with a commitment to blog for one year. She would have only one year to prove to herself and her husband that she could make enough money from blogging so that she could stay at home for good. In one year Rosemarie SMASHED her goal and as of this writing logged over $7,000 of income on the books from her blogging income for the month of January. (I actually interviewed her on my podcast. Check it out here.) The key takeaways from Rosemarie’s experience are:
- Have a plan that not only includes decreasing expenses but increasing income in a way that won’t disrupt family duties (blogging or freelancing is perfect for that!)
- Your plan should be comfortable enough to withstand the “reinvestment period.” Rosemarie wasn’t pocketing money from her blog right away, as she had committed to invest all her earnings back into her blog consistently until she broke the $1,000/month mark.
- Giving back and helping others is essential. Rosemarie has been so successful in monetizing her blog, that she’s lead a ton of others to the same success through the same growth strategy with resources like The Quick Growth Blogger Resource Guide.
Next up is one half of the HisandHerMoney.com team, Tai. The media mogul power couple, Tai and Talaat McNeely run a successful blog, YouTube Channel and podcast! Tai talks about how they planned, as a couple, for her to come home, somewhat inadvertently early on in the relationship, “My husband and I lived off of one income prior to having children. So therefore, it was not a huge adjustment for us because we were use to living that way for a long time.”
Other knowledge nuggets from Tai:
- The couple was very deliberate in finding the best insurance coverage. At one point they took advantage of Tai’s access to COBRA (because Talaat was still in school) to cover Tai’s pregnancy at the time. To save money after the delivery, they did more research and were able to get lower-cost coverage that would hold them over until Talaat finished school and got a full-time job.
- Because they were such GREAT savers, they could get a plan with a $10,000 deductible to get the lowest premiums possible.
- What’s the best part about being a Stay at Home Mom? Tai couldn’t be more fulfilled, ” There is nothing that gives me more fulfillment or purpose other than raising my kids full-time. I take on the role of being a SAHM very serious. It is a joy and honor to be able to be home with my children.”
- Tai also keeps it real in this video on what the first year was like as a stay at home mom. Both her and Talaat talk about the good, the bad and ugly of the Stay at Home Mom life. I love the transparency and the permission she gives us SAHMs to be real about the challenges of being home. If you are considering this move, this video is a MUST WATCH!
- If you need help communicating with your spouse around this arrangement, check out their new book, Money Talks: The Ultimate Couple’s Guide to Communicating about Money.
Next, we’ll catch up with Jessi Fearon of the The Budget Mama and co-author of 21 Days to a Better Budget. Jessi’s sentiments on being a stay-at-home mom are right in line with Kim’s. Jessi’s suggestions include:
- Figuring out how badly you want to stay at home. What are you willing to sacrifice and what will you go through to make the situation work? If this is not determined early on, you might find that it’s difficult to stick with a strategy that will allow you to stay home.
- Start living on one paycheck right away- This will help you better gage if your family is really ready to live on one income
- Beef up your emergency fund to make sure you are not using credit cards. $1,000 is a good start for an emergency , but padding your savings with more is never a bad idea!
- Jessi’s popular article on this topic can be found here.
Elle Martinez of the Couple Money podcast and blog is working out the SAHM (well really WAHM) situation quite nicely. Elle, a prolific personal finance writer, explains in her own words the pull to be home as a mom,”Once we found out I was pregnant it became important for us to make arrangements so I could be home with the kids. We both had our grandparents be our caregivers growing up. We felt like the first few years are a special time to be with our child.”
- Financial preparations included taking on extra freelance work and getting ahead on client assignments.
- To be cautious the Martinez cut expenses until Elle could get back to her previous workload.
- The win? Elle’s flexible, freelance jobs allowed her take on work that would fit her SAHM schedule and needs
- Is it all worth it? Elle says, “Even on the crazy, hectic days (there are plenty of those!), I love being able to hang with my girls. Teaching and playing with them makes life so much richer. It’s incredible to see them develop and grow.”
Toni at DebtFreeDivas.org gives us a great story about her journey to stay-at-home momdom…
I never set out specifically to be a work at home mother. My children came along after I’d already made a decision to pursue entrepreneurial interests. So it has been both a blessing and a challenge to be able to pursue my desire to build a business while being home with small children.
We began transitioning to living on one income by taking a detailed look at our expenses and spending habits. By making the decision to become a one car family we save several hundred on parking (I lived downtown) and a potential extra car note. This was easier for us as public transportation was convenient and reliable. Our living expenses were minimized by living in a smaller space. We lived downtown in a highly desirable area, but we purchased a 700 sq ft condo with smaller assessments and minimal utilities. We also limited our grocery bill by cooking meals at home and switching to less costly grocery stores. We also took advantage of free and low cost entertainment options to reduce expenses for fun outings.
In addition to cost savings, I took on work from home jobs like adjunct professor positions to help generate extra income to pay off debt faster.
I did go back to work for 2 years while still running our business. The business wasn’t thriving as we’d hoped and I wanted to make more progress on our debt. During those two years, I applied 95% of what I earned to debt repayment. I actually got pregnant with my first child while working this job. While we weren’t completely finished repaying our debt at the time, I never considered going back to work. The decision was a natural fit because we’d adjusted our lifestyle to fit one income.
I appreciate the opportunity to work from home with my children because:
- I don’t have to spend money on day care services which can be extremely pricey. We don’t have family in town that I can leave my children with and day care would be our only option.
- I’m able to provide the environment that I’m comfortable with for my children. I know what they eat everyday. I know what type of media they consume or are exposed to. I’m deeply involved in what they are learning. While my son goes to a half day preschool program now that is very economical, I’ve been able to be very involved with the staff and become closely engaged with the adults he’s exposed to everyday.
- We can take day trips or vacations at our leisure. My family loves to travel and coordinating vacation and travel around one employment schedule is much simpler.
- We have more energy to be engaged with my children. Working 8-10 hour days leaves precious little time and energy to cultivate the type of relationship and experiences that I’m able to do with a more flexible schedule.
Kristia from Familybalancesheet.com chimes in on how living on one income, plus a family business helped make her goal of staying at home a possibility:
Personally, I left the corporate world to join my husband in self-employment two years before we had children and believe it or not, that set us up well for me staying at home with our kids. Before I left my job, we lived off my income and invested my husband’s business income back into his business, which was fairly new at the time. So, we became used to one income. We also paid off a car note and cut back on non-necessities. At the time, our goal was for me to join him at his business. With this mindset, we planned on going to one income about a year before it happened. Our goal was always for me to stay home with the kids, but also continue to work at the office from home or go in one day a week. Both my kids are in school full-time now and I am back at work on a regular basis. I really enjoyed my time at home. I miss rocking my babies and now our life is go-go-go with the kids’ school and activities. At times, I feel like I’m never home! So, I really miss those days. I would encourage any parent who wants to stay at home with their children to make it happen!
Let’s wrap this piece up with Michelle Jackson of ShopMyClosetProject.com who doesn’t have children yet but is busy planning to stay at home with them anyway. Talk about a good mommy-to-be!
In recent years I decided that I would like to work from home when I had a family. The funny thing is that I don’t have a family yet! So, I decided to start a work-at-home business. I decided on this before my family arrived because it takes a lot of time to grow a business and make it successful. Here are a few of the things that I’ve done to make this happen:
- Have a vision-Have a clear idea about what you would like for your personal and business life.
- Create a plan-I have a 2 year plan in place regarding earnings and hope to meet that goal.
- Find a community-You need a community of people to bounce ideas off of and to lend support to your vision.
- Believe-Believe that you can do it!
It’s my hope that my business will be healthy and strong by the time my family does arrive.