To say leaving the workforce as the breadwinner of our family to become a stay-at-home mom was tough on our bank account is an understatement.
I was bringing home 60% of our family income and carrying our family health insurance.
But when something pulls at your heart day after day, you can only ignore it for so long before you finally do something about it.
So after looking at our monthly expenses time and time again, I finally accepted that living off one income was not a gameplan we could sustain. In order for me to become a stay-at-home mom, it required two big things:
1. I had to earn money from home
2. We had to cut expenses too
While daycare costs for our daughter was an expected way to save, I was surprised at the money we saved in four other places after I started working from home that adds up to thousands of dollars each year.
1. Gas and Car Maintenance
When I was a working mom, my husband and I combined drove over 3 hours each day just to get to work and back. We did this crazy commuting for five years!
The amount of money we spent on gas every month was sick. Plus, it seemed we were taking one of our vehicles in for an oil change or maintenance work almost every month.
Now that I simply walk downstairs to my office, my commuting costs are a whopping $0. I can easily go weeks between gas fill-ups and months between oil changes.
This frees up thousands of dollars over a year for things we’d much rather spend money on.
2. Work Clothes and Shoes
Call me ridiculous, but one of my pet peeves about my traditional job was getting dressed each morning. I cringe just thinking about putting dress pants and dress shoes back on.
And because I’m frugal, spending money on clothes and shoes that I didn’t even like to wear was extra painful.
So now that my work clothes, after-work clothes, and even my workout clothes are all pretty much the same (i.e., leggings and t-shirts), I save several hundred dollars each year on dress clothes and shoes.
And when I do buy clothes and shoes now, I make sure to save money by comparing cashback sites like Ebates and Mr. Rebates to get the most money back I can.
3. Childcare for Little Bro
For the few months our daughter went to daycare, it cost $200 per week or $800 per month for just her.
Last year, my husband and I were blessed with a son and the thought of paying $1,600 per month for their childcare seems outrageous. It’s more than our mortgage!
At $1,600 per month, childcare would cost us $19,200 per year. So while being a full-time work-from-home mom can feel pretty crazy some days, I also keep in mind:
I have a huge impact and get to experience all their learning moments
It is likely only for a few years before they’re in school
It saves us over $19,000 per year in daycare costs
So while daycare was an obvious way to save for baby #1, it’s twice as nice now that we have two littles.
4. Work Dues and Fees
As an educator in our Midwestern state, it was customary for teachers to pay union dues. It was one of those expenses we didn’t think much about and we paid because “that’s what teachers do.”
When I left my job, I realized these fees were $65 per month or $780 per year.
Sometimes I feel like I should charge my children this same fee for cleaning up their bodily fluids every day. Nonetheless, this was one surprise expense I was happy to eliminate once I starting working from home.
Saving Money by Working From Home
If you’re on the fence about working from home and finances are part of your decision, keep these things in mind. Even as an intentional spender and saver, I knew childcare for baby #1 would be one less expense, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the thousands of dollars we have saved on:
- gas and vehicle maintenance
- dress clothes and shoes
- childcare costs for baby #2
- work dues and fees
- work dues
No matter if you’re a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, or a work-at-home mom, there are always ways to earn more and spend less to make your family money goals a reality.