Deciding whether one or both parents should work is never easy. There's no single approach that will work well for all families. Many potential cost savings can be gained by a parent staying at home to care for the children. On the other hand, there is also a loss of income. Analyzing the details for your own situation is your best bet.
Sometimes, couples have more options when one spouse has a significantly higher paying job or more work flexibility than the other. Many people believe that nearly any couple can afford to live on a single income because child care and other expenses linked to work usually use all of the second income. But this isn't always the case.
1Child Care Expenses
The cost per month ($600 to over $1,000) for child care is not an insignificant amount. Preparing for your future child is important because having a child means extra expenses. On the other hand, stay-at-home parents get to take care of their own children and eliminate expenses for child care.
2The Clothing Expenses
Most people need clothes for work that cannot be satisfied with the clothes they typically wear at home. Remember that dry cleaning costs a lot as well. So having your spouse not needing to change for working clothes every day can reduce clothing expenses, and that includes the laundry.
3The Transportation Expenses
When one of you stays at home, you might only need one car instead of two. If you just have one car, then commuting expenses can be cut down. Even if you keep two cars, the cost associated with gasoline, tires, maintenance, and more will be significantly reduced.
4Food Or Meal Expenses
If you stop going out to eat, you can save a bundle. If a spouse stays at home, that can cut down lunch costs. Additionally, the morning stops at those expensive coffee places will be reduced.
5Home-Based Income Opportunity
Maybe one parent can telecommute part-time. There is also the opportunity to start a home-based business that could result in a significant income. This item might require part-time daycare, nursery school, or simply waiting until the child is old enough to start regular school.
6Frugal And Simple Living
If you use this opportunity to overhaul your entire way of life, you might save a bunch more through simple living. Make a list of all your monthly expenses, crash out everything you could do without, and start cutting. A lifestyle that highlights frugality can be a wonderfully simple and meaningful way to live.
7Retirement Money And Savings
Two earners in the family often mean two sets of retirement accounts. You can miss out on a lot of retirement savings and 401(k) contributions by staying at home. Keeping your job can prepare you for retirement.
8Your Career Plans
Is your current career important to each of you? Dropping out of the workforce can stop your career cold. Consider where you would likely be in 10 years if you continued working. You might not even be able to start at the same level you left.
One parent staying at home with the children can be wonderful for the kids. It can also be a financially reasonable solution, depending on the specifics. Consider the long-term impact; decide if it's the right move for your family's situation.
Jackie Wing is an Alaska native, who enjoys snowboarding more than is probably socially acceptable. She lives in Anchorage with her two dogs Reese and Peanut, or as she likes to call them "Thing 1" and "Thing 2."