Can You Afford to be a Stay-at-Home-Mom?

Being a SAHM allows moms the luxury of spending time with their kids, doing fun stuff like whipping up a batch of cookies in the middle of a weekday.
I guess the decision for me to be stay-at-home-mom—SAHM in mommy lingo—was more by default than anything else. I have already been working from home as a freelance editor and writer, and the idea of going back to the corporate jungle didn’t appeal to me. When we got pregnant, The Hubby, who was a freelance IT professional as well, decided that money-wise and logistics-wise, it would be best if he were to go back to permanent employment.
I really thank God that it worked out that way. For others, the decision isn’t as easy. The transition from double income to single will not only affect your finances, but your lifestyle.
The decision to be a SAHM boils down to wanting to have at least one parent fully focused on the family; personally guiding and nurturing your children as they grow; and being on hand to witness your child’s development. It’s also more difficult to entrust your children to others, especially since getting good help is a hit-and-miss thing these days. But before taking the plunge, you may want to do a reality check. Is it a practical option for your family at this point?
It’s all a matter of income vs. expenses. To see the feasibility of SAHM-hood, calculate your current total household income; your living expenses; debt payments; and your personal work-related expenses. Then compare that to the income and expenses when you are not working. To make it easier, fill up the table below (leave blank those that don‘t apply; estimate the rest if you don‘t have exact figures):

Amount
A. Current Income
Your total monthly income after taxes (or take home pay)
Your partner’s total monthly income after taxes
Other sources of income (from dividends, rentals, etc)
Total  Current Monthly Income
Total Current Annual Income (multiply previous total by 12)
B. Monthly Living Expenses
Rent or mortgage (with association dues and other fees)
Car loan payments
Other loan payments, including credit cards, personal loans, etc
Utilities (electricity, water, gas, telephone, etc)
Groceries  & food
Other household expenses (Internet, cable TV, maids’ salary, cell phones, etc)
Child-related expenses (consumables like milk & diapers, vaccines, etc)
Insurance premiums (life, medical, education plans, etc)
Leisure & entertainment (movies, dining out, sports activities, etc)
Husband’s transportation & meals (work-related)
Savings
Emergency fund (money set aside for medical emergencies, car or home repairs, etc)
Other monthly expenses
Total Monthly Living Expenses
Total Annual Living Expenses
C. Your Monthly Work-Related Expenses
Transportation (commuting costs, gas, parking, toll, etc)
Meals (lunch, coffee, snacks, drinks, etc)
Clothing, beauty & personal upkeep (e.g. highlights, manicures, makeup, etc)
Childcare while you are at work (yaya’s salary, daycare center, etc)
Your Total Monthly Work Expenses
Your Total Annual Work Expenses
D. Annual Expenses
Vacations
Gifts
Health & medical checkups not covered by insurance
Clothing, beauty & personal upkeep (non-work related, including husband’s & kids’)
Child-related expenses (tuition, etc)
Memberships, subscriptions, etc
Other annual expenses
Total Annual Expenses
E. SAHM  Monthly Income
Your partner’s total monthly income after taxes
Other sources of income (from dividends, rentals, etc)
Your income as a SAHM (from business, sidelines, projects, etc)
Total SAHM Monthly Income
Total  SAHM Annual Income
Get the total of all current annual expenses (B+C+D) and subtract it from the total current annual income (A). This is your current cash position.
Now total annual expenses without your work related expenses (B+D) and subtract it from the total SAHM annual income (E). You’ll then see if you can afford to be a SAHM with extra cash to spare; will just break even; or will lack funds to cover your expenses.
Of course, there are ways of cutting down expenses to make a single income fit, as all SAHMs can attest to. Go over your monthly expenses and see which items can be reduced. Buying non-branded clothes and house brand groceries, for example, reduces cost drastically. Limiting the number of meals out and cups of gourmet coffee will also make a difference. Think before buying anything: is it a want or a need ?
In the end, it isn’t always about money. Or staying home full time, for that matter. It’s about priorities and goals that you and your husband have for your family, and finding creative ways to achieve them.
*A version of this article was previously published in Smart Parenting Magazine. If you want an Excel version of this table, leave a comment below and I'll send you a copy.
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Comments

  1. hi, nice article here. could you share the excel file please? 🙂 not thinking yet of being a SAHM but this would definitely be of great help in analyzing our expenses. i salute SAHMs like you! being a mom is not easy, but seeing our little one grow up to be good kids makes everything worth it. kudos to all moms like us! :))

  2. Hey thanks for dropping by, Jen. Will email you the file 🙂 Hope it does help you!

  3. this is very interesting! i really want to be a full time mom.. but i don’t know how to assess if hubby’s income would suffice our expenses, and now here’s the answer!! thanks to you!I would appreciate if you’ll also send me the excel file. thanks!

  4. Please send me the excel file too! 🙂

    Thanks Ree!

  5. what a great article!

    for the Muffin Man and me, it happened sooner than planned, right after the honeymoon to be exact! it was a 9-month long decision that ended with the same answer… we were (thankfully!) always on the same page that we both wanted at least one parent to focus on raising our child. of course no contest that would be me — altho he’s doing such a good job on my “off” days we could actually switch places! except i can’t drive…so…yeah…

    sayang we didn’t have a chart like this to fill out and it was more of an enormous leap of faith… more like, jumping into a ravine with your eyes closed and hoping for the best… both of us coming from “independence” (kind of) and enjoying spending our own income on whatever we want…and then BOOM, learning the ropes of married life, budgeting and living on a single income all in one year.

    after a lot of sacrifice, hard work and prayers… all i can say is, thank God for faith because no matter how much we calculate and re-calculate, it never quite computes … (or maybe we’re just bad at math…) time and again God provides over and beyond our needs… not wants… but needs, and so far it’s been the best decision we’ve made! 🙂

  6. Great article..very useful!! Share your file with me please though being SAHM is miles away from my mind but that could give me an idea if I can one day. Thanks:)

  7. avatar Ana Ocampo says:

    Hi sis, can i have a copy of the exel file too? Thanks

  8. Hey Mimi, Lyra, Alynn and Ana. Sent the file to you guys already. Let me know if you don’t get it. Hope it helps you! And even if you aren’t thinking of going into SAHM-hood, it can still help give a snapshot of your current financial position. 🙂

  9. Diane, so true–no matter how we calculate and re-calculate, God’s grace and blessings never computes. We know first hand!

  10. avatar Erlaine says:

    hi ree! i like your article too 🙂 can you send me a copy of the excel file? i’m somewhat of a wahm but working in my hubby’s family biz. But next yr kelsea will be going to school already and i need to stay in the house. so i need to adjust our monthly expenses and make my part-time jobs and sidelines work for our household. thanks in advance.

  11. Hey Erlaine, I’m more of a WAHM myself, but it’s sporadic 🙂 Anyway, sent you the file 🙂

  12. hi ree! i want to be a SAHM, not now, but in the future. could you please send me the excel file too? thanks in advance! 🙂

  13. Thanks for dropping by Pamela. Sent the file!

  14. hi, rheea

    this is really interesting. please send me the excel file too
    thanks!

  15. Thanks Irene. Sent file already. Let me know in case you don’t get it. 🙂

  16. Please send me a copy of excel file. Thanks!

  17. That’s great idea. I think I also need to do the proper budgeting. Can you also send me a copy of excel file? Thanks!

  18. Hi Neth! Sent you a copy already. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  19. Would you mind sending me the file too? The husband and I have had the idea of me being a SAHM on both of our minds lately and it would be great to have something concrete to compare the pros and cons.

    Thanks!

  20. Hey Katie. Sent you the file already. Hope it helps!

  21. Hi Ree! 🙂 It has been my dream to be a SAHM/WAHM but of course, it’s a big leap to do so everything must be prepared and analyzed first. Im so thankful I came across your post. Please send me an excel file as well 🙂
    Thanks so much 🙂

  22. Hey Chrissy! Thanks for dropping by. Sent you the file. Let me know if you get it 🙂

  23. This article couldn’t have shown up at a better time – I’ve decided to be a SAHM and feel justified in standing by the decision. Would appreciate having an excel file sent to me too. Thanks!

  24. Hi Van. Sent you the file already. Let me know if you get it 🙂

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