As you read these articles about being (or supporting) a SAHM, I want to encourage those of you that are saying “I can’t afford this!” The fact is that you might not be able to afford NOT to. Having a stay-at-home-mom in the family isn’t soley a financial decision, but it certainly has financial considerations, doesn’t it?
But there are (at least) 2 things that should be financially considered when talking about a SAHM.
1) The income she brings in.
Children cost money. They just do. You can get all kinds of hand-me-downs from clothing to cribs to diapers (cloth!) to bottles to toys to carseats, but there are still costs. Labor & delivery. Doctor’s appointments. Maybe moving from a one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom. Children don’t have to cost the thousands of dollars that people tell you they cost, but as another person in your family, there are financial costs.
So…think about what would happen if you did have children. Maybe automatically you think of daycare instead of staying at home. After all, you make pretty good money, right? Just do the math. Try this:
-Figure out her income.
-Figure out what the cost of her working is (for your situation).
Figuring out her income
That’s the easy part. Look at her paycheck before taxes, then subtract taxes. That’s what she’s earning. You don’t want to subtract out the other stuff that come out of paychecks like 401(k)s investments, insurance, etc. You might be making $2000, but only bring home $1250. It doesn’t mean that $750 was taxes. That $750that was taken out was taxes, insurance, investments, etc.
Figure out the cost of working
Make a quick call to a daycare center near you. Find out the cost of daycare for a newborn for your area. If you’d only need part-time, ask what that rate is. Just get a ballpark.
Determine the financial cost involved in your job. Do you have to pay for work clothes? Wear and tear on a car? Do you buy things for work? (I know a lot of teachers who buy alot of materials for their classrooms).
- You earn $2000/month (after taxes) AND
- You tithe $250 of that AND
- Full-time day care costs you $800/month AND
- You spend $200/month on lunches out, clothes and things for work THEN
- You’d be working for $750/month.
That’s if you’re making about $30,000/year before taxes. Your $30,000 just really netted you $9,000/year. And that’s just with one child. Have another or make less than that? Your numbers go down even more. In fact, with just one more child, you’re paying $50 more than you bring in.
2) The costs she can cut as a SAHM
If you had more time at home, could you figure out ways to save money? Some families actually save money when someone stays home full time. Why? Because they start cooking from scratch, doing their own yard work, figuring out ways to save money. Because they have the time to dedicate to such things. Saving a dollar makes more of an impact on your budget than earning a dollar!
You can either:
- Work an extra hour to earn $10, have taxes taken out of that and end up with $8. OR
- You can work an extra hour on your budget to save $10 and get all $10.
A blog I read (Amy’s Finer Things) has a great series of how many different women financially accomplished this – staying at home. She has great ideas and stories of how they did it. Things to think about. I posted a series on my personal blog – One in Income. Depending on choices you made in the past, it’s not always possible, but it’s often possible. Families can live on one income – just not the same way that families live on two.
What if no kids?
As I said before: no one is guaranteed a husband. No one is guaranteed children. You might get married. You might not. You might have children. You might not. But I can’t imagine you’ll ever regret living financially as if you might.
Maybe you’ll get married and you will work, but you’ll give away all your other income to support ministries. Maybe you don’t work for money, but are intentional at volunteering in really impactful ways for ministries or the church.
I love the idea of people doing the ministry of the church – helping families in times of need like funerals, births, weddings, job loss, whatever instead of working. If you are able to live on one income when you get married, you free at least one person up for a lot of ministry – whether that’s to children or someone else!
Being a stay-at-home mom/wife is something that needs consideration. You may not want that today, but give yourself some room to change your mind someday. It just might happen!