Any "non-wealthy" SAHMs?

posted 2 years ago in Parenting
Post # 2
8388 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013  I’m going to be a SAHM (currently a very pregnant SAHW) and my husband doesn’t take home a huge income.  I think the key is that we don’t have a lot of debt (i.e. no studen loans, car loans, etc) and we live in a modest house (1900 sq ft 3 bd/2.5ba).  Living on one income to us means spending wisely and not over extending ourselves.

Post # 3
6667 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

I think I am a middle class SAHM.  We live in a townhouse and I drive a 2008 Nissan that is paid off.  We live nicely but not extravagantly.  I do have a good cell phone- but certainly no boat!

Post # 4
1437 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

It’s hard to answer your question because I don’t really know what you mean by “not a lot of money.” To some people that’s $70,000 and to others it’s $30,000.

This is also dependent on a lot of other factors. Do you and your husband own a home? Do you have lots of debt? Do you live in an area where living costs (food, gas, clothing, rent/mortgage) is more or less expensive than the national average? Do you plan to save for your kids’ college education?

The only one who can decide whether or not this can work is you and your husband. Sit down and map out a reasonable budget…including things that are hard to imagine right now but will inevitably be needed (toys/shoes/clothes for children, extra-curricular fees, school fees, etc.) and see if you can make it work within your husband’s salary while still saving toward retirement, emergency savings, and your child’s education.

Post # 5
894 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I know a lot of not wealthy SAHMs. They are all amazing at keeping a budget, determining the difference between “needs” and “wants” and dedicated to being there for the kids and making the sacrifices required (no cable/smartphone/second car, etc). Some of them have work from home jobs, etsy stores, or that sort of thing but most of my close SAHM friends don’t. 

It can work; it’s just a challenge. If you want it badly enough most times you can make it work. 

Post # 6
7664 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

Pretty much everyone I know who has kids was a SAHM for the first few years, or else they worked part time. The reason for this is simple:

1. Childcare is highly regulated here, and therefore expensive. It is illegal for a child to be cared for by someone who is not related to them, unless they have a childcare license. Therefore, friends cannot help you with care. As a result, care is expensive. Full time care near me costs around £17,000 a year, per child.

2. Most of the people I know have two or more children. That’s £34,000 a year.

3. The average local salary is £26,000 a year, before tax.

4. Therefore, the average family with two children under the age of five will be over £12,000 a year POORER if both parents work.

Therefore, most families try to make do however they can. Because we live near London, they either don’t drive, or else share a single vehicle. Prices are high, so they usually live in modest houses… most people I know locally have a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house, with the aim of upgrading once both parents can afford to return to work, giving the children a bedroom each. Food comes from the market, they use freecycle to get things for the kids, and they don’t buy new stuff.

housebee:  “we live in a modest house 1900 sq ft 3 bd/2.5ba”

Every time I read about houses in the US, I have to laugh… the average UK home is around 900 sq ft and has 2.5 bedrooms and one bathroom! You have palaces!

Post # 7
3360 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I will be a SAHM at least for a few years, and we are not wealthy.  We’re already setting up our budget on DH’s income alone, and luckily he just started a new job with some very nice guaranteed raises over the next few years (so he’ll be making more as our family expenses start to increase), but we will still be living very frugally.  I think strict budgeting is key – assign a job to every dollar that comes into your household, track all your spending, and cut back in areas you can.  Also, as you’re still just planning, lay out your budget for both scenarios (SAHM and continuing to work) – childcare is stupid-expensive, so the money coming into your household in each scenario might be closer than you think.

Post # 8
7915 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015  could you start saving now? Also- your hubs could go into construction management I know they can make great money and it never hurts to know the job you’re managing- his experience wouldn’t be lost there. 

Post # 9
427 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 1984

I was a SAHM until the kids started full-time school and then I went back to work part-time and then eventually full-time when they were in middle school. My husband and I decided that it was important for one of us to be there for the kids and made it work any way we could. I was the higher income worker but his job had greater income potential over time so we decided that I should stay home.

We downsized our house and had only one car for the first couple of years until his income picked up. We had a budget and stuck to it religiously! Our mortgage and other basic expenses were taken care of, but there was not much left over for entertainment. We had to prioritize – go out to dinner or sign the kids up for swimming lessons? We rented videos (this was before Netflix LOL) instead of going to theatres. You get the picture. We were certainly not wealthy but we had what we needed.

Previous posters have given you good advice but it really comes down to trade offs and your willingness to make them and be OK making them.

Post # 10
12875 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

It’s definitly possible, it just depends on your priorities.  I don’t know anyone super wealthy, just normal middle class families.  Some have a SAHM, and they just have to budget a bit more, but it’s worth it to stay at home with the kids.  Some of the women’s salary would barely cover the 1500-2k/month child care here so it wasnt worth going back to work.  I could technically afford to stay at home and live off DHs salary (we make the same, so it’d be cutting our income in half), we’d jsut have to start budgeting, decrease the retirement savings a little and cut out international travel.  Many of our coworkers have wives that stay at home with their kids.  But for me, the sacarfice is not worth being a SAHM.  Maybe this will change when I have a kid, but for now, the lack of fianncial worries, and the ability to save for my kids college fund and whatever outweight staying at home to me.  I am definitely considering trying to cut down my hours though for a few years.

Post # 11
1878 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013 - Valparaiso, IN

When we first start trying I will be quitting my job and we will be living off of DH’s income from his business. He’ll be making enough money for me to be able to quit, but it makes me nervous to know that it will just be his income. It will be more than “just enough”, but I know it will feel like we’re barely making ends meet sometimes.

Post # 12
2501 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014  Couple things to consider ( I used to want to be a SAHM but my mindset has changed as I have gotten older)

1. How comfortable are you not making any money and taking yourself out of the workforce for a few years ( or permanetly?) Life is unpredictable- you hubby might get injured and be unable to work – will his new career path offer him short term/ benefits?  How is your support system outside of your hubby and his family if something was to happen ( break up, divorce,  injury ect)

If you stop working completely you might have a hard time getting decent employment (a f/t job with benefits ect) in the event you need or want to go back to work when kiddos are older.

2- How does your hubby feel about being solely responsible for your household income? That is VERY stressful on peopler- men or women- especially if they aren’t making $1 mil a year. 

3- You really might not like staying at home. I used to think I would love love love to SAHM but as I have gotten older I don’t know if it would truly be for me. I  took a week off work this winter (using up vaca time over holidays) which basically solidified that I would need to work or volunteer in some capacity. I was totally stir crazy by the end of it and was happy to go back to work. Also many SAHMs say that they miss the lack of interaction from adults

4- It doesnt have to be all or nothing- you can work part time or from home. I read a study that said the happiest moms are the ones who can work part time- seems to be the best of both worlds

5- Sacrificing your income to live off one middle class income means less money for your kids during their lives. My mom and dad both worked and we did all sorts of sports activities, camps, we also went on fun vacations. I had an amazing childhood and some of that is attributed to the fact that my parents could afford for all 4 of us to try any sport/ art class/ activity we wanted. 

OK-enough with my novel! Its a huge decision and you are wise to think about it now before you have kids 🙂 




Post # 13
242 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

DH and I have been living off of his salary alone for the past year while I’m in graduate school.  It honestly has been easier than I expected!  Sometimes you have to be a little creative with saving money, but it can be done.  For instance, spending more time to plan out meals and using coupons can save on grocery costs.  We also have paid off both of our vehicles, so it helps not having car payment.

You can always try it out beforehand by putting one salary in savings and trying to live off of the other. Then you already have some money set aside when you begin TTC!

Post # 14
4587 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I’m a SAHM and my husband makes 90K a year. The cost of living in our area is very high so this isn’t a ton of money. We also have a fair amount of credit card debt that we’re working on paying down. It is possible to be a SAHM without being wealthy but you have to make sacrifices. We don’t have a lot of money left for nonessentials while we’re working on our debt, but we have enough to get by.

Post # 15
951 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015 - City Hall!

I’m a SAHM and we are NOT rolling in it. We aren’t struggling..but we need to think about extras before we do it. We are semi-comfortable for us, but not for many. 

I’m a SAHM because child care is expensive and I like being the one to care for my children. If I was to get a job, we’d be paying for full time child care (we have more than one child) and then I also wouldn’t be with them as much. 

So we cut back, I’m staying home until kindergarten. And then will try to find a job. 

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