The first question people ask when they hear I am a stay at home mom with twins is, “how can you afford that?” The truth is no one can entirely afford to live solely on one income. It is hard to make the dollars stretch for most families not just my family of four.
I have not worked a traditional 9-5 job in five years. I thought I would stay home just the first year. Then I thought one more year. Eventually, we decided I will stay home until the kids go to Kindergarten. So, how have we afforded for me to stay home this long? Well, to start, it is amazing what you will live without once you have kids. And, if you have them two at a time like me, you really learn quick how to get creative with what income you do have.
Tips for affording the SAHM life:
- This was the biggest money saver for us. We literally saved up to have children. We knew very early in our marriage I was going to stay home with kids. So, we set money aside in a savings account and took advantage of every opportunity to invest in a 401K, stocks and extra short term insurance to carry though my maternity leave. We didn’t count on having twins, but I am thankful we at least had some amount of money saved beforehand!
- Cut back. I’m not talking just giving up one latte per week. I’m talking saying goodbye to take out everyFriday, maybe drop cable, scale way back on the shopping and start using coupons. We cut back where we could and then found ways to save on our biggest expenses like food and clothing. I signed up for every baby club, savings club and online savers club I could find.
- Create a clothing stash. Providing a wardrobe for more than one kid is a challenge. The upside to having twins who are the same size is they can share a wardrobe for a little while. Everyone was so generous at our baby shower we didn’t need to shop for a year! I found out there is a big demand for gently used/like new baby cloths. After selling our giant lot of baby clothes to the tune of $300+ I realized I could use that money to buy a new wardrobe- but to maximize our savings I purchased from garage sales, thrift stores and local swap and sell sites. Why pay full price for a new pair of jeans my kid will wear for a month and probably sit in mud with? I buy ahead by two sizes and store them. I never say no to generous friends who gift us with hand me downs. This helps for that unexpected growth spurt too. Be choosey about what you buy and pay only a fraction of the retail price.
- Take a staycation. We don’t have family to rely on for help with taking care of the kids so taking two rambunctious toddlers to a theme park by ourselves was not in the cards. We took advantage of all the nearby attractions our community has to offer. From kids museums, to hiking trails to street festivals. Our local library has some great summer programs to offer. It isn’t a luxurious get away, but it is entertainment my kids can enjoy and we have zero debt afterwards. Besides a vacation with little ones is really a change of location. Kid chaos will follow you even when you stay in a $150/night hotel.
- Work from home. Finding legit work from home opportunities isn’t easy. You have to really research companies before getting involved. What can bring in some extra cash are direct sales jobs. I had a Mary Kay business for a few years because it allowed me to stay home with my kids and be out of the house when they were asleep. I made a legit income and I could work my business in my own time. Now, I write from home which allows me to be home all the time… with two lovely (yet demanding) 4-year-old princesses. Worth every penny!
Are you a SAHM? What are some of your tips/tricks to affording kids on one income?
About Roxanne Ferber
Roxanne is a full time wife, twin mama and part time crazy lady. She is a charitable giver and a former Marketing Executive turned write-from-home mom. Roxanne lives on coffee, wine and the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. In her spare time she enjoys meeting other moms who keep life real- crafting, organizing and hiding veggies in her kid’s food. Find her at The Whatever Mom.