5 Ways Being a Stay-at-Home Mom or Dad Can Save You Money

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Many parents do not have a choice to stay at home and raise their children. Others may be financially able to not work outside the home, but choose to continue working for a variety of valid reasons. However, there is a population of parents who want to stay home with their children, but have assumed that they can’t afford to do so. Cutting out one income is frightening and can seem like an insurmountable object to overcome. What some people do not understand is that staying at home can actually save you money.

There are many reasons why choosing to stay at home can benefit both you and your children, but the financial hit may stop someone from even considering it as an option. The truth is, staying at home with your kids does not have to be the total financial hardship you may think it will be. Below are five ways to save money as a stay-at-home mom or dad.

1. Elimination of daycare expenses. The obvious money saver when one parent chooses to stay at home is eliminating the expensive cost of daycare. According to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, the average cost of center-based daycare in the United States is nearly $12,000 per year (about $972 a month), but daycare prices can go as high as more than $18,000 per year. And that number will double if there are two kids. With one parent at home, this monthly bill (for unlimited kids) is now gone.

2. Lowered transportation costs. When a daily commute is no longer necessary, there could be an option of moving to a one-car household to eliminate one car payment as well as the insurance, gas, and repair bills for that car. Sharing a car is not easy, but it can be done to save a lot of money. Even if giving up one car is too much, just cutting out a significant commute can save hundreds each month in gas expense alone.

3. No more dry cleaning or house cleaning expenses. Paying for someone else to clean your clothes and your house is convenient, but when a parent is at home, it becomes unnecessary. These expenses can save hundreds each month. Though it is nice to have someone else do the cleaning, for a parent really wants to stay at home, taking on the cleaning chores may be worth it.

4. Lowered food costs. Eating lunch out and picking up dinner on the way home after a long day at the office can really add up. Even $50 savings per week means over $5,000 in savings every year. Eating at home can also be healthier!

5. More opportunities to earn money in unconventional ways. Giving up one income can seem like too much, but also consider that there are ways to earn money that you can’t take advantage of if you’re working. Consulting work, contract work, and jobs that are based more on your passions, as opposed to your education — like writing, hair styling, pet care, and design work — can all earn you money and fulfill your heart’s desire too.

For parents who think they might be interested in staying at home to raise children, even for a period of time, weighing all the financial options is imperative. Using a service like Manilla.com can be useful in seeing the actual costs incurred each month when it comes to bills being paid out. But, when it comes to deciding to work or stay at home with the kids, there’s no right path — financially speaking or otherwise. Do whatever keeps you happy and makes sense for you.

Maria Smith is an on the go “stay at home” mother of four kids under the age of seven. In her pre-baby life, she was a TV producer at The Oprah Winfrey Show. She loves writing, traveling, and finding fun things and places for moms to do, have and go. Maria has been featured as an expert on ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, HLN, and in Ladies Home Journal, Women’s Day, and The Nest. Maria blogs at MamaliciousMaria.com and is a freelance writer for several parenting, health and wellness, and travel websites.

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