Stay at home mom budget (help! All advice and thoughts accepted plz!!)

posted 5 months ago in Family
Post # 31
1845 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

There’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that supporting 3 adults on a salary of $75K in a moderate-to-above-average cost of living state is going to be hard, and it’s important to do some soul searching to see WHY you want to, and if it’s worth it in the end. 

I won’t rehash what the others said, but housing, medical care, utilities, car(s), clothes, food, retirement, and savings for 3 humans is a pretty steep ask of an average income. I also bristle a bit at the suggestion that your husband take on extra work. I have a whole host of cousins who SAH on average salaries, and it requires all of their husbands to take on an ever-increasing amount of extra work. With the first kid, it was just one night a week, but fast forward to another kid or two, a busted AC, and all of a sudden the husband is working 4 nights a week and all day Saturday, in addition to a 9-5. I don’t buy for one second that the trade off of mom being around 24/7 is worth the kid(s) not seeing their dad much. I’m not targeting the PP who said this, since there’s nothing inherently wrong with tackling an extra hour or two, but outside of the military world, “an extra hour or two” doesn’t really exist, and if an hour or two of delivering postmates a few nights a week brings in enough extra cash to make a difference, that seems like the perfect opportunity for the Stay-At-Home Mom to do it, so that the kid(s) can get some quality time with dad. 

Finally, I really, really want to emphasize that the fallout from COVID may stretch on for years, even if we get a vaccine soon, and the job market will become that much steeper…part time may be a better move if you don’t plan to stay home for 18+ years. 

Post # 32
247 posts
Helper bee

“How much would he have to make to support us both without me working? And then later in life a child and myself without myself working.”

Like everyone else, I am confused with this statement. Why would he need to support you without you working before a child is in the picture? That is a stay at home wife, not a stay at home mom. My recommendation is that on your income(s) and debt, you should not become a stay at home wife. If you aren’t getting married until 2022, it could realistically be 2-3 years maybe even more before you’d have a baby. You just graduated college, don’t waste that student loan debt down the drain – use your degree to earn as much as you can while you can! Why take out a student loan if you never planned on working? Continue working, paying off debt, and building savings until you deliver a baby and then you can stay home if you can financially. 

I am also concerned about the idea that your Fiance will have a 50% pay increase in 2 years – I wouldn’t hold my breath on that especially with this current economic climate. It took me about 6 years (with 3 college degrees) to increase my salary by 50%. I echo everyone else to put 100% of your income into savings / debt payment and live off of his 50K salary only and see if that works. 

Things to keep in mind – do you own or rent? Home ownership comes with tons of joyous expenses – I.E. we just spent 9K on a new Air Conditioner right as my pay got cut due to COVID. I would try to make a spreadsheet now of current / planned future expenses including everything like rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries & supplies, then future baby expenses like formula, diapers, medical expenses. You need to add all that up and see where you’re at monthly to confirm how much you need to make to live comfortably. 

Post # 33
1992 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

Due to the overwhelming amount of responses saying this can’t be done, OP, I want to put another finger in the pot and stir it a bit 🙂 

The cost of living where you are is EVERYTHING. My husband and I live in NC on one salary. He makes $50k. Granted, this is the military, where he has a bazillion opportunities to get a few extra dollars added to a paycheck here and there, with trainings, certifications, and whatnot, but in the end he makes no more than probably $55k a year. 

Taking out retirement funds, taxes (oh LORD the taxes we have to pay because military – the refunds are nice though), and insurance, he actually brings home only $2700 a month. Yeah, the military is a scam. However, he has a NICE retirement fund, because the military offers retirement at age 40. And we invest in the most expensive insurance there is (though there are rumors we might qualify for TriCare some day….crossing my fingers AND my toes). 

Bringing home $2700 a month has worked out fine for us. We bank several hundred of it, spend half of it on the rent, and are frugal with the rest. Do we live a prestigious, enormous lifestyle with eight cars? No. We have one car, but it’s a brand-new Subaru Forester and we love it very much. We are currently saving up to buy a “clunker” just so we have an extra set of wheels, but we plan to pay for it in cash rather than have another car payment, because we cannot afford one. 

Live within your means. Everything depends on where you live. But we had to MOVE to a lower COL area so I could be a Stay-At-Home Mom. We had to be very dedicated. And if you are dedicated, you can make it work. 

Post # 34
2041 posts
Buzzing bee

I honestly don’t think it will be feasible for you to stay home assuming he will even make 75k

Like PPs have suggested I would find out if you can afford it by living off one income for awhile and seeing where that gets you.

If you can afford it then start saving as much as possible and work as much as you can until you have a child. Pick up a second job and open up a retirement account for yourself so you’re covered there.

Don’t rely on him for everything because you should always have a backup plan. And no offense but you are both really young and the odds are against your marriage surviving. Who you are and what you want out of life could drastically change in a year or 5 or 10. That’s the risk you take marrying young.

You are literally 22 and 24 years old. You can think you have everything figured out but life has a way of turning your plans inside out.

You may not be able to get pregnant. You may have a child and realize you can’t stand staying at home. You may have a hard time getting back into the workforce. You may realize you love being at home with your child and then get hit by an unexpected financial hit. You could end up divorced. You could have a special needs child who incurs a lot of medical expenses.

There are too many unknowns here. And you don’t sound like you will make enough to be financially prepared to stay at home in a year or two. Or ever in NJ

Chances are you will not be able to live off one income, especially if you test it out right now when he’s not making 75k. If you’re on the east or west coast I would think you need to make wellll over 6 figures to be able to live comfortably on one salary with a cushion for emergencies. I’m sorry but I don’t think 75k will cut it.

If you can’t afford it now, then you will need to push back your plans to have a child for a few years until you can afford it. Or forego staying at home. Something has to give and you will have to be flexible. 

You could try waiting until he actually makes 75k and try living off his salary then and keep re-evaluating until he makes enough to support a family. Until then, keep saving and please don’t have kids til you can afford it

Post # 35
436 posts
Helper bee

I live in a LCOL area and $75K to support a family of 3 would still be pretty tight. There would be little to no room for extras or luxuries above basic living expenses and savings. I don’t even want to imagine how difficult it would be in HCOL areas. 

Also, people have suggested getting a work at home job. Keep in mind that most legit companies with work at home positions expect you to treat it like you would a job where you don’t work from home, and require you to have child care in place while you are working. They don’t want you caring for children while on the clock, so you would need to be able to work when your husband is home to care for the kids.

Post # 36
1845 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

Whoa, I missed the bit about how the $75K would support you at first, then you and a kid later. Why wouldn’t you be working pre-baby? Getting back into the job market after a few years off is hard when when you have 10+ years in your field…if you just never get into a field, or get into it for a very short period of time, you’ll be starting from scratch when you decide to go back to work (be it by choice or by necessity). 

Post # 38
1610 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2020

First, congrats on having no debt and being well employed straight out of college! I bumbled around a bit after college, so I admire your accomplishment.

Second, assuming that your FH will make 75k in 2 years seems fairly optimistic. It took me almost 10 years to go from 56k to 90k, and that’s including my health insurance allowance. With covid, the job market isn’t exactly robust. Such a rapid pay increase would probably come with more hours and responsibility, and burn out is real. FH and I often discuss taking lower paying jobs, and I would have taken a steep pay cut for a new job had they offered.

Third, I agree that even with 75k, it’d be hard to support 3 people. I don’t know how you’d save for a house, retirement, etc. To start staying at home at an age so young, with no backup plan for yourself, seems like you’re setting yourself up for abject poverty if the breadwinner loses his job, takes a pay cut, you get divorced, etc. After he retires, you’d have to live off of retirement funds meant for one person.

Fourth, your FH has debt he needs to take care of, and if you quit your job, your combined income is going to be almost halved. That loss of income plus a new baby is going to be a lot of stress.

I say budget with the earnings you have now, rather than your projected earnings, and be prepared to work at least part time. You seem to have a very rosy view of being a Stay-At-Home Mom, and your partner’s ability to keep up financially. In my experience, the more money you make, the more demanding your job. Having disposable income for fun, frivolous stuff is what keeps me going at my job. You wouldn’t have much money left over with the arrangement you’re thinking of. Your partner would have to stay content with working many hours and hardly getting to see the baby he’s working so hard to support. I don’t find that sustainable.

Post # 38
2234 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: City, State

It has all already been said, but I will add–you are 22 years old and romanticizing life as a kept woman and stay at home mom. If your husband made 300k a year, I’d be optimistic for you, but in a HCOL area like northern NJ, $75k per year will really strap you. You will have to live lean, especially adding in the cost of a child.

Post # 39
913 posts
Busy bee

wow some very good advice. I like the idea of stowing away one income for savings for a while to see how it works out! Awesome! Also like someone else said, find a stay at home job

northern NJ is pricey! Are you guys planning on owning or renting?

for me, he has 2 businesses & I intend to supply supplemental income from home. We started budget planning 2 months ago but we did not include any supplemental income for me, because he intends on being sole provider. I like working so i’ll do it from home lol my rent now is 2k and his apartment mortgage is a little less. So we will rennovate and rent out the already available rooms plus the one he current lives out of. Thats hould play out good as far as balance and then some. 

Post # 40
614 posts
Busy bee

Just wanted to pop in again to point out that MANY women don’t work after marriage, even before kids. We shouldn’t shame people for their choices.

However OP you SHOULD get an airtight prenup that protects you financially if you go that route. To protect yourself and any future babies!

Post # 41
2988 posts
Sugar bee

Im technically on mat leave right now but won’t be going back to work due to Covid. I’ve always wanted to be a Stay-At-Home Mom but I’m open to working part time after Covid chills out. 

I work in HR/Recruiting and I just wanted to say, no matter what your circumstances are, it’s extremely risky to not work outside the home for a number of years. If I were planning to stay at home, I would try to find a career you can keep up certifications, training, work part time, etc. That way, if something happens, you can support yourself. 

At my job I can’t tell you how many newly single moms would come in with a degree and a great job…from 10 years ago. They would expect to be able to hop right back into office work, accounting, etc. Unfortunately for a lot of trades, employers aren’t going to hire a woman who has not work experience for a decade. OR you get hired starting from the bottom and working your way up. Just be smart about it. 

Also, like PP stated, make sure you can contribute to retirement and have a good life insurance policy on your husband (not to be morbid). 

My husband and I have always been frugal but with me staying at home has made us even more so. I don’t drive much, we only eat out once a week or so, I shop at Aldi to save money, we make our own coffee at home, we buy almost all second hand when we can, I never get my hair/nails/anything done (I do it myself), we cloth diaper, etc. There’s a lot to do to save money! 

Post # 42
1673 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

All I can say is….never count your chickens before they hatch. He “should” be making $75k in a few years… don’t bank on that income til you have it in hand. Especially these days.

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors