How to Afford (and Survive) Being a Stay at Home Mom

Being a stay at home mom can be a scary leap, especially if you’re an outgoing, driven type of person. Maybe you were like me and had big dreams and a passion for working but felt the call to become a stay at home mom. No matter what, transitioning into a stay at home mom status can be a nerve-wracking thing. Living on one income can be scary for most families, yet I don’t believe it should deter you from being home with your kids if that’s what you feel pulled to do. That’s why I created a mini financial survival guide just for you!

*This post contains affiliate links through which I may make a commission. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Set clear intentions

It’s so common these days to read blog posts, and books or see motivational quotes designed to help the working mom or the workout mom achieve her #goals.

For some stay at home moms, those personal goals get put on hold in order to focus on creating a home and raising a family.

I’m not downplaying the huge responsibilities of working parents, because they bust their butts and deserve credit for that. They also have a boss (most likely), schedule, and coworkers to hold them accountable for getting stuff done.

I’m going to be honest, some days, when there were nothing and no one to hold me accountable, I just turned into a hot mess with no direction.

Those were the days I was more likely to snap, let the house chores implode, and wind up falling into a depression.

That’s why I encourage any new stay at home mom to set some intentions for each day. It helps keep focus and gives you a little purpose for each 24 hour period.

If you are a mama who thrives on organization, you might want to get a perfect planner to help you keep all the house stuff in one place!

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Keeping a schedule is one of the best ways to stay sane as a SAHM.

Time blocking

Running a blog from home while also being a SAHM mom/homeschool mom was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done. Trying to find the balance between work, school and momming was difficult.

The best tip I could give any mom who is feeling overwhelmed by the amount of things she has to do in a day is, time blocking.

What is time blocking?

Time blocking is sort of like life on a schedule, but with a little more flexibility.

For example, you could say your 6am – 9am time is for coffee and getting everyone dressed for the day.

  • 6 am – 9 am is mommy’s coffee and reading time
  • 9 am – 12 pm is running errands
  • 12 pm – 3pm is nap time/important phone calls
  • 3 pm- 6 pm the dinner rush
  • 6 pm – 9 pm is bedtime procedures.

Having a schedule like this can be super helpful if you are trying to multi-task so much that you feel like nothing ever actually gets done.

It allows you to carve out time for each important thing without having to have a set-in-stone schedule.

Automating your life

The next best thing you can do to dial down the chaos of SAHM life both mentally and financially is to automate as much as you can!

What do I mean by this?

If there is a way to make your must-do daily tasks easier (or avoid doing them at all), do it! 6 ways to stop running errands every day.

What you can automate:

  • Groceries – Thank goodness places like Walmart and Costco have hopped on board with grocery pick up and/or delivery! Take advantage of this! Not only can it save you a ton of time, but also a ton of money! If you don’t have to pace the aisles with your kids, chances are you will be spending a lot less on food! Also, check out Shipt and Instacart.
  • Meal Planning – Some mamas love cooking, others not so much. Plus, when you have 800 other things to worry about, how are you supposed to learn how to cook healthy meals and stick to a budget? Answer: $5 Meal Plan. Get affordable meal plans that are designed to feed families healthy on a budget!
  • Bills – Nowadays you can get all of your bills automatically paid if you sign up to do so. This way you aren’t stressing about making sure everything has been paid each month. Although, I still recommend an easy to use budget to track all other expenses.

Be realistic about yourself

News flash: you are not Superwoman. No one is. Do not set goals for yourself that are unattainable.

There is nothing wrong with aiming to be better but don’t set too much too fast because chances are you will come out feeling like a failure.

If you can’t bake cookies for the PTA, make homemade all organic baby food, completely breastfeed for a year, do your makeup every day, give your husband a back rub, keep the house spotless and maintain 10 friendships then don’t even try!

Focus on keeping the house semi-presentable, the kids alive and put on jeans once a week and feel successful, then just stick with that.

Great books for mamas:

Plan your financial future

Some things many SAHM’s don’t think about is planning for their retirement. I hate to break it to you, but more often than not, men die before women and if the finances have been poorly planned, it’s you that will see the consequences.

Here is a great article from Dave Ramsey’s team about the Spousal IRA.

What is the Spousal IRA?

This allows a work at home parent to set up an IRA in their name.

Putting 15% of your total pay away toward retirement/investments is the best way to make sure you are both secure financially in the future.

Check out the charts here to see how this type of savings plan can actually be more beneficial to you than just a one person have a 401K and an IRA.

Avoid paycheck to paycheck

On top of planning for retirement, managing your money day to day is so important. If you are not great at sticking to a budget, try my easy to use, Fun Sized Budget Bundle or the Dave Ramsey budgeting app, EveryDollar.

To take it a step further, I recommend Financial Peace University to every couple. It’s such a great way of getting financial struggles broken down into more manageable pieces.

Other reads you’ll love:

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Get out of the House

For the first few years of motherhood getting out of the house meant walking around Target talking to my 4-month-old…like a lunatic.

No wonder Target wound up getting most of my money at the end of every month!

Unfortunately, most of my friends were still living the single, childless life, so I felt pretty isolated.

I joined mommy and me classes but to be honest, they weren’t really my cup of tea. Small talk for me is basically like sucking the life out of me in a very slow and emotionally exhausting way.

Here are some basic ideas on how to get yourself out of the house to prevent total isolation styled craziness:

  • Mommy and me classes
  • Gym time
  • Walks to the park
  • Just walks
  • Plan coffee dates
  • Get your nails done
  • Get a massage
  • Get a part-time job
  • Put your kids in early learning classes a few times a week

Of course, depending on everyone’s different needs and personalities, these things will look different for everyone.

Ultimately, do what you can to get yourself out and about. Get fresh air, adult contact, and a little R&R whenever you are able to.

Create an income from home

The biggest thing that helped me both mentally and financially was when I was able to start earning money from home.

I have always been an independent person and I enjoy the feeling of working. Repetitive things like dishes, cleaning, and sweeping tend to make me a little bit crazy.

When it comes to working, I love fast-paced environments, challenges, and the feeling of earning money. That’s why I decided to start a blog all about our debt payoff and journey into minimalism.

There are so many ways that new stay at home moms can start earning money from home! How to Make Money as a Stay at Home Mom. If you love the idea of contributing to your family’s finances, take the time to look into it, and find a job that feels fitting for you.

Let it go

This is the most important lesson to learn when it comes to at-home parenting. Just let it go. This time is short and it really is precious. Some days you will have to let go of the little things like dirty laundry, messy hair and all organic. If you spend too much time fussing over the details, you might miss out on those really big moments that never come back again.

If you are trying, if you love your kids and if you give each day your all; then you are doing a great job. Don’t ever trick yourself into believing you’re not. Be flexible, find what works for you and your family and try to soak up all the best parts.

Don’t Forget to PIN This!

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Author: Renee

Renee is the blogger behind The Fun Sized Life. After downsizing with her family, she also took the time to get serious about he finances. Now she is sharing the wealth with all of her readers.

6 thoughts on “How to Afford (and Survive) Being a Stay at Home Mom”

  1. This post is so jammed packed with resources! I have left my job last April and we are still learning to be “comfortable” on one income (until my blog takes off). It’s not easy to run a household of 6, and requires a lot of organization. I too have days of depression where I can’t get off the couch to do anything. Thanks for taking the time to compile all this information. It’s good to feel I’m not the only one struggling.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! I did NOT intend on it being so jam packed. But there’s really a lot to say!

  2. I am so impressed by this post! It’s totally packed with helpful info. I always wanted to be a SAHM, but it’s definitely harder than I ever imagined it would be (and more rewarding too!). Having a few hours of “me time” once a week to get out of the house has been a lifesaver! Pinning!

    1. Thanks Maegan. YES! You absolutely have to carve time for yourself! It is not an easy thing!

    1. Yeah, I definitely struggled/struggle with the me time thing but now I see it’s really helpful for everyone…funny how I still can’t just do it for me. Haha.

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