Many people think that in order to own a home, car, and be able to do fun things that both parents have to work. In many cases this is true. However, sometimes, it is actually more affordable for one parent to just stay home. In other cases, parents want to stay home, but aren’t sure if they can afford it. To determine if you can afford to stay home, consider the following:
The first thing you have to do when determining if you can afford to stay home is to add up your bills and monthly expenses so that you know what your family has to bring in each month to meet your obligations, feed your family, and have some fun. This number should include the things like debts, mortgages, etc. but should also include an average amount spent on groceries, entertainment, fuel, etc. Figure out a rough estimate of what it costs you to live each month.
Now, compare that to what you would be bringing in on one income. This can be scary, but don’t panic yet, even if the numbers don’t exactly align, doesn’t mean you can’t afford to stay home.
Your next step is to determine what you can reduce in order to make the two numbers come closer together. If you aren’t working do you need two cars? Could you sell one, or trade it in for a less expensive vehicle? If you aren’t working do you need to budget as much for food, as you can eat meals at home instead of out? If you aren’t working, do you need the cell phone plan with that many minutes, or could you use your home phone more? Decide what you can live without, and what you are willing to sacrifice in order to stay home with your family. For someone people, having the premium cable package is like having oxygen, for others, the extra things like having the highest speed internet, or the newest version of the smart phone are disposable, and they will be just as happy without them, if it means staying home instead of working.
Next, you have to evaluate if there are going to be any extra expenses that you need to consider if you are not working. For example, will you lose insurance? Will you be bored, and thus spend a lot more? Will you lose perks like free gym memberships that you would want to make up somehow or somewhere?
Once you have all of this figured out and written out, do the math. Can you afford to stay home? Do you need to change your lifestyle drastically to make it possible? Anyone can afford to stay home, as long as they are willing to give up certain comforts to do so. So, the key to deciding if you can afford it, is determining what you are willing to give up in exchange.