Tips to Afford to Become a Stay At Home Mum – Part 1

Tips to Afford to Become a Stay at Home Mum
Part 1/4:
You may be contemplating how you could possibly walk away from your career, steady income, and employment entitlements, in order to become a stay at home mum (SAHM). I would like to share some tips with Inner West Mums that have enabled me to afford to stay home. Not necessarily forever, naturally the time will come when my child doesn’t need me in the same capacity as she does now and I will feel ready to re-enter the workforce.
Sad fact: Heading off to work every day is expensive.
Pre-baby, I did a mock-up of our budget to include day-care fees. It was grim. But I conceded it wouldn’t be forever, our earning capacity would increase and hey, if we couldn’t afford day-care, we probably couldn’t afford a child. So I accepted the additional cost and proceeded with the family planning.
I loved maternity leave, I loved having all the time in the world to dote on my baby and fulfil her every need and not having to cram a whole life into two short days on the weekends. I overwhelming felt I couldn’t return to that demanding job and relinquish the daytime childcare to someone else. So I found ways to slash and burn our spending and it was quite the revelation.
The Big Expenses
Housing, obviously.
Look at:

  • Refinancing your mortgage to a lower interest rate;
  • Transitioning to principal interest only in the short term;
  • Consider down-sizing;
  • Moving to a more affordable suburb;
  • Making your house earn its keep by letting out a granny flat or spare bedroom;
  • Frequently search for and switch to cheaper utility and insurance plans;
  • Learn to DIY to save on maintenance.

For renters:

  • Consider renting in a cheaper suburb.

Cars are a big one.

  • Consider doing away with a car and save on loan repayments, petrol, registration, insurance, maintenance, parking fees and the inevitable, occasional parking fines.
  • If you’re not close to transport, downsize the car. Buy a cheapie, outright so you have no repayment on a rapidly depreciating asset.
  • Save all your errands for one day and stay out of peak hour traffic, you’re free from that now.

Trim the luxuries.
We happily sacrificed:

  • Foxtel, landline and the latest Apple products (however husband wasn’t on board with that one) and found a cheaper data plan.
  • Ditched the clothes dryer in favour of a drying rack, and started paying attention to electricity bills and usage, only washing full loads.
  • Restaurants and entertainment. Surprisingly when you’re not working so damn hard, you don’t need to console yourself quite so much with restaurants and entertainment.
  • I axed my gym membership, oh what a shame… Hubby downgraded his to a no-frills gym.
  • I stopped going to the hair salon for a year. This saved me almost $50 per week!
  • Once we went down to one income, sadly no cleaner.
  • Ditch the credit cards if you’ve even been an over-spender. You have to adjust quickly when going down to one income. Spending more than you earn using credit is an absolute disaster waiting to happen.
  • Embrace generic brands, cheaper shopping outlets like Aldi and Kmart and avoid magazines trying to sell you stuff.

Read Part 2 of the series here

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  • St Peters Sister
    23/10/2015 at 9:58 am

    Hmmm … skip the hair salon and save $50 per week? (ie $2600 per year on hair?!?) Cancel the cleaner? Hang clothes on a clothes line? Glad these tips worked for this family, but for many (most?) of us, the “before” lifestyle in this article sounds like another planet. We’re living the “after” budget already. Good for the author for scaling back. But as a mother who needs to work (in order to pay rent, not salon bills), I’m tired of being told that if I’d only be more frugal, I too could stay at home all week with my child. As it happens I enjoy my work — but it’s still disheartening to hear this kind of glibness. Maybe just a little humility or acknowledgement of privilege (ie, the author clearly has a whole other income, by the sounds of it a pretty high one, to support her) would help to dilute the smugness?

  • Helen
    23/10/2015 at 11:45 am

    Sacrifice my hair and save $50 a week? Fire the cleaner? Dry clothes in the sunshine and do without pay TV? I’ve already mastered all these tips; why am I still going to work each week?? Oh drat: to pay the rent. But I’m otherwise sold on this plan. Can anybody loan me a wealthy husband?

  • Zoe
    24/10/2015 at 10:01 am

    You’ve absolutely called me out. We were spending way too much money. When I started working I allowed myself to say yes to these little luxuries and as I earned a little more each year I would say yes to more and more things like getting my hair done every 6 weeks at around $300 a pop. Yes that’s shameful. But the point of the article is to highlight that once I stopped saying yes to all these things I thought I needed: a monthly magazine, foxtel, expensive rent, eating out at restaurants every week; once I got really strict with food budgeting, not buying new, not shopping for fun and allocating a certain amount of spending money per week, I found we could survivor on one income and that would buy me time. Something I had none of before when all I did was work. (Or so it felt).
    I’m sorry if it comes across as glib and privileged. I had to do some heavy editing to cut it down. (The lovely cleaner was employed when I was heavily pregnant due to difficulties with a spinal defect, but that privilege ended once I stopped working). And I know if I ever became a single mum, the finances would need rethinking yet again.
    If you know all this already then you’re more financially wise and mature than I was before I stopped working. I can only hope you’ll find some new tips in the 3 parts to follow.

  • Jada Bennett
    25/10/2015 at 10:27 pm

    Wow to the comments above.
    There’s no need to speak to the writer with such disdain when she was simply writing a piece of advice from her experience. It’s written from her opinion from the place she was at in her life when she became a new SAH mum and some tips from her experience. I too was exactly in this position when my husband and I went from being two well paid singles in our early thirties that enjoyed all the luxuries that our hard work allowed us, to being new parents with a whole new world of responsibility and yes, different priorities. We had worked so hard to be in the position that we were in and to go from 2 wages to just one meant that obviously things had to change. These were the things that helped us change our lives into what they are today.
    Sure – you can say that’s privileged to be able to afford those things in the first place, but it was literally our bloody hard work that allowed us to be in that position, and there’s nothing smug about that!!
    I am in no way saying that everyone doesn’t work hard by the way – I am simply saying that people should be able to write from their experience and not get judged for it!!

  • […] you miss Part 1 and Part 2 of this […]

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