October, I wrote about how to cope financially with a stay at home mom divorce. This is, in a way, a continuation of that. My divorce is finally complete; paperwork in hand. Now, instead of being a stay at home mom, I am a single stay at home mom. What a difference one word, single, can make. In this blog post, I want to share with you how I am managing to be a single stay at home mom and the things I have had to sacrifice to make this work.
Killing Myself Trying to do Everything
A few months after I moved out on my own after finding out about my pending divorce, I got a full-time job. I worked as an EMT for 24 hours at a time, every third day. This wouldn’t have been possible if my ex wasn’t available to have our child when I worked. I lived too far away from family at the time and was new in town and knew no one.
I was making great money as a single mom but it was killing me. I worked all day and night and then had to keep myself awake enough to spend time with my little one. This lasted for about 5 months before I had it. My daughter was cranky all the time because I didn’t have the time or energy to focus on her. I pretty much worked, slept, cooked, cleaned, and ran errands when I could. And a social life? Forget it!
Swallowing my Pride to do What is Best for my Child
I finally decided enough was enough. My whole family lived 9 hours away from me and I was stressed out beyond belief. I knew I couldn’t keep up that kind of lifestyle for long. My mom, my dad, and my uncle drove up to help me load up a Budget truck and haul all my crap home to Florida. I had moved away from home 7 years ago, and was now moving back into my childhood bedroom as a 25-year-old single mom. This was a huge pill to swallow but was the best I could do for my daughter and I.
How I Pay my Bills as a Single Stay at Home Mom
Before I had become a stay at home mom during my marriage, I spent my money wisely. I didn’t really have any money saved up but I didn’t have debt either. This made me have a lot less debt than most people like me. What I’m getting at here is; the first step to paying your bills as a single stay at home mom is to cut them down.
This is my budget as a single stay at home mom (living with my parents):
- Phone – $70
- Car Insurance – $115
- Health Insurance – $70
- Student Loan – $50
- Cable – $70
- Groceries – $50 (I help out occasionally)
- Vehicle Gas – $200
- Spending Money – $150
- Necessities – $50
- Total – $825
This may seem like I live on nothing but this isn’t much different from the budget I had when I wasn’t living with my parents. I’m “only” cutting out rent, utilities, and some food costs.
My Income as a Single Stay at Home Mom
I have multiple sources of income and none are that much but when I add them all together, I make more than enough for my bills. In fact, living with my parents is just a way for my to save up money for a down payment on a house.
Child Support: This is self-explanatory. Man and woman make baby. Man and woman divorce. Woman gets custody. Man pays woman for 18+ years.
Blogging: I started blogging back in the summer of 2012. I love writing so it seemed natural for me to do.
Army Reserve: I guess, technically, for one weekend out of every month I am not considered a stay at home mom. I still serve my country on a part-time basis and if they really need me.
Going to College: Because I served in the Active Duty Army for a few years, I earned myself a GI Bill. The way it works is that Veteran Affairs pays me a monthly allotment as long as I am in school. They will also pay for the tuition cost I incur and up to $1000 per year for my textbooks.
Pell Grant: This is part of the going to college section. Because I have been a stay at home mom, I qualify for the full Pell Grant ($5600-ish per year). Since my tuition is paid for by my GI Bill, all of this money is mine to keep. (Yes, it’s legal to do this).
How I Make it as a Single Stay at Home Mom Without Being on Welfare
- The biggest factor in me being able to be a single stay at home mom was my family. Without their emotional and physical support, I couldn’t do it. I had a baby sitter when I needed it for school or just to relax. This kept me from going crazy! : )
- I had barely any debt to speak of and plan to keep it that way.
- I found something I was good at that I could do from the comfort of my home. I tried a ton of different things when I was still married because I hated not contributing financially.
- I proudly served in the Army, which now pays me to go to school.
As of May 2015, I am a homeowner again. However, I did not stay an single stay at home mom. I am dating an amazing guy and have a full time job. I pay all my own bills, save for retirement, etc and he pays me a small portion of the household bills. Eventually, I plan to be a full time SAHM again. But for now, I am working on building my income from home until it is enough to replace my salary. If you want to hear a real life story and about a woman who mastered this and makes plenty of money as a single stay at home mom of 2, you have to check out Sarah’s blog.
Everyone has a different situation, and I know not everyone will have the advantages that I have. But, others may have some that I don’t. Share your story by emailing me at Meg@mommalovesmoney.com!