The Life Not My Own

Friday, May 18, 2012

Stay-At-Home-Mom: Finances, Pt. 2

Last week I shared with you some ways that couples who don’t have children yet could prepare financially for the wife to be a stay-at-home mom someday.  Click here to read it.

Now we come to the hard part: making staying-at-home work when it just hasn’t seemed feasible before.  Honestly, I believe that living on one income is always possible, no matter how low that income might be.  There’s always something you could cut out or a second job to be had.  Are these solutions always the best for every family?  Probably not.  I believe that every family has to find the best solution for their family.  That said, I believe that God’s “best” solution is often very different from our own “best” solution.  So, here goes:

Transitioning into SAHM-dom

-Develop a Plan.  Going from two-incomes to one doesn’t happen over night.  It takes time, patience, and a lot of sacrifice.  Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t just quit your job tomorrow!  It simply may take awhile.  So, take a hard look at your finances and start developing a game plan.

-Downsizing.  Undoubtedly, cutting the income drastically is going to take some major downsizing.  I can guarantee you, there are all things we could lower or do without.  For you, this may mean not eating out as much, spending as much on clothes, or going on as many vacations.  It could be as simple as selling your car and buying a cheaper one (or doing without!).  Or, it could take a lot of sacrifice, like selling your home to buy or rent a smaller one. 

In today’s materialistic society, this can be really difficult.  Nobody wants to appear poor or hurting for money, nor do they want to be uncomfortable inviting people over to their house (because their houses are so much bigger, nicer, etc.).  Downsizing doesn’t mean that you have to live in a shambles, however.  Even the smallest spaces can be nicely decorated, clean, and inviting.  Why be embarrassed to have your friends over when your house looks like that?  When they see how happy you are (despite what you’re doing without), they might just start rethinking their own spending habits.

Let me tell you, cutting out things is by no means easy.  Your kids may hate you for it at first (hey, you may even hate yourself).  In the end, though, it’s so worth it.  Would you rather be the working mommy struggling to juggle work and your kids (plus all the stuff that comes with it), or would you rather be living a simpler life with much less stress?  You take your pick.

-Knowing how much you actually “need”.  Really and truly, I don’t know very many people in America that are actually genuinely poor.  I mean, how many families do you know that live in cardboard boxes and walk miles and miles every day just to haul water (which is dirty, btw)?  The truth is, we as Americans need a reality check about “wants” vs. “needs”.     

I was with a group of friends lately who were discussing the different hairdressers in town.  Most of them were complaining about how expensive the different salons were.  What I realized very quickly, however, was that they weren’t just talking about cutting and styling…they were talking about cutting, styling, highlights, and lowlights.  No wonder the prices were so “high”! 

Ladies, we don’t “need” expensive hair treatments, manicured nails, or frequent visits to the tanning salon.  We don’t “need” to keep up with the latest fashions, or buy new clothes every month.  Think about all the things we spend money on: satellite t.v., high speed internet, nice cars, vacations to the beach, movies every weekend, video games…do we actually need any of them? The answer is a resounding “no”. 


The world makes it seem impossible to live on one-income.  In reality, it’s not our incomes that we need to adjust but our expectations.  

-Learning thriftiness.  Beyond downsizing and doing without, to become a stay-at-home mom, you’re probably going to have to learn some additional thriftiness.  Learn to make things from scratch or start couponing.  Even if it seems like something little, keep at it.  Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned.

-Doing your best.  What if, no matter what, you can’t seem to live on one-income reasonably?  All you can do is your best.  Consider cutting down on hours at work, or even outside activities that also steal your time away from home (ie, Bible studies, book groups, etc.).  Maybe look for part-time work instead of full-time.  Try searching for a job where you can work from home.  Just do the best you can for your family!  

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2 Comments:

  • At May 22, 2012 at 1:42 PM , OpenID joannalynnhobble said...

    Wow. I just found your site recently, and enjoy your writing, but this article is so, so exactly what I think and feel it's amazing! Esp. in the way of typical American expectations! I know several people who claim they "could not afford to live on one income". Well, neither could I - or anyone else for that matter! - if I bought a 28" flat-screen TV, complete with cable, a new car every two years, eat-out meals three or four times a week, and fifteen Vera Bradley totes! Not that there is anything wrong with those things; it's more a matter of what's most important to you - time with your family, and the freedom to live simply, or a really cool car and television? To gain freedom of time, and a lower level of stress, you have to sacrifice SOMETHING. It doesn't just happen magically! And it IS possible, although, as you said, not always the best for every family.

    Thanks for sharing!

     
  • At May 24, 2012 at 1:11 PM , Blogger Caitlin said...

    Thanks for stopping by! You're definitely right: to be a stay-at-home mom takes a lot of sacrifice. Worthwhile sacrifice, albeit, but a lot of sacrifice. This is something I'm definitely learning as we prepare for our baby to arrive and I make the transition into being a stay-at-home mom!

     

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