How to Become a Stay-at-Home Mom on a Blue Collar Salary


You don't have to be married to a doctor to become a stay-at-home mom. If your husband has a blue-collar job, you can quit the rat race, stay at home, and actually have time and energy left over at the end of the day without sacrificing your standard of living. According to the US Census Bureau, the median household income was about $50K in 2007. Learn how to get out of the two-income trap by following this plan to reduce your annual expenses by up to $25K to $30K. After all, what's the point in working yourself to death if you don't have to?

The first and most critical thing you'll need to do is take a hard look at every single thing you spend money on. This is hard for most people to do because they don't actually have a clue about how much they spend each month. They only know how much they make and that there's not much left over at the end of the month. Stop using cash for a month. Use only your debit card for every penny you spend to keep a record of your spending. Now you're ready to map out a plan to become a stay-at-home mom using these concrete numbers. Proceed with the following exercises with the goal of eliminating the need for your salary by reducing costs.

Add up your current transportation costs. Include gas, car payments, insurance, and maintenance. Now examine what your costs will be once you're at home. You could feasibly share a car and cut your transportation costs in half. Even if you keep two cars, one could be an older model you could pay cash for which would cut the insurance bill drastically and eliminate the payment. Let's say your payment is $300, insurance is $100, gas is $60, and maintenance is $50 per month. If you use only one car when you stay home, you just cut $510 off your monthly expenses.

Take a critical look at your utility bills. Ask yourself what you would do differently to save money once you have more time at home. Could you hang your clothes to dry? Would you be able to unplug your appliances when they weren't in use? Would you still need that premium cellular plan if you're home all day? What about washing dishes by hand? With a few minor adjustments across the board, you could cut your utility bills by anywhere from 25% to 50% each month. If you typically spend $300 on gas, $200 on electric, $200 on cellular bills, and $75 on water, then a 25% reduction could save you about $200 to $400 per month. Factor that in with eliminating your child care bills and you've now lowered your bills by anywhere from $1500 to $2000 per month, depending on how many kids you have in daycare.

Calculate how much you typically spend on clothing for work, lunches at work, and fast food you pick up after work because you don't have time to cook. As a stay-at-home mom, I typically spend less than $1 on lunch each day, down from $3 to $6 per day when I worked outside of the home. Also, your grocery bill will be greatly reduced because you won't have to buy as many ready-to-eat meals and processed foods that cost two to four times as much as whole foods. We've reduced our grocery bill from $700 to less than $300 per month for three people. That includes household items and baby products, too. We're now up to $1800 to $2300 per month in savings.

Review your most recent income tax bill. Recalculate what your taxes will be when your income is gone. This will free up a significant amount of money for your family each year. Also, if you currently practice over-withholding (you get a tax refund each year), then stop. You're letting the government get an interest-free loan from your family. Have your husband change his withholding to reflect your new tax bill after you're staying home. You could take home hundreds more dollars each month of your own money this way. With a cheaper tax bill and more of your own money coming home to you each month, you could easily free up $300 to $600 each month, depending on several different factors including your husband's current income. Have we freed up enough cash each month to replace your income yet? If not, proceed to the next step. We're up to $2100 to $2600 in monthly spending cuts which is about $25,000 to $31,000 per year and this is only taking your net (take-home) pay into account. Remember that actually amounts to a larger gross salary.

Initiate one or several ways to make enough extra income to make up the difference between what you currently bring home and the amount you could potentially cut from becoming a stay-at-home mom. Participaing in eHow's writer's compensation program is a great way to bring in a passive income stream. There is no limit to the amount you could make but it's not unusual to expect anywhere from $1 to $5 per month for each article here. If writing isn't your thing, then focus on whatever skills you have and apply them to the corresponding way to make money from home. Once you've cut your spending and identified a way to bring in cash in other ways as needed, you're ready to make the move to being a stay-at-home mommy. Congratulations!

Challenge yourself to actively seek out less expensive ways to get the same things done. Being a stay-at-home mom in a blue-collar family means adopting a new lifestyle. You can celebrate special occasions and take vacations, but there's always a cheaper way to do these things. When you're interested in buying fitness equipment or bedroom furniture, don't spend thousands at retail stores. Start your search on Craigslist first. Learn how to find travel deals for vacations. Being frugal doesn't mean doing without, it simply means taking more time to think of how to get things done for less money. Once you get into it, you may actually discover how much fun it is.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take time to think of the many other ways to cut your expenses or modify your lifestyle to allow you to stay at home.
  • Don't forget to consider other important changes in your daily life such as the need for adult conversation or just something to do outside of domestic things before you quit your job.

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