How I Afford To Be A Stay At Home Mom

How I Afford To Be A Stay At Home Mom In A Two Income Society. |

It’s a common concern. In a day where it is extremely common for both parents to be working full time jobs, the question frequently arises. “How in the world can you afford to be a stay at home mom?”

I never considered working outside the home. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and even after we got married I stayed at home instead of getting a job. We knew we wanted a family right away, so three months after getting married we found ourselves expecting our first child! It was an exciting time, but finances were very, very tight our first few years of marriage. During the most difficult times I offered to go get a part time job, but Sean was insistent I stay home with our children.

The answer of how I afford to be a stay at home mom is pretty basic. It’s because we make that choice, and always have. We make sacrifices so I can be a homeschooling mom. We didn’t enter marriage and base our house and car expenses on a two income family, it was always based on getting income from my husband.

Things we choose to do without:

~ We have never had a brand new house. There is nothing wrong with a brand new house, it’s just never been in our budget.

~ We don’t drive brand new cars. We have made the decision to not drive super old cars either though, after realizing we spend a lot of money in repairs.

~ We don’t have cable.

~ Weย don’t eat out very often. When we do go out as a family it is normally to Chick-Fil-A. Our oldest child has been somewhere like Olive Garden 2-3 times in their life. The food court at Costco is a favorite (wow, that sounds really uptown doesn’t it?) ๐Ÿ™‚

~ We don’t have nice furniture. Seriously. Right now our couch is falling apart (like, one of the cushions has a hole in it and every time you sit back it shoots batting into the air!), our fake leather chair (“pleather” they call it) is literally shedding itself all over our living room floor (a toddler stuck a fork in it and things unraveled from there), and our dining room table is a mix-match of wood and painted chairs that are really sad looking. We hope to get newer furniture when we move, but for now we just are trying to be content.

~ We don’t go shopping all the time. My husband is hard to find clothes for in his size, so we buy all of his clothesย brand new. I like to get my clothes from Deborah & Co., thrift stores, ThredUP and department store clearance and sales racks. The children’s clothes come from local Kid’s Closet Consignment sales and ThredUP.

~ We don’t go to the movies. If we actually want to see a movie that has come out (which is rare to find a decent one), we wait until it is on DVD and get it from RedBox or the library.

~ We don’t have expensive hobbies. We keep our hobbies on a cheaper scale. For example, I’d love for my boys to take bow and arrow classes, but weekly classes and investing in a bow is not cheap.

However that doesn’t mean we don’t spend any money at all. We just carefully think through if it is a good investment for our family.

Enjoying a Princess party with my daughterEnjoying a special Princess party with my daughter.

Things We Do Spend Money On:

Music Lessons – We have our daughter in violin lessons. I feel this is a good skill for her to learn, and she seems to be learning it fairly well. This is an investment in her life, as she could possibly teach lessons when she is older.

Good computers – When we first were married we didn’t even have a computer for a year or two. Now with my husband in graphic design, the only computer he will buy is a Mac. They are not cheap, but they have held up extremely well.

Homeschool books – I know some people don’t spend much money at all on homeschool materials. You can’t spend it if you just don’t have it. There are ways around buying curriculum, but I make it a point to find the money for the curriculum I want. I don’t spend $1000 a year on materials, but I know I spend around $400-$500 a year on curriculum. I love to use Heart of Dakota with my boys, and while I find it used it still isn’t cheap. Then I have new math workbooks, etc. and it all adds up. I look at places like Ebay, and local used book sales.

Food – Ok I know everyone spends money on this! We are not purists, but I try to buy healthy food for my family. We shop at Aldi’s and Costco a lot. I avoid the processed food at Aldi’s (besides cold cereal), and I get fruit, veggies, and dairy products there. I also get my canned food like beans, tomato sauces, and pasta there. I get my lettuce and organic carrots and spinach from Costco, and get greek yogurt and organic hamburger at Costco as well. I’m not an all organic shopper (we just don’t have the budget for it) but I pick and choose what is most important to me.

There are times that no matter how badly you want to be a stay at home mom, it’s just not possible. Your husband might be ill, you might be a single mom, or your husband lost his job and you have to work. Those are valid reasons, and this post is not meant to discourage you.

However there are many other families who say they could never afford to let the wife stay at home, yet they have brand new houses, drive brand new cars, and want the very best of everything. If you want to be a stay at home mom, you have to sacrifice something!

I’ve been blessed to stay home, homeschool my children, and still be able to earn some money to help our family out. Besides Deborah & Co., Lilla Rose has been an amazing blessing to our family! If you are needing to earn some money from home, don’t miss out in this chance to join a very unique company and earn up to 45% each month. The only requirement is to sell or purchase $29 a year. There are no monthly party requirements or inventory that you are required to purchase. I love this company, and love the owners and people that work for them! The free shipping special ends July 31st, so don’t delay!

Join Lilla Rose during the free shipping enrollment special!

I’d love to hear how what sacrifices your family makes so you can be a stay at home mom!ย 








  1. I think this is a personal thing that will vary between families and what works for one family may not work for another. Our son completed an expensive two year course after his secondary schooling, something we couldn’t have afforded if I hadn’t worked. I am able to visit my parents more often and help them, able to provide financial assistances to my now adult children when needed (which has included buying them furniture and a car), sponsor an overseas child etc… And whilst you may be happy with your arrangement – not everyone would want to be in that situation for example, when we were first married we really struggle financially and it was tough – I no longer want to struggle and think about money constantly – and glad we no longer need to.

  2. I think it’s different for everyone. I so wanted to be a stay at home mum but I worked after our marriage, and we scrimped and saved and put everything into our own house (it’s cheaper to build here). A few years on we were in a good financial position to have children and stay at home.

  3. I worked part time or full time for the first few years of our marriage until our daughter was born six months ago. I definitely enjoy staying home but it takes a lot of budgeting and being aware of our spending. Samaritan Ministries has also made all the difference, as our daughter’s birth expenses were totally paid for.

  4. My husband and I worked opposite shifts for my son’s first yearof life and while I was pregnant with our second child. He then got laid off and became a stay-at-home dad for almost two years. He eventually found another job but things became complicated when I got pregnant with our third child. God laid it on our hearts about me being at home with our children and I left my job of nearly 14 years. We cut back majority on eating out and extra thrills. We stick to our budge. We also rely on or faith. God has carried us through almost two years now and all of our needs have been met. I homeschool our oldest two kiddos and love being there for my baby’s milestones. Things might change for us later where our needs are concerned but right now I am right where I am supposed to be.

  5. To be honest, our finances were actually tighter when I had a job. I think this was mostly due to the fact that we ate out more (because I was exhausted at the end of the day), we needed 2 cars, etc. And honestly, I rarely had the time or inclination to keep up with the cleaning around the house. We also figured out how much daycare would cost, and it basically would be my entire salary. For that price, it would be better for me to stay at home so I can raise my own kids.

    Nowadays, we are certainly not rich, but I have the time to make 80-90% of our meals at home. (Which has resulted in weight loss for both of us.) We live in a smaller place, but it is much cleaner because now I have the time to do it. We share a vehicle (less upkeep, less insurance costs), which does necessitate sacrifices–like when I need the vehicle, I have to get up when hubby does (4:30 a.m.) to drive him to work so I can have the vehicle.

    For us, making the switch was a very prayerful decision. It was a very difficult one for me. One of the things I had to learn was that it doesn’t matter that I have a master’s degree and could maybe get a high paying job. It matters that I obey what God has asked me to do.

    It was a necessary sacrifice for me to make so I could make my husband my first ministry.

  6. Abbie B says:

    I love this! My husband and I share a vehicle, we use cloth diapers, my purchase from second hand stores and clearance racks, we do the envelope system for our budget, we don’t use credit cards, , we don’t have cable, we don’t eat out often, or go crazy with a ton of fancy dodads. We make it work because being home with my children is immensely important to us! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Ashley Juliot says:

    I really appreciate this post! I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and homeschool my children. When I was one month away from having our second child (our first died in childbirth) my husband got laid off (from a christian organization that was also housing us). We lost our job, insurance, and housing. God took care of everything in His time. Our midwife waved our remaining fees. Family opened up their homes to us. However, finding a job was really hard for my husband. So many pressured us (passively) for me to get a job. My husband and I both do not have college degrees and the job market here is really competitive and selective, it would have been easier for me with my previous experience to get a job. Needless to say it was eventually four years until my husband had a stable, full-time job. We had other pregnancies during that time, and there were times when it would have made things so much easier to just give in and get a job, but I truly believed God wanted and wants me home with my children. It was hard to endure those four years because of all the limits that it put on our family. However, it was a blessing in disguise. We learned the truth that this is not our home and we set our affections above- that made it a lot easier. We didn’t have to dig ourselves out of this hole God eventually brought us out, and until he did God was teaching us and using that time to sanctify us. We grew more compassionate and understanding of others in similar situations, and it has strengthened our love for each other. I see great spiritual value in our situation and looking back I wouldn’t change my decision not to work. It has changed the way we think about possessions and what values we want to instill in our children. It is not fun to struggle financially, but when you make it through with God’s provision and you look back at the personal growth, you can’t help but be thankful! I might add also after six years of marriage that we have just rented our first apartment, my husband has a full time job, and is a part time college student, and I am blessed to be a stay home mom who gets to homeschool her children!

    • Wow! What a beautiful testimony! We have been through similar … I have chosen to stay home even when my husband didn’t have work for 4 years. Now he has a job in ministry so the income is not huge and shortly after he got that job, we found out our rental home had mold issues, which was making me ill. So we are staying with family. We are not sure where God will lead and I am often tempted to get a job, but at this point, my health is too fragile for me to realistically take on a job outside of the home.

      Anyway, we are waiting for God’s leading. But it was so nice to read your testimony and see how God sustained you through it all.

      Blessings to you!

  8. it’s all about priorities ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I am basically a stay-at-home mom. I do run my own business from home although it does require some time away for parties and craft shows. I make all of the products that I sell and basically allows me to make money from my hobbies. I have a deep seated need to be creative that I believe came from God and this allows me to make money for my family while still being home and available for my children. While I sometimes blog ( I have taken a little break from it so I can keep up with putting up fresh fruit and veggies.) I do not make any money directly from my blog. I believe that the Proverbs 31 woman was not just a woman who stayed home and just kept house. She was a busy woman that was a well respected member of the local community and her merchandise was sought after by the local merchants. I want to be there for my children but, I also believe that my business is a important part of who God has made me and a spet on my journey to be the woman that He would have me to be. Had you told me five years ago that I would have a business I would have thought that you were crazy. God is so much greater that we ususally give Him credit for and, this is one of the ways that He has shown His power to me. If you would like to see what I am currently working on feel free to visit. I should be back to blogging soon.

  10. First of all, I love that you eat at the Costco food court! That’s our “family restaurant”. We eat there once a week for $5.00! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Secondly, I think this is a great post for young women to read who aren’t married yet. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, so after high school I decided to go to work instead of college. I also lived at home until I was married. Almost no one outside of my family approved of my decision. (My parents were very supportive.) When I married my husband at age 27 I had a very good job and no debt. The decisions that both my husband and I made immediately after high school (years before we even met each other) allowed me to stay at home when we had children. Everyone has different circumstances and can’t make some of these same decisions. I like to tell friends how we made decisions that allowed me to stay home, because they’re almost always told it’s impossible. I really like your post because it’s one more story of creative ways to make life work.

  11. I can really relate to this post. We did without a lot as well so that I could stay home. We had decided it was a necessity, and there were times it likely wasn’t the smartest thing for us to do financially. After 2 1/2 years with my daughter I finally had to go back. I was determined with my son that wouldn’t happen, so I, like you, decided to take on a home business, and have figured out through coaching and investing in courses how to run a very successful home business and now I am devoted to helping other moms be able to stay at home! It’s a wonderful blessing (if you want it! haha I know some moms who enjoy getting away). It’s empowering, my kids see me as an entrepreneur, and I’m proving to them you can make anything happen that you commit yourself to. Congrats to you for making the sacrifices necessary to stay home! xo

  12. Beautiful post. Before my husband and I got married we decided that I will stay home (and hopefully homeschool!) full time once the Lord blesses us with children. Currently we’ve been married just over 6 months. While we don’t have any little ones I am working outside the home – however we try and solely live off my husband’s income with mine going strictly to debt payment/savings/retirement. Since we know we will one-day be a one-income family we wanted to spend like that from the start.

  13. Mom of 3 says:

    Oh Caroline, this was an encouraging post. Thank you! Somehow, I figured we were the only ones in the world with worn out furniture, old house, 1 vehicle, 1 phone, buying our children’s clothes at the $2 bag sale at the thrift store… well, you get the picture! Our luxury is having internet and right now we really can’t afford it. Things are SOOO TIGHT right now and no one seems to understand. Well, I’m not on here too complain, because God really has provided our needs in miraculous ways, and sometimes in ways that we don’t feel as if we can share with others because they feel like our situation is just ridiculous in the first place. Sooo, we just try to kind of stay in the back ground and not say much. Sometimes the back ground can be a lonely place!
    I really appreciate your blog and all that you do. You truly are an inspiration to me ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. After the birth of our oldest daughter I quit my job, which paid more than my husbands at the time , and we thought we would have to sell our home and vehicles and live in a shack or something. Amazingly, and I find this with other mothers who stay home, God has made the sacrifices not seem so bad. We still live unhygienic same house and have been blessed to rid ourselves of a lot of debt in six years as well as being providentially cared for in the car department. What we found was that much of it came down to budgeting our priorities. We spend the most money where we think most important. For example, we don’t take big budget vacations, but have opted to do local things mostly with a traveling/overnight vacation only every other year. I love to sew and have made a lot of my wardrobe as well as my kids, but that’s been fun. We do eat out, but only about once a week. We bundle trips to town as the nearest shopping it about thirty minutes away, so when we go we may be gone for a long time, but we save on gas. So far we’ve been able to buy much of our homeschool curriculum through local coops used curriculum sales and supplementing with new for anything we can’t find.
    The biggest thing that has helped us afford for me to stay home has been God’s intervention and grace. We had to step our in faith when I quit my job and trust that God would provide. We also had to have faith that we would have to make sacrifices of some kind, but that they would be worth it. I always answer this question with the response that of you make the decision to walk out in faith, God will provide all your needs, you just may not be able to see the way or the true needs yet.

  15. Ha, ha! Just realized that my phone did a spell check that changed “the same house” to “unhygienic” house. Oh well, at least maybe you’ll get a laugh from it.

    • Danielle says:

      I was reading that and I was like what kind of house is that?? LOL. I thought it was some “new age” thing lol.

  16. I see you would like your boys to be in archery. Our girls are in archery thanks to a great program called Centershot. It is done at a local church in which they provide the bows & arrows and they do bible lesson each time as well. It’s worth looking to see if there are any churches in your area that offer this.

  17. You have my great admiration for doing this. I, too, made sacrifices in order to stay at home with my children. It was so worth it.

    I grew up with a mother who worked and it really affected me adversely. Yes, I had everything money could buy, but I wanted my mother’s arms to welcome me when I came home from school.

    I encourage young mothers with this advice: Your child-rearing years will be short compared to the years you’ll have after they’ve all left home. Those are the years to pursue your own interests, a career, money-making if you like. You will never regret the time given to build those children. I never have.

    I’m 63 now, and I reared children for 27 years. I’ve had 16 years since then to pursue my writing, art, and ministry goals. G-d has blessed me. If you have the desire to stay at home, and seek G-d’s help, He will make a way for you to do it.


  18. The tips in your post and the comments are very useful! I’m single and working while living at home with my parents, but I do hope to be a stay-at-home mother after marriage. I will definitely keep this advice in mind if I ever get married! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. We don’t go on expensive vacations! In fact, the only vacationing we do is to visit family out of state (where lodging and food are free) or tagging along when my husband has a conference to attend (and his expenses are paid). Before we had a child, I worked and just couldn’t believe how many other women bemoaned not being able to stay home, yet their families went to Mexico and Disney World every year! We also don’t own a home, don’t really have hobbies that we need to invest money into, make our own laundry soap and cleaners, and don’t wear name-brand clothes, our dressers are the same ones I’ve used since I was 7, my son’s nursery furniture and most of his wardrobe is all handed-down…..and probably a few more things that I am forgetting….
    One thing we have learned to spend a bit more money on is our cars. During our first few years of marriage, we both drove very old cars and ended up with so many unexpected, expensive repairs. It was ridiculous. It works better for us to save up for and purchase very gently used vehicles that will last awhile!

  20. Something else that I do is I spend time on saving money. I think of it as part of my job as a stay at home mom. I do my research and make sure I’m getting a great deal. I do limited couponing, I shop thrift stores, and wait on expensive purchases because I know I can usually find a better deal somewhere.

    This has been easier during some seasons of my life than others. Right now, all my kids are in school at least 3 hours a day, so I have some time for this. When I had babies, it was different.

  21. so great to see other moms working hard to make the budgets work to stay at home.
    Where there’s a will there’s a way!
    Great work ๐Ÿ™‚
    We buy almost everything used. We’ve found garage sales are full of new and nearly new items for cheap prices!
    It’s worth the challenge to be resourceful and creative with money and resources.

  22. I can so relate to you. My husband and I knew that we wanted me to be at home with the kids from the very beginning of our marriage. I actually worked for a few years after we were married to save up to buy a little house, before we had our first child.

    Now I am a stay at home mommy of two. I am obsessed with clearance sales, coupons, and generally cutting the budget however possible. We definitely have made a lot of sacrifices. That being said, God always seems to provide what we need or want just at the right time. I don’t regret our decision and would do it again if I had the choice to make over. My kids are learning the value of money from a young age.

    Feel free to check out my blog at I just started it ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. I am a newlywed (3 months in!) and this post has made my heart so happy. I want so badly to be a stay at home mom when we get pregnant sometime [hopefully] in the next several months. I haven’t had a ton of support because my mother is a seriously determined nurse and had to work when they got pregnant with me very young. All that to say that this post really lifted my spirits! I have had a hard time dealing with the little support my dream of being a SAHM has had and this post gave me hope. Thank you for writing it!

  24. I’ve technically only been a stay at home mom for 7 months. We have a 7mo old boy and a 6 year old daughter. But after my husband had crazy job experiences and I had crippling morning sickness, we have only had 1 income over the past 2 years. We’ve sacrificed hair cuts, annual vacations with family, eating out, participating in Christmas gift exchanges, celebrating with friends at nice restaurants, not going to movies, not doing anything fancy for our anniversary, not going shopping with my sister (and we dont get along well and shopping is our only possitive bonding), the luxury of long showers and showers in general (I count it a good week if I get 3 showers in), and the luxury of power at our finger tips (I use candles instead of lights when I can, or hang dry my clothes, unplug EVERYTHING when not in use, etc.). I’ve also told my daughter “no” like a gabillion times, I’ve spent hours upon hours couponing and scanning the sales papers for the best deals, I’ve sold lots of our “stuff” that I preferred to keep but didn’t need, I’ve learned to sew, I’ve become a master at DIY (built my coffee table and side tables from old pallets, cedar tree roots, and borrowed tools), I’ve become quite creative with different ways to save, and I am 23 and just got my 1st smart phone a few months ago because it wasn’t going to cost any extra than my flip phone. I’ve never really been well off because I was a single teen mom for a few years, but I often tried to keep up with my sister and other family members. My husband and I made the decision to be debt free and for me to be a stay at home mom. When you eliminate the debt you open up an entire new world of possibilities. Many people will say this isn’t possible for them, but I spent 1% of my journey to become a stay at home mom relying on my own mathematical skills and understanding, and in those times I failed over and over again. I spent the other 99% of my time relying on God’s grace, and it has been proven to be sufficient for me! Everybody’s abilities and journey as a stay at home is completely different, but if it is your desire then it is completely doable with God’s provision and selfless sacrifice.

  25. Erica Ricky Kennedy says:

    Caroline, my homeschooled children absolutely LOVED 4H. The boys did many subjects but their favorite was “Shooting Sports.” They did every kind of traditional firearm that you can imagine (not canons or war-like weapons, but black-powder, 22’s, pistols, shotguns. They offer archery separately. All of these are free. The boys had their own 22’s from their grandpa which they wanted to practice with but 4H provided all of the other weapons opportunities. My youngest daughter loved archery and it was FREE at a local gym with an indoor range. They held annual “Round Robins” where any 4her , family member or guest could try their hand at the weapons and compete for prizes. My boys spent years in “Shooting Sports” because they liked the free time on the firing range and the Round Robins. There are many other fun activities, and a wide variety of 4H groups. Some are all homeschoolers, others specialize in certain livestock or other activities. It might be worth checking into. Usually only 1 meeting/week through spring and summer months. Very supportive of home, church, etc., or at least it was for us. We are in a suburban farm community in Indiana. If you are in Kansas, you should be able to find a compatible group. Check with your County Extension Office.

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