Every day I come home from work and am reminded of how blessed I am to have my wife be a homemaker. We thank God that He has provided for us in a way that makes this possible. We are by no means rich, so please don’t think this is unrealistic for your family if being a stay at home mom or wife is your goal as well. In this article, I plan on highlighting 5 steps to help make this dream a reality.
1. Start Planning Immediately
If you’re at a stage in your marriage or relationship and you don’t have any children yet, now is the time to start planning. Even if you have children and your goal is to stay home, you have to make a realistic plan to make it a reality. Early on in our relationship, we decided that Mrs. Willhoit was going to stay at home once we started having children. This was important, as it motivated us to make the tough decisions and sacrifices necessary to make this a reality.
It is important to note that both husband and wife must be on the same page before making a final decision about being a stay at home wife or mom. Unfortunately, we know many married couples who have failed to communicate before having children. The wife ends up wanting to be a stay at home mom, but the husband doesn’t seem to agree. I know these are general assumptions, but I’ve seen it happen too many times personally to know it is a common problem.
So communicate early and often to come up with a workable plan. It is possible to still be a stay at home mom!
2. Nail Down Your Expenses
Since you will be cutting your income significantly if you decide to stay at home, it is essential to know exactly what you are spending each month. Yes, this means the dreaded act of budgeting. You won’t be able to forecast how much money will be necessary to survive unless you know the exact amount of money it takes to pay the bills each month. After you come up with the number, you can decide if the husband’s income will be enough to make it. If you come up a little short, here are some ways to make up the deficit.
3. Become a One Car Family
You may be saying to yourself, “That is crazy! There is no way we could survive without two cars!” I will be the first to admit that it will be an adjustment in the beginning. But after a few months, you will realize one car is perfectly acceptable if you only have one spouse working outside the home. It will take some planning for days when both spouses may need the car, but it is worth the hassle if your goal is to stay at home.
This decision alone could result in an average monthly savings of around $500 when you assume a car payment around $300, then round in gas, insurance, and maintenance. Another side benefit of having one car is that it reduces the likelihood of entertainment shopping, which, in turn, will help ease the blow of the lost income.
Put the McMansion up for sale and buy a smaller home. Not only will you be saving money each month on the mortgage payment, you will be saving on every other housing expense as well. Smaller dwelling units have lower utility costs, take less time to clean, and cost less to make repairs on.
5. Start a Side Business
“But wait a minute, I want to be a stay at home mom, not work from home!” The reality is it might take a while for the husband to increase his income to a point where he can shoulder all of the financial responsibilities himself. I’m not talking about something extravagant or extremely time consuming. I’m envisioning something small and flexible.
Some options might be:
- Freelance – If you or your husband have in-demand skills, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find some side work for 10-15 hours a week. Make sure you aren’t breaking any non-compete agreements, though.
- In-Home Daycare – With so many dual-income families, the need for daycare has never been greater. Start off with just one child to see if it is going to be a good fit for your family. Never let the client control the relationship. Only offer the service during times you would prefer.
- Clean Houses – Tell all the extremely busy acquaintances you have that you are looking to clean a few houses a week to make up for the lost income. They may be glad to help out a friend and you can usually clean at times when it is convenient for you.
If you decide to start a side business, don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis mode. Decide on something that fits your personality and skills, and keep start up costs to a minimum. You can worry about the details of how to run the operation once you get the ball rolling. Remember, to be in business you have to make a sale!
Commit The Decision To Prayer
It is really easy to get caught up in the emotion of this decision. While making sure you are communicating properly with your spouse, remember that the Lord hears our prayers. As Christians, we should commit all major decisions to prayer and Scripture meditation.
“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” –1 John 5:14
You May Need to Wait A While
Unfortunately, you may not be able to afford to be a stay at home mom or wife right now. That’s OK! You may need to go back to point #1 and make a workable plan that takes a few years to become a reality. Sometimes prior choices in life prohibit us from doing what we want at the moment. But with proper planning and diligence, this dream can become a reality.
I can hear you objecting now: “Oliver, you don’t know how expensive it is to live here!” ”Our monthly bills are too high and there is nowhere left to cut!” The truth is if you want it bad enough and are in agreement as a family, you can make the tough choices to make this happen. Your kids might not wear name brand clothes and you might get tired of leftovers, but keep your eye on the prize!
What ideas do you have to help our readers become a one income family? What other ideas are there to decrease expenses and increase income? Is there a large majority of Christian moms who desire to stay at home but can’t?