When you’re considering becoming a stay at home mom or dad, a lot goes through your mind. Giving up the income from your job is usually a difficult thought. Giving up time with other adults is difficult. Gaining more time with your kids… major bonus except those days where they’re really running you ragged.
The only one you can directly calculate is the impact it’s going to have on your finances. Sometimes it’s not as bad as you might think. That’s good to know if you’re going to have to do some sort of work at home job or start a home business to make ends meet.
Things That May Cost Less
Taxes – If your income as a family goes down, you’ll be paying less in taxes. How much less depends on your family’s situation.
Eating Out – Stay at home parents usually eat out less. There’s the occasional meal out with the kids, but especially if you’re on a tight budget, the ability to eat at home more should be a nice savings. Some people do eat out a fair bit even when staying home with their kids, however.
Driving – This one depends on how many activities you’re running the kids around to as well as how far you had to drive to work. Still, for many families it’s a nice savings.
Daycare – Usually, when you stay at home you take care of your own kids. There goes the money you had to pay for daycare!
Entertainment – While you may be a major source of entertainment for the kids, you won’t have the occasional entertainment and social expenses that come from working. You won’t be asked to contribute to birthday presents, for example.
Clothes – Depends a bit on your habits and what you had to wear to work. But if you had to have a professional wardrobe, you’re likely to save a nice bit, especially if you had a lot of clothes to take to the dry cleaners.
Costs That May Increase
Not every cost goes down when you start staying at home. Fortunately, the increases should be significantly smaller than the decreases.
Power/Gas for Your Home – You’re home more. That means you’ll be using more electricity during the day and heating or cooling the house more.
Groceries – Especially if staying at home makes money tight, you’ll probably be eating at home more. Fortunately, it also means you have more time to make home cooked meals if so inclined.
Activities with the Kids – Having more time with the kids may mean that you spend more on activities with them or for them, as you’ll have more time to take them to extracurricular classes or have fun as a family. Just try to remember there are free fun things to do too.
How exactly your finances are effected overall depends on your own situation, but knowing some of the things that will change can help. Try some basic calculations based on how you think things will change and you might be surprised at how little your available income may change by staying at home.