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Staying at Home: Finances

The money issue is often the deciding factor for most families when it comes to deciding if a parent should stay at home. Even if you desperately want to stay home, it may not be clear how your family can survive without your income. Do some investigating. There may be a workable solution hidden beneath your doubt.

Only One Income

You may wonder if it's possible for your family to make due on only one income. Though your family would lose your income if you stayed at home, the truth is that you would also be free of a few extra expenses. Sit down and think of all the things you'd no longer have to pay for if you didn't work. Some of these might include:

  • Transportation: Whether your drive, carpool, or use public transportation, there are some fees involved. Gasoline, car maintenance, auto insurance, bus fares, or train tickets might be on your current list of expenses.
  • Wardrobe: There are very few jobs that allow you to wear your everyday clothes. You may need to wear a uniform or dress up, but either way, you spend money.
  • Day care: Babysitters, nannies, or day-care services might eat up a huge chunk of your paycheck. As a stay-at-home parent, you would eliminate these expenses.
  • Other hidden costs: Perhaps you eat out, get clothes dry cleaned, travel, or purchase supplies more frequently while working. While some of these expenses are tax deductible, you still spend a lot on random things.
Essential

There are a few companies with Web sites that will actually help you shop for a new mortgage. You simply enter your information once and sit back and wait. One such company is LendingTree.

Shifting Your Thinking and Spending

You might find that no matter how much you wanted to stay home, it's a difficult adjustment for you and your husband. However, there are some things that you can do to make the shift more economically feasible. By lightening your load, you can make it more possible to enjoy your new job as a stay-at-home mom.

First, consider how you can reduce your spending. Can you consolidate your debt into one payment? Sometimes you can even get a better percentage rate when you do this. Can you refinance your home? Rates fluctuate, so sometimes you can get a better deal than when you first applied. This is a great way to put more money into your pocket every month.

Start planning menus to help you save on grocery bills. Some locations actually have online grocery shopping. While you may spend $5 on the service, you eliminate all impulse buying and you don't have to go inside the store. But even if that doesn't work out, planning ahead can keep you from spending more than you wanted and keep you from heading to a restaurant on a whim.

More on: Family Finances

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From The Everything Mother's First Year Book Copyright © 2005, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

To order this book go to Amazon.


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