Should I Become a Stay at Home Mom

October 10, 2022

The decision to become a stay at home mom (SAHM) is a difficult one for the working woman with a baby on the way. There are so many factors to think about when making the decision. You need to decide if having a job is really worth your time for how much it costs you financially, mentally and emotionally.

How Much do You Make Working?

Take a look at your paycheck and write down your net pay for the month. You are going to need this later to calculate your income after your expenses from working.

Another big part of your income from working is any benefits you may get. Do you work somewhere that has an employee discount and you use it often on things you truly need? Note having this discount could cost you a lot of money if you no longer work for the company. Are you the one providing insurance for your family as a benefit from your job? Insurance can be quite costly if you have to get it on your own. Insurance is a necessary evil when you have a child. You will likely pay much less for your insurance than it will cost you when your child gets sick or injured.

How Much Does it Cost You to Work?

You need to compile all of the costs associated with having your job. This will help you determine how much financial benefit your job actually provides you. Only include the costs that you would be able to get rid off if you became a stay at home mom. For example, you may use your car to get to work and owning that car means paying for insurance, maintenance, gas, etc. However, you will most likely still be using your car even if you didn’t have to go to work every day.

  • Gas- Figure out the gas mileage your vehicle gets. Measure the distance you travel to get to work and back every month. Don’t forget to include in that the miles you will also drive dropping off and picking up your child from daycare or dropping off and picking up your dry cleaning. How much do you usually pay for gas?
  • Parking Fees- Do you have to pay a monthly fee to park at work? Do you use parking meters, valet or anything else like that? These are things you wouldn’t have to pay if you weren’t working.
  • Child Care- How much is it going to cost you to put your child in day care or pay a babysitter? “According to the report, in 2011, the average annual cost of full-time child care for an infant in a center ranged from about $4,600 in Mississippi to nearly $15,000 in Massachusetts”
  • Clothing/Uniforms- Do you have to have a certain uniform for work that you only wear at work?
  • Dry Cleaning/Laundry – Do you have to get your work clothes dry cleaned?
  • Food – Do you spend more money on food at work then you would at home?

How Much Net Income Does Working Provide?

To determine how much net income you get from working; simply subtract all of the costs associated with working from your net income from your job.

Example Calculations

Let’s first use the example of a single mom who works full time at a minimum wage job.

Net Monthly Income = $1,200

Gas Costs = 30 miles X 20 days = 600 miles per month

= 600 miles / 25 mpg = 24 gallons

= 24 gallons X $3 per gallon = $72 per month

**Information used: Round trip drive – 30 miles, gas cost per gallon – $3, working days per month – 20, average gas mileage – 25 mpg

Day Care = 40 hrs X 4.33 weeks = 173.2 hrs working per month

= 0.66 hrs X 20 days = 13.2 hrs spent traveling per month

=13.2 hrs + 173.2 hrs = 186.4 hrs paid

=186.4 hrs X $3 = $559.20 per month

** Information used: she pays a friend $3/ hr to watch her child. On top of the 40 hours per week she works, it takes her 40 minutes to get to and from work from where she drops her child off at. She still has to pay for that time she is gone.

Net Income From Working = $1,200 – $72 – $559.20 = $568.80
Net Income per hour from Working = $568.80 / 173.2 hrs per month = $3.28

When you think about it this way, is it worth it to go to work every day?

Can You Live Without it or Replace it?

Once you have figured out how much you would actually benefit financially from having a job, you need to figure out if you can live without it or replace it.

The factors that play a role in this part of the decision are:

  • Do you have any other form of income?
  • Are you married?
  • How much does your spouse make?
  • Can you live off of your spouses income alone?
  • Can you make, from home, as much as your net financial benefit is from working?
  • Are there any costs you can cut to make do with one income?
  • How much money is it worth to you, to get to see your child grow up?

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