Many parents dream about being able to stay with their kids as they’re growing up and not miss their first steps, football games, and other important milestones.
However, this luxury comes with a price – your financial security is at stake here, which means that you need to weigh your options and decide whether you’re ready to become a stay-at-home parent and leave your spouse to become a sole breadwinner.
Besides purely emotional reasons, some people decide to take this step and put their career on hold due to soaring childcare costs.
Once you’re sure that staying at home and bringing up your kids is what’s best for you and your family, it’s crucial to plan this entire process in order to make sure that your financial future is as stressfree as possible.
Negotiate Your Salary
This is a big change that will affect your family’s budget, which means that you’ll need to sit down with your spouse and talk about how to make it work.
First of all, there’s no need to feel guilty about not contributing financially to your family, because, caring for the kids and home is a full-time job. It’s not like you’ll be lounging in front of the TV or reading magazines all day.
According to some estimates, services of the average stay-at-home parent should be over $160,000 a year, as they include cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, driving kids to school or kindergarten, and household management.
And this has to be discussed in order to avoid potential squabbles regarding who works harder and who spends more.
Another thing that you need to agree on is how you’ll split chores. It’s only logical that this department will be your responsibility to a greater extent, as it would be unreasonable to expect your spouse to come home after 10 hours of work and commuting and jump in with the dishwashing. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that they will be spared from the housework and looking after the kids entirely.
Mine, Yours, Ours
Just like you need to talk about your responsibilities, tasks, and chores, you also have to talk about financial affairs.
People deal with this in different manners, meaning that in some cases the stay-at-home parent gets a monthly allowance. Even if you’re OK with this kind of scenario, it’s important for you to have your say in big financial decisions, including making investments, property ownership, as well as retirement funds. It’s utterly unfair for a working partner to be handling all the crucial matters.
So, make sure that your name is on the deed to the house, cars, and mutual bank accounts too. This kind of shared ownership will protect you in case of a divorce as it will grant you a legal right to the half of everything.
Don’t let the fact that you’re not coming home with a paycheck put you in an awkward position in which you’ll be deprived of your rights.
Another good idea is to plan for your retirement. No matter how much you trust your spouse and count on the money from their retirement funds, things do sometimes take a turn for the worse. Instead of that, you can open a spousal Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and build your nest egg with which you’ll feel much safer and independent even though you’re not currently working.
Finally, although the “mine, yours” attitude should transform into “ours” meaning that you and your spouse should work as a team and have a single household budget, it’s still reasonable to use accounting software in order to keep tabs on your spending habits. This will allow you to make cuts when it’s necessary and see where your money is going.
Work From Home
There’s another way to make your financial future brighter and carefree – working from home.
Even if the company you work doesn’t offer this perk, you can still freelance and make some money.
This will give you a sense of financial independence, and it will be a win-win situation – you’ll both have an opportunity to stay at home and raise your kids and contribute to your family budget.
According to the latest research, approximately 18% of U.S. parents work from home, and although we’ve already said that being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job, you can still carve out a couple of hours a week to try and make some money on the side.
Not only will this help your family make ends meet, and offer you a certain degree of financial stability, but you’ll also be able to keep up with the latest trends of your profession and stay marketable.
As freelancers enjoy pretty flexible schedules, you can work in the morning while you’re kids are at school or in the afternoon when they’re taking a nap.
You can even start your own small business on the internet and transform your hobby into a source of income. Blogging, making and selling different items on Etsy, or even becoming a virtual assistant are all options that aren’t hard to fit into a busy parent’s routine.
Make a Meal Plan
When you’re living on one income, you need to save every dime and have a plan for any big purchase.
Food can be a major money pit, which means that you can easily reduce your expenses by planning your meals.
It’s usually very tempting to take your kids to a fast-food restaurant or order some food online, but this is an expensive and not particularly healthy option.
Here’s how you can avoid all these traps of acting on impulse and save a lot of money.
Create a meal plan and purchase all the ingredients in advance as this will discourage you from eating out.
Another good idea is to start using coupons, discounts and loyalty cards as well as think about buying in bulk.
This way you’ll save a lot of money and develop healthy eating habits in your kids.
You’re most probably aware that being a single-income household means that you’ll have to be very careful with your money, and that’s absolutely feasible with some planning. However, you should never put your financial future in somebody else’s hands even if that person is your significant other, so expect the best but prepare for the worst-case scenario, especially when it comes to money.