When my second daughter was born, my husband and I had to make a decision. Should I go back to work or should I stay home with the kids? I knew that I would prefer to stay at home, but how would that affect our financial situation?
The Cost of Day Care
We researched our options. Private in-home day cares were expensive and would essentially require my entire monthly pay. Larger day care facilities were less expensive, but we weren’t sure that it was worth it for me to work 40 hours a week just to pay day care and the gas to get to and from? Not to mention that my hours in the service industry did not always coincide with the hours of day care facilities. Could we cut a few corners in our budget and live on a single income?
After calming down from the sticker shock of day care prices, we realized that we needed to look at our budget. It turned out that a lot of our spending was on things that we could live without. We could eat at home rather than from a drive-thru window more often and that we didn’t need to pay an arm and a leg for cable that we rarely watched. It took us some time and frustration, but after crunching numbers and promising to make adjustments in our budget, we decided to give staying at home a try.
As a part of our new budget, we decided that instead of the expensive, commercial brand of organic cleaners and soaps, I would make my own. We also used cloth diapers (most of which I made), and ate less pre-packaged food, which saved us a large chunk of money. We also were saving money on gasoline, as I no longer had a daily commute. We monitored our thermostat and watched our energy usage, which was difficult at first, but soon became a part of daily life.
Working From Home
During my first few weeks as a stay-at-home mom, I was lucky enough to find many online opportunities that would help supplement our income and fill in a few gaps. I began writing articles online, advertising on my blog, and selling my digital pictures online. I also found a few commission jobs as a seamstress. It started out small, but in less than a year, I was able to help with some bills and save enough money to give my family a wonderful Christmas.
Staying home with my children was one of the best decisions I ever made. I flourished as a stay-at-home mom and enjoyed it. I wasn’t always able to go shopping with the girls or stop at a Starbucks in the morning, but those small sacrifices don’t even matter to me now. It was the best choice for my family and I am glad that we were able to make it work.