So your family is thinking about going from two incomes to one? Maybe you’re having a kid and one of you will stay home with the baby. It might seem scary to think about losing a big chunk of your family income. I know a lot of people feel like they can never make it work, but it is possible on almost any income.
It just takes work. It takes planning and, in many cases, sacrifices. What exactly does that look like? Follow these nine steps and your dream of staying home with your kids and making it on one income will become a possibility.
Making this adjustment will require planning for most families. It can be pretty difficult to go from two incomes to one overnight so start living off one income before you make the change. See how you are doing. See what sacrifices you are making and how comfortable that is for you. And while you are doing this, you get to save.
Get your finances in order
This means you should have a budget. A budget allows you to prioritize what is important and what isn’t. You should also be debt free (or close). Whether it’s credit cards, student loans, or something else, debt will just be a drag on your ability to make it on one income. And finally, have a secure emergency fund. Life will happen, and you don’t want to go back in debt when the hot water heater goes out.
Live within your means
Your goal isn’t to keep up with the Joneses. It’s to stay home with your baby. Make sure your biggest expenses- such as your house, your cars or travel- make sense for your budget and your lifestyle. After all, what is most important to you?
Craigslist. Facebook marketplace. Consignment sales. Whether it’s big ticket items like cars or furniture or maybe it’s just clothes, particularly kid’s clothes, buy used. You’ll save big and after a few months (or less) you won’t notice the difference.
Shop for deals
Outside of your rent or mortgage, think of other big expenses every month or every year. Homeowners insurance (if you own your house), auto insurance, health insurance. Put some time in to looking for the best deals for what you need. That savings could go a long way.
Look for free entertainment
You need to get out of the house, but, fortunately, not everything that is fun costs money. Focus on the free entertainment around you. Parks. Libraries. State parks. Maybe you live near the beach or a lake. There is a lot your family can do and memories you can make without emptying your wallet.
Just because you are staying at home doesn’t mean you can’t make money. Maybe your employer will let you do some side work. Maybe you can freelance. Or you can be part of a multi-level marketing team. You can watch kids at your house. There are lots of options today.
Have some fun money
While you are making sacrifices, you also need to have fun. It should be within reason but have money for a date night or a fun activity with the kids. Or maybe there is just something you love that you don’t need but you don’t want to give up. That’s okay. This will help you stay grounded.
Remember your why
This is what will make staying at home possible. Why are you doing this? What is your reason for staying at home? If you think about that, especially during difficult times, it will make it all worth it.