(Closed) how to afford to be a SAHM

posted 7 years ago in Babies
Post # 3
891 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Here are some pointers on what I would do:

Do you have two cars now? Maybe when you are a stay at home mom, and you move where everything is close by to your house you might consider selling one car, or getting a cheaper car? Or try to pay off most of the payments asap on one of the cars to cut down the bills a bit?

If you were to be a stay at home mom, would you be covered in his insurance at work or privately? That needs to be looked up to aswel, you can save alot if he would be able to cover you.Me and Fiance are both working, and we have put eachother on our insurances. We don’t insure ourselves, we insure eachother through our jobs, we work at the same dept. We saved alot of money doing this.

Do you have monthly budgets? If you do, you can see where you can cut the corners pretty drastically. See if you can get advisable plans on payments if you have those and get a good savings going on what your economy allows.

Baking and cooking food at home saves alot of money if you know how to do it the right way. Might sound funny with the bread thing is a total winner at my place. I am not a stay at home mom though. Doing batches of food, cheaper and freeze em in for our lunches or dinner on weekdays are a good alternative. Saves alot of money in the long run, as well as time!

If you have friends with kids aswell, try to set up a get together with them, let’s say two days a week, and have it at eachother’s place, to get away and have that social interaction if you are not having them part time at daycare. Me and my girlfriends did this for 1,5 years, we were 3-5 gf’s with one kid each, unfortunately we don’t live this close anymore. A few of them has done this where they live now and works great. We would just meet at the park for a few hours, at someones garden if weather allows, we would be in the playroom/livingroom interacting with our children, major fun! It’s cheap, almost free, and you can vary the amount of people joining within your grou, and you save on that daycare thingy. 

You would afford it if you can see what you can cut down on now, and arrange payments or even pay off stuff.. if you have those, to say. I hope this helped a bit.




Post # 5
4653 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Find ways to make things you spend alot of money on! I make my own laundry soap and i now spend how much i used to spend in a month/month and a half (if we were lucky) for a whole year! 

Expensive coffee drinks you can make great tasting ones yourself from home and if you have a travel cup no reason to buy when your out!

Cloth diapers- It is a big up front cost but disposable diapers end up costing SOOO much money!

Breast feeding- Formula prices are crazy high breast feed for as long as you can! Find a lactation consultant they are a life saver for new moms!

When your baby starts eating solid food make it yourself. I have saved so much money by making my own baby food.

Hand me down clothes. Baby clothes get very expensive. hand me downs are great! and when they are little they dont wear them enough to really do much damage on the clothes (unless the baby has a blow out)

Dont eat out. We have saved SOOOO much money by not eating out! By food in bulk and freeze! 

Have a babysitting trade with other moms. Instead of paying for a babysitter make deals with other moms. I will take your child for______ if you watch mine while I ____. 

Cut things you dont use. We didnt really watch tv enough to justify the $90 price tag with direct tv. You can find most episodes online these days and add that in with netflix we are saving a TON of money!

Toy swaps Me and a few moms do toy swaps we bring the toys our kids stoped playing with and switch it for one we know our kids will like. The kids think they are getting new toys but you are not paying a penny! You can do the same thing with clothes.

Dont buy overpriced not needed baby items. (hand me downs are also great for this) Also read reviews before you buy anything it will help you save alot of money and keep you from buying bad products.

I could go on and on if you want more ideas you can PM me!

Post # 6
891 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@MsPanda: Oh, great tips on some of those. Now I feel like I wanna be a stay at home mom aswell. LOL

Post # 7
4653 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@Elolith: It really is doable! When I got laid off from my job and couldnt find another one I thought we were done but with a few changes we are making it and still being able to money in savings! 

Oh and we use cupons and take advantage of the walmart price matching!

Post # 8
270 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2001

I have been a Stay-At-Home Mom for almost 10 years now.  At first we were super poor, but my Darling Husband and I were commited to making it work.  We got rid of a car, I breast fed, we didn’t eat out.  I am obsessive over getting deals on food and clothes.  I plan our meals around what is on sale, and I go to a couple stores to make sure I get the most bang for my buck.  For the kids clothes, I go the the mall and “stalk” items.  When they go on clearance, I pick them up.  I try to shop a year in advance for their clothes.  I buy name brand clothes for my kids for Walmart prices.  I can’t even explain the thrill I get doing this!  Look at kids consignment shops for second hand things.  Look into the library for entertainment with your LO.  Ours has baby time all the way up to story time for bigger ones.  Also, the thing I found most suprising was how lonely it can be to be a Stay-At-Home Mom.  Make it a priority to make friends with other moms.  I was so much happier once I had other Moms to talk to, and the babie got to learn social skills.  Have fun being a Mama!

Post # 9
830 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I consider myself a Stay-At-Home Mom but I actually earn a bit of income by doing child care in my home Mon-Fri. I just watch one toddler my daughter is good friends with. They’re about the same age and have a blast playing together. It’s a casual enough situation I can take them both with me to run errands, walk the dogs etc so I don’t feel stuck at home like a full on daycare. Between not paying for daycare for my daughter plus earning that bit of extra we are able to live comfortably on DH’s income. We have 2 car payments and all the normal bills yet still do ok. So I highly recommend some type of part time work at home thing to bring in some extra. I’m not the type to give up little luxuries I’m used to, I’d probably go back to work before I agreed to only one car or no eating out ever.

Post # 10
2589 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

My girlfriends and I were joking about this a few nights ago when I was discussing the Mr and I house hunting next Fall after the wedding, because I’m planning on TTC right after we’re settled in to the house (ill be 30 then – so … it time). 

The result of our wondering how to be Stay-At-Home Mom in Boston? Marrying a rich guy. Haha. My best friend and her hubby bought a house last year- and can’t even swing the mortgage and food without their 2 incomes.  Mr and I are seriously discussing moving to the midwest so that it would at least be a possibility for the kiddos first 2 or 3 years.  Sigh.

Post # 11
631 posts
Busy bee

I’m a Stay-At-Home Mom and here are a few things we cut and/or tips for saving money:


  • We have one car, saving on insurance, gas, etc.
  • We almost never eat out.  I plan all meals ahead of time and shop once every 10 days.  I focus on what’s cheap and on sale. 
  • We do not take vacations. 
  • We buy our clothes and baby’s clothes at Goodwill and discount outlets.  
  • Remember that you’re saving the “costs” of working – no childcare, no meals out, no coffee breaks, no drycleaning work clothes, no commuting costs.
  • Ask yourself about the monthly costs you have.  How much are you paying PER YEAR (not per month) on cable TV and smart phones?  When you add it up on a yearly basis, there are huge savings to be had if you can go without.  Yes, it might suck to not have cable, but remember – you would be gaining A LOT by staying home.
  • Are there any luxuries you can do without?  I realized I was spending about $500 per year on manicures.  I finally decided I could do without, and I don’t even really miss it!
  • Buy books online or at a used book store.  You can get most books for less than $5, even without shipping. 

Anyways, these are just some thoughts!  I’ve really had to become frugal to be a responsible Stay-At-Home Mom, but the peaceful and rewarding life I have at home with my baby girl MORE than makes up for it!  Good luck!

Post # 12
2538 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

My husband is a grad student, so I work and he’s kind of a Stay-At-Home Dad. We bought cloth dipaers used, went to yard sales for all the toys and clothes (granted, we got a ton of clothes from people), cut our cable, really looked at what we’re spending our money on (do store brands taste the same or good enough, sometimes they’re even better), I’m breastfeeding, and we don’t buy anything we don’t need. Oh, I also take the bus to work so he can have the car. And no eating out anymore.

Post # 13
2142 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

To be quite honest, I’m not sure for my husband and I we can afford for me to be a Stay-At-Home Mom. I sat down and did our budget the other night and what it will increase based on healthcare and we will be very very tight.

And I honestly already do a lot of the things some of the ladies suggested above.

I’ve been making my own laundry soap, dishwasher soap for years. I never buy clothes unless it’s on ridiculous sale. Like jeans under $15 or I refuse to buy them. Shoes under $20. We eat out maybe once every couple months. We buy in bulk and freeze everything. I’m not a primper so I don’t do manicures, pedicures, hair coloring etc. I get a hair cut maybe twice a year at the Salon Academy for $10. I don’t wear makeup.

Already to make things work with the baby we are cutting corners. Point blank if it was down to one paycheck I do not think we can afford our mortgage and car payments.

Unfortunately financially we can not afford for me to be a Stay-At-Home Mom. If I really want to be I’m sure there are more things we can cut down to make it work but it would be ridiculously tight.

P.S. I just want to add that I know that if I really wanted to be a Stay-At-Home Mom some how some way my husband and I can make it. As can you!

Post # 14
1932 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

There are ways – and like regberadaisy said, sometimes your SO may not make enough, but a lot of times there are ways around that.

If you own a home it could be harder, but if you’re renting you might be able to downsize to a smaller apartment. Or if you have an extra room in your home, consider renting it out to a college student or young person (not hard to find someone you know who knows someone who might need housing for a bit), you can usually bring in an extra $300-$500/mo depending where you live.

Consider doing a type of in-home daycare 1-3x week. My mom did this while she stayed at home with us, this family from church needed cheap childcare, since my mom was home anyway, she watched her girls twice a week and made about $100/week. So less $$ for the mom working, and more money for my mom staying home. We were old enough at the time too that we played with the girls pretty independently so my mom didn’t have to do a whole lot of extra work anyway!

I know one PP said this – but cloth diapers! Now, I splurged a little because I wanted a certain brand, so we’ve spent about $450 initial investment for enough fuzzibunzs and grovias. But my sister just uses prefolds and thirsties covers which work JUST AS great as my AIO’s and AI2’s, and she spent maybe $100? Check out Fluff Swappers group on Facebook – mama’s sell their cloth diapers daily, and some are still in new condition! I got a lot of my fuzzibunzs either new or like-new for $5-$10 off their retail price. Also several manufacturors have months of discounts, I did a fuzzibunzs discount in September where if you buy 6 dipes you get 2 free, so it saved be about $5/diaper. I also got my grovia lot on Ebay for almost half the price the originial owner paid for them, and she’d only used them for 2 weeks! Check out: allaboutclothdiapering.com for good reviews.

Cloth wipes as well! My sister was given lots of baby towels, she cut them up into squares and used them in addition to the $4 packs of 6 washcloths at target. She made her own solution with olive oil, organic baby shampoo, tea tree oil and water. She added a couple lavender drops as well – smells great and works great! 

Breastfeeding if you can do it! It’s the only way we can even afford to have a baby haha! Contact your La Leche League representative BEFORE you have the baby so that they can be there to assist you RIGHT when you get home. My sister was stuck for a week trying to figure it out on her own and was so stressed and crying about it, she said if she had done anything different it would have been having them come out sooner!

Don’t register for stuff you don’t/won’t need! That way you’ll be sure of getting most to all of the stuff on the registry instead of frivolous toys you won’t need (or want!). Don’t register for baby clothes, ppl buy them anyway! Let people know what you really want (that nice rocker!) and ask your baby shower host/mom/sister if they could encourage guests to go in on a gift together so you can get what you really want. 

Make your own baby food come 6 months old 🙂 honestly, just mash up a banana, avocado, cooked squash, cooked sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, pears, applesauce etc – add a little water to get a good consistency. 

If you don’t know anyone from whom you can get hand-me-downs, shop second hand. How long are they in each size?! It doesn’t make sense to buy retail if they wear it for a month! I find whole outfits for less than $5 all the time. Also, get on carters and gap baby’s email lists, they send out GREAT coupons and have great sales. I find less than $5 deals at both stores all the time. At carters, wait till they have one of their 40% off the whole store sales (and they usually send out an additional 20% off coupon) and STOCK UP on winter coats, outfits etc.

I agree with PP, consider downsizing to one car. We had to because my husband accidentally totaled our last car and we didn’t have a choice. I never thought we’d be able to make it work, but we did. We moved to the city he works in, which I love living here now, so if I need the car, I drive him to work (5-10 min drive) and just keep the car for the day. 

I also skimp significantly on utilities. It’s November 6 and I haven’t turned the heat on yet. If I’m home I wear sweatpants, sweatshirt and cover up with a blanket, if you have a baby, plan a day with a friend, hang out at the library or other “warm places” to avoid having to keep your heat on 70 EVERY DAY in the winter. I sleep with an electric blanket on low during the night to keep warm as well and so far so good 🙂

I also do this in the summer, I love fresh air, so windows open and a fan keep us cool enough. Same with electricity bills, unplug appliances that aren’t in use, be sure to shut off all lights you’re not using, splurge on the energy efficient bulbs – that last like 20 years and use over half the electricity!

I am a couponer for groceries like crazy! Get the sunday paper each week and clip coupons, also keep weekly ads for stores in your area and try to match ad sales to your coupons. Several stores send out monthly coupons. I then make a meal plan around what’s on sale, last week it was BOGO chuck roast, so we’re having roast! Making a meal plan takes 1-2 hours/week, but it helps you not have to impulse buy at the store, you know exactly what you need so you don’t overspend! Some of my favorite cheap meals are chicken wild rice soup (you can make with ham as well), pot roast, muffins (freeze and eat for b-fast!), vegetable soups, etc..

Like another PP we really didn’t NEED TV. We stream netflix through out wii and there are plenty of shows/movies to keep us entertained. Plus there is a great selection of kids shows! And we stream only for $10/mo. We also don’t have a landline, just use our cell phones, and got rid of internet on our phones (esp if you’re a Stay-At-Home Mom you don’t need it). 


Oh gosh this is getting long! haha But it’s possible and you can do it!! 

Try making a budget, that way you can save for what you will need, know where you can cut expenses etc etc.

Good luck!!

Post # 15
2589 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012


YES to making your own baby food.  Even if money isn’t an issue – you cut out a lot of preservatives, sodium, and other junk.  I babysit for a couple who started doing this – and at first I rolled my eyes – but its so easy!  They dump a bag of carrots and sweet potatoes in to a roasting pan, put in the oven for a an hour, mash it, and put it in tupperware. Done with baby food for a whole week! No piles of little jars, no packaging, etc.  Its also less waste because if he decides he’s not hungry, it goes right back in the container. Saves sooooooooooo much money too.

Post # 16
30 posts
  • Wedding: April 2010

Is there any way your husband could find a way to make more money?  Has he investigated asking for a raise or promotion or seeking out a different position?

For me to become a Stay-At-Home Mom we are relocating to a place where my husband will make enough to support our family and a mortgage.  We ran the numbers awhile back and because I make more than him there was no way we could have survived on just his salary.  He tried to get a new job around here but had no luck for six months so we decided to move for a position he was offered.  Now we will be in a place to make things work when I am not bringing in any income. 

The backup plan if he didn’t find a new job by the end of the year was for him to take a second part time job.  This might be something you could consider if you don’t think he could make more money in his current job.  You could also think about working a few hours on weekends when he is home so you can help bring some money in.

We have put TTC off for awhile for this plan to come into effect, but I am really hopeful it will have been worth it. 

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