Can I Afford to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom?


Ideally, a mom can afford to stay home if all household expenses are adequately covered by the sole working partner. Families can use a budget calculator to figure out how much money is needed to maintain current living standards after the loss of income from one partner.

A detailed list of household expenses is required to determine if a mother can afford to quit her job to care for children at home full-time. These expenses include rent or mortgage payment, utility bills, food, clothing, gas and other transportation, insurance, school tuition, and recreational expenses. Irregular expenses also matter, such as a daily latte from the coffee shop. To pinpoint where the money goes monthly, keep receipts for everything purchased for at least one month. Parents currently paying for daycare should include this cost as well.

Tally up all sources of income that come from employment, investments, gifts and the like. Subtract the mother's income. Subtract any expenses that disappear as a result of one partner not working, such as a daily commute. Finally, subtract any expenses that are deemed unnecessary with only one partner working. This exercise should reveal how much money is left to live on without having the mother's source of income.