My guess is if you're reading this, you're currently a classroom educator. If you're "thinking", "toying", "dreaming" about the idea of stepping out of your classroom for a few years or eternity and becoming a stay at home mom (or work from home mom), this is the post for you.
Spring, 2o12, I stepped out of my third grade classroom. There are things I still miss today. It was a difficult adjustment from the fast paced, high stressed school environment, but the pull for me to come home with my Roo was way stronger than anything.
So, we cut our income in 3/4's and I came home. I wish I had known a few things that I've had to learn the last 4 years and so I'm sharing them with you.
Before you call it quits:
1. Look at ALL your bills by doing a budget 3 months prior to your resignation dates (before you turn it in btw).
Unless you're sitting pretty on just your hubby's salary, but either way, you're lifestyle is about to take a change drastically because my guess is you're not saving your entire income.
You have to know your expenses inside and out. If you've never been a budget maker, it's time to start a budget and stick stinkin' to it! We use everydollar.com. It's free and easy! It has an app and I can keep track of our every cent without any problem.
2. Determine what you can live without. (PS, this list gets longer and longer for us the longer we get used to what we don't really need.)
3. Call all companies you are paying bills toward and ask for a better deal. (Yes, this works).
This might include phone companies, cable, internet, Car insurance, etc.
4. Consider your car expenses. Think about going down to one vehicle or at least trading your vehicle out for one without car payments.
5. Do not expect to go out every day and spend money shopping, eating out, taking your kids here and there to do this and that which costs $$. It adds up! "Stay at home mom" means staying at home for a lot of us who don't have all the money in the world. Don't pout! Staying at home more helps you slow down, find peace and helps you learn to be content- one of life's greatest treasures!
6. Determine that your children do not really need all the extra curricular things that cost a ton. (sports, classes, etc).
7. Set your mind to your new goal: Save as much money as you can. Cut out as much as you can. That's part of your new job if you decide to be a SAHM.
Watch the Marriage!
Making the decision to stay at home for any length of time is a biggie and mostly, you and your husband should be on the same page with the decision completely. You must also sort out all your financial goals and be on the same page there as well.
Disagreements in finances are a huge cause of divorce and when you're attempting to stay at home and change your family's lifestyle, you will need the strong front you can both create if you are together on all the issues.
IF you are both on the same page, that goes a long way to help support and encourage each other.
Be aware, that it's a good idea at the end of each school year to revisit the decision with your husband. Make sure you are both still on the same page with you staying home. Men carry a tremendous financial burden when they are the only breadwinners. It can be very stressful for him. Checking in with him yearly will help him feel you support him and if he's still wanting you to stay home, will at least lighten his load a bit knowing you've got his back.
What if he wants me to go back to work? What if I want to go back to work?
This is something my husband and I have talked about each year- even this year! There are some options if you and your husband still feel that you need to be at home.
1. Be creative and find a part time way to make some money from home, even if it's a little.
(Starting a businesses takes around 5 years to see real profit. If you start a MLM job, be considerate of your friends. Don't post constantly to FB. Start a FB business page instead.)
2. Be an active seller.
I cannot begin to tell you how many things I have sold out of our home in the last four years. No, we aren't bare walls by any means, but it's nice to get rid of things we don't really need or use anymore and put that money in our pockets.
3. What can your husband do?
My husband is actually a high school special ed history resource teacher and so he's off in the summer; this is a nice time for him to pick up extra money. We have a hobby business of soccer lessons and camp he runs during this time. He does odd handy man jobs for people and has even picked up a job at Walgreens before. This summer he is building furniture and loving doing that. Make sure you praise your hubby for anything he is willing to do, extra or just everyday work.
There may be a time when you and your husband determine that you can no longer do the at home thing financially. It is truly difficult to manage! But in the mean time as you are looking at whether or not it is right for your family, the best thing is to put these things into practice just like you were at home already.
Want to know more? You can read more about how we save money in my next post!