Stay at Home Mom Question — Need Insight

posted 2 years ago in Finances
  • poll: SAHM: Which best applies to you?

    My partner makes enough to cover all of our bills

    I have to work part time/side jobs to cover some bills

    We saved in advance to cover our monthly expenses

    Other: explain below

  • Post # 16
    525 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    My husband makes enough to cover everything, but it’s tight and we don’t save as much per month as we used to. We always contribute to the retirement savings and keep an emergency fund, but saving for trips and so forth takes much, much longer now. We are considering buying a bigger house, so I’m looking for part-time work online for the short-term and I’ll fully go back to work when both kids are in school.

    Post # 17
    359 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2025 - City, State

    I have no personal experience, but I note that you describe your husband as a “high level executive”, yet say you would fall significantly short on paying your bills with his salary alone.  I suggest you take a good, hard look at your expenses.  Are there things you can cut?  Start with those 1-2 dinners and several lunches a week, but there’s probably quite a bit more if you’re really willing to cut back.  Try living on his salary alone (putting yours straight into savings).  If you can’t swing it, there’s your answer.

    Post # 18
    510 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2007 - City, State

    View original reply
    sarathemermaid :  I’ve been a stay at home mom for 10 years. We’re not as well off as most of you but he makes plenty for us to survive on. Had our first kid at 22, we never planned anything financially or otherwise. We are pregnant with our 4th now. He’s been in the military the duration of our marriage etc. so we don’t have to pay for medical care. That’s a huge expense most civilians have to pay for. He was diagnosed with cancer last year and also had to have a major spine surgery due to time overseas and there are major ongoing costs medically that if we were in the civilian world would be killing us financially. We also have never had to pay for an emergency room visit, a prescription, a vaccination, or a birth! 

    Anyway, we don’t save as much as I would like, I spend nothing in gas for myself almost, both our cars are older and paid for. We spend a lot on food because I don’t buy cheap meat or dairy and I purchase a lot of organic stuff. I cook everything from scratch basically…and we don’t really eat out. Basically I drive an old ass car and shop at whole foods. Lol that’s my choice.

    I mean, it’s really what you make of it I guess. This is what is best for our family and our kids. Our lives would be cushier and more exciting if I had a decent paying job but it was important for our kids to have a constant and not be shuffled between before and after school care and daycare. He can focus on his job, which at times is gruelling. Right now he is working 16 and 17 hour days. Sometimes he leaves for days at a time. In his words, he never has to worry about our home life or his children during stressful work times for him because I have it covered and that’s a huge comfort and load off of his shoulders. If our kids are sick, they stay home with me. It’s not difficult or stressful. I also feel like our marriage is stronger. I can’t imagine having a demanding career on top of everything I already do for this family. That might seem crazy to an outsider…but we have no support system. No friends and family to rely on. Its him and I and that’s it. If I’m sick and he is working, tough shit for me. He can’t call in to take a personal day. We are very self sufficient. If my siblings had to deal with this I think they’d be lost. They call my parents for help or childcare constantly. I also love the added bonus of being able to spend time with him and see him when he gets time off, which if I was working we wouldn’t be able to do. If he gets a day here or there, we take our toddler to breakfast when the older ones are in school. Its just nice to be available so we can spend time together. His schedule is unpredictable.

    Even though he is the provider financially, it has always been ‘our’ money. I really feel like in order to be happy as a stay at home parent and feel valued it has to be 50/50 and they have to see a massive value in your role for your family and respect you and what you do as a mother and wife. Otherwise you will never, ever feel good enough. 

    Post # 23
    241 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2016

    I’ve been home since I had my son in September. We started saving extra when I found out I was pregnant because I only had enough PTO to cover a portion of my maternity leave. When my leave was ending and we hadn’t touched the extra “baby savings” we decided I’d stay home as long as we could afford. Unfortunately, my husbands job doesn’t cover all our bills (by about $1000/month). I had an emergency c section and baby was in the NICU for a few days, so even with insurance we’re paying an extra $500/month toward our hospital bill. We still haven’t dipped into our “baby savings” yet, but probably will have to within the next 3 months. At that time I’ll most likely get a part time or PRN position where I could work 1-2 days per week to help cover expenses.  I never thought staying home would be a possibility, so I feel very lucky that we’re able to afford this extra time while my babe is still so little. I do plan on going back to work full time eventually (maybe when my son is around a year), unless my husband gets a substantial raise or we win the lottery 🙂 

    Post # 24
    3228 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    View original reply
    sarathemermaid :  I would not plan to be a Stay-At-Home Mom long term if you were dipping in to savings each month to cover bills. That’s not smart IMO. I am a Stay-At-Home Mom, my husband makes enough to cover bills without a ton of extras. Hopefully in the next few years he will make a lot more (like more than double his pay) if his chosen career path pans out. 

    Post # 25
    8030 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2010

    My husband makes enough money to cover all of our expenses and for us to live comfortably. 

    Post # 26
    15395 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2011

    In your shoes, I would look at the long term goal.  How long you plan to stay at home, if you plan to re-enter the work force, what a gap in employment would mean for re-entering, etc.  If you only planned on staying at home for a year or 2, then I might be comfortable trying to save up a boat load to try make up that 1k to get you through that time if staying at home is important.  If you plan on staying home indefinitely, then I would not try to save for that cause eventually, it will run out, right?  I mean, I’d still save a boat load, cause that’s my nature, but not necessarily for that use.  I’d probably try to work part time and keep one foot in the door and bring home the salary to make up the difference, at least until he found a job with a much more comfortable salary.  

    I’m taking a year off, so not really stay at home mom per se, but only feel very comfortable doing so because my husband makes more than what we made combined when we bought our house, (Our salary when we bought our house is always my reference point since our bills haven’t really changed and we were comfortable at that point), and my job is pretty much guarenteed (I’m taking a leave of absense).  After the year, I plan to work part time just to bring in some extra cash for kid expenses and additional savings… which once again, we are only comfortable with since he already make more than our reference point, otherwise I would be going back full time.

    Post # 27
    1027 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2015

    My hubby makes enough, but I make $200-$300 most weeks walking pups/ dog sitting and miscellaneous. It’s fun and I use that money for things that make me happy ( coffee, going out to eat with fam, museum, trips etc). 

    Post # 28
    77 posts
    Worker bee

    I did not plan to SAH but have been for over 6 years now. I earned significantly more and had better benefits so of course I had to go back to work until I ended up staying home due to life circumstances. It was supposed to be temporary so we made it work by cutting out a lot. The SAH lifestyle is surprisingly cheap compared to commuting daily, lunches out, work wardrobe, etc so it wasn’t a big deal. We had plenty of savings and our mortgage was affordable which were the biggest things. On paper there was NO way we could afford for me to stay home but we managed. My H did end up getting a better paying job when we realized my SAH stint would be longer term. His income has increased steadily so despite the fact that we had to move to a more expensive house and the kids activities are costlier, we can afford it now. I do hope to work PT once my youngest starts preschool because I think it would help me to find something if I need to find full time work plus the extra money is always nice to have for saving and house renovations and vacations. 


    Post # 29
    9360 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    A few comments have been made about working just in case something happens to your husband but I don’t think that’s as important as making sure he has excellent insurance coverage for short term, long term, and life.  We both work but if either of us dies tomorrow the other gets a minimum of a million dollars which will more than pay off our mortgage with leftover to invest for supplemental income. 

    Post # 30
    2570 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 2012

    When we decided to have a baby I wanted to have significant savings first, so we saved 3 months of expenses in an emergency fund and I also saved about $2,000 for baby related purchases, such as car seat, stroller, diaper bag, bassinet, clothes, etc. We also got rid of any debt we had and lowered our monthly expenses as much as possible (got rid of or lowered any bills/services we could, started paying more attention to grocery bills and meal planning, we have only one vehicle, etc) Finally, we figured out how much our medical bills would be and made sure we had enough money for that.

    Now I am a Stay-At-Home Mom and we are comfortable financially. We happily live below our means and within a budget, so my husband’s salary covers our expenses, we still contribute to savings and retirement, and still have our 3 month Emergency Fund available if we ever need it. 

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