I Couldn’t Afford to Stay at Home With My Baby — Here’s How I Did it Anyway

Recently I found myself struggling to afford to stay at home with my baby. My maternity leave was ending, and after going over all our income and expenses, I was devastated! It seemed like there was no way around it—I could NOT afford to stay at home with my child.

Luckily, I decided not to give up. With some creative thinking, hard work, and some sacrifice, I figured out how to afford to be a stay at home mom.

The following points include the most important things I did to allow me to stay home with my baby. While I’m not perfect at doing all of the following things, I’m working on all of them, and they’re allowing me to raise my son all day long!

I didn't think I could afford to stay at home with my baby. But, I used these tips to find some extra money in our budget and I was able to become a stay at home mom. Click through to the article to read how I did it! #stayathomemom #workathomemom #makemoneyfromhome #liveonabudget #centsavvytips

How to Afford to Stay at Home With Your Baby

1. I Adjusted My Expectations

To afford to stay at home, I had to undergo a serious change of paradigm, so I could be ready to make adjustments to my life.

The truth is, going from two incomes to one requires sacrifice, there’s just no way around it. I had to change my expectations and be prepared to do things that took me out of my comfort zone.

For example:

  • I had to be prepared to work longer hours (cuz my son did NOT sleep through the night for FOREVER) and spend less money.
  • I had to accept that I wouldn’t be able to buy myself nice things as often – I’d have to take time and save up for stuff.
  • I had to let go of my desire to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, and I had to stop worrying about what people thought of me as much (and I don’t mean that I have a lot of judgy people in my life, I just often worry about what other people will think – whether or not they’re actually even thinking about me haha!)
  • I also had to become okay with tracking and thinking about my money more, instead of just spending when I felt like it.

Even though those adjustments might sound difficult, they weren’t impossible. I DID find a way to change my expectations, accept those sacrifices, and enjoy my new life.

2. I Found Part Time Work From Home

I’d love to say that we found a way to live purely on one income, but that didn’t happen for us.

After going over our finances, I knew that there was no way to make being a stay at home mum work unless I could earn money on the side.

After some internet research, I landed on a couple of different stay at home jobs to help me make ends meet.

Part Time Child Care

Doing child care is one of the more common jobs for stay at home moms. But, can I be honest for a minute? I really didn’t see myself doing it.

However, when it came down to it, I really wanted to stay home with my baby.  So when a friend approached me to watch her children part-time, I decided to go for it (and I actually really like it now, by the way).

This childcare job is super part-time, just twice a week for 5 hours each time, but it brings in enough money to help ends meet for now.

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Part Time Freelance Writing

Afford to Stay at HomeAnother way I found to do part time work from home was freelance writing. I took a course, made a writer’s website, and started scouring the internet for job opportunities.

Soon I had a couple of clients, and I started writing 2 or 3 articles a month–not a ton, but enough to make a difference to me financially.

I’m able to watch my son all day and fit in writing while he naps or after he’s in bed for the night.

3. I Made a Budget and Tracked Spending

Afford to Stay at HomeSomething else I did to help our money situation was to make a budget — this was one of the most essential parts of affording to stay at home.

Making a budget helped me in a couple of ways. First, it let me know exactly how much money I would need to bring in each month. Ideally, I wanted to bring in more than the bare minimum, but it was good to know that on a lean month, we’d survive if I just brought in x amount of money.

Next, the budget forced me to sit down and make goals for spending (I had previously just been spending whatever I wanted to). I also talked about those goals with my husband, and we got on the same page.

Having spending goals has helped me realize how wasteful I was with our money before, even in buying necessary things like food.

Now, when I shop I am forced to think about whether I really NEED what I’m about to buy, and it’s funny how a lot of my previous ‘needs’ seem more like wants.

4. I Stopped Replacing Broken Things

Another thing I did to save money was stop replacing broken things. Now, obviously there have been some important broken things that I’ve had to replace, but many times I’ve just fixed stuff or used it broken.

For example, clothing is one of the main things that I fix. I’ve started to mend holes in my clothing and in my family’s clothing instead of getting rid of those clothes.

Of course, I’d waaaaay rather buy something new and pretty, but unless that’s in the budget, I don’t do it. (Maybe letting go of your pride so you can wear old, ratty clothes should be another point in this post haha).

We also currently use a broken toaster. The handle snapped off months ago, and we figured out that we could just stick a plastic popsicle stick in there, push down on the lever, and it’d still work. So we didn’t replace it. I know. Classy.

Before I throw something away now, I take a closer look and see if I can keep making it work. I feel like a major cheapskate but it helps make ends meet!

5. I Cooked From Scratch and Grocery Shopped Online

To afford staying at home with my little, I also had to change some of my food habits. I had to start cooking from scratch more often (and ordering in less frequently). I bought lots of fresh produce, dried beans, and rice.

Afford to Stay at Home

I also started doing my grocery shopping online and just picking it up. Shopping online allowed me to stick to my list and not be tempted to buy extras.

I haven’t done the math exactly, but I’d say we save at least $200 a month when I pay attention to my grocery budget.

6. I Made Peace with Having Less Financial Security

One big thing that I (and my husband) had to do when I decided to stay at home, was come to terms with having less financial security.

Since I’ve started staying home we haven’t been able to save as much or pay down our debt as fast. That has kind of bummed me out, but it’s totally worth it to get to spend my days with my son.  

And less financial security doesn’t mean we have NO financial security. We’re still working hard to save and pay down debt, we’ve just had to accept that we will do those things more slowly.

You Can Find a Way to Stay at Home Too

Okay, the title of this section is a very broad statement. There are indeed some situations where there is simply no way for someone to afford to stay at home with children. And there is NO shame in that.

But I’m guessing if you’re reading this there’s a chance you’re looking for a way to stay home with your child.

So I want you to know that much of the time it IS possible to afford to stay at home with your kid(s), if you are willing to think outside the box and sacrifice.

So make a plan, build a budget, and see if you can find a way to make money from home. With some creative thinking and hard work, you just might be able to live the dream of staying at home with your child.

Think you can't afford to be a stay at home mom? You could be wrong. When I got finished maternity leave, I looked at our budget and thought there was no way I could stay at home with my baby, but I changed a few things, made some sacrifices, and I was able to do it! Click through to the post to see how I stay at home. #stayathomemom #workathome #centsavvytips
If you want to be a stay at home mom but you think you can't afford it, this post is for you. Read these awesome tips and learn how you can stay at home with your kids, even if you are living on a tight budget. #stayathomemom #oneincome #centsavvytips

8 Comments on “I Couldn’t Afford to Stay at Home With My Baby — Here’s How I Did it Anyway”

  1. I really Loved this. I sacrifice a lot when it comes to staying home but it is so worth it. My kids may not have a lot and we have to be pretty strict with our budget but nothing comes to close to me being with our kids at home. There is just no price tag on it. You hear so many scary stories coming from daycares that it just isn’t worth it. Thank you for this article. You make fantastic points!

    1. So glad you like the article, Meagan! I totally agree that it’s worth all the sacrifices to be home with your littles 🙂

  2. Just came across your post. My maternity leave ends next week and it’s killing me that I’m basically going to be working to pay for daycare. I completely agree with what you’ve said. Now if I can only get my boyfriend to understand this 🤔

    1. I’m so sorry! Ya, it’s so tough to think about being away from your baby to basically just cover the costs of childcare. I hope you can find a solution! But don’t beat yourself up no matter what happens. No shame in working out of the home. You’re just doing the best you can for your baby 🙂

  3. Love love love this article! I remember 17 years ago when I had my baby in Jamaica we were allowed far less maternity leave (3 months). I could not believe I was to leave this precious bundle and go back to work. Unfortunately there was no other option. Sad I know but true……Good on you. I am glad that these days people have options. Good luck!

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, 3 months is so little time for maternity leave and I’m so sorry you didn’t get longer 🙁 It’s definitely still a struggle to afford staying at home, but I’m very blessed to be able to make it work so far!

  4. I love your story.it reminds me of myself.i stayed home for 3years starting with before our 2nd child went to school then when my grandma and dad were not well and needed help.its mot easy and lots of things you have to give up and for us that was also the 2nd car and like you said buying things we dont need and yes fixing things you have love the toaster fix that is something i would say.do t need new one we can fix this one lol.also you may want to save that money that you would have used for something special.as you go along you’ll get better at it trust me im very creative with lots of things.most people have no idea how little we make, and fir those who do say no way!! No way you make that much and you dont live in a sack lol.dont get me wrong there is alot we dont do or my kids cant do because of it but to be honest they dont see it because we do alot of family things that coast very little or no money and my kids have become very family oriented because of it.Im going back to work this year as. Family has passed and kids are in school and im doing this for me.i need to get back out in the world everyone’s different im the person who needs to be with people, but what i will tell you how i know it was worth it.my kids dont want me to go tbey would rather have less and me be home everyday after school see them off the bus and and bake lol thats their fav day when i bake.so know yes you have less.but really you have a whole lot more.and again like you said not everyone can do it but ill tell you we couldn’t either but had to make it work and sometimes things were not good but we got back on track.good luck to you and your family.
    P.s love the toaster story thats what made me write this post lol.

    1. Thank you! Yes, it’s definitely hard to make your budget work on a small income, but worth it! Sounds like you work really hard to be creative and make things work for your family. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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