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How to prepare to become a stay at home parent

August 29th 2017 - by Amanda Perkins & Michelle Winstone

Making the decision to become a stay at home mom or dad is huge. It will be rewarding in so many ways however, unfortunately not financially. Preparing for your family to switch to a one income household is not a decision that should be made over night.  To get your family on the right track before your first day at home begins, there are few things you should think about, prepare for and work on, to make the transition easier for you and your partner.

1)      Lower Expenses.  This may be one of the most important things to do as you will be lessening your household income by half therefore, something in the math needs to change.  Evaluate your monthly expenses and find out ways that you can cut down on things.  Lowering your cable bill, transportation expenses, dining out etc.  These are all things you need to look at when figuring out ways to cut down on your monthly costs.  Spend a month or two really getting use to living within the new means.  Figure out what things you are willing to part with and what things you cannot.  This will make your first days at home easier and more manageable when you have already practiced not spending money on certain things. 

2)      Pay down any outstanding debt.  While you are still earning an income, focus on paying down an existing debt as once your income stops, only one person will be able to make payments towards those items, putting more pressure on your partner.  Focus your time before leaving your job, paying down any “bad debt” such as credit cards or small personal loans. This will free up more funds for saving! Which is just as important as you may only be contributing to one set of RRSP’s or pension plan now that your household is down to one income. It’s equally as important to plan for your future as it is for the present.

3)      Find ways to earn extra money.  These days it seems like every other person is posting on social media about the different jobs they are taking on working from home.  Things like becomes a sales representative for jewellery, candle, kitchenware or clothing companies can be done right from your laptop, couch or living room.  Any extra income into the family while still maintaining your stay at home status is an added bonus! If your children attend school, let the other parents know that you offer a service of walking children to and from school. You are walking there anyway and it is a great way to make some easy cash to help with household expenses! 

4)      Start a Parent Group in your area.  It is a great way to meet other parents and socialize your child. Set up a potluck coffee morning so everyone can contribute to snacks, taking the burden off of you and your wallet!  This option is much less expensive than a trip to a coffee shop and you can relax and chat and your children can play with new friends! 

5)      Visiting attractions with a family. If you are considering visiting an attraction such as the Zoo, Aquarium or Science Centre, weigh up the cost for one visit compared to an annual membership.  Most places are free for children under 2 which is also something to consider. An attraction like the Zoo will be used over and over again, year-round and will pay for itself in no time. Some attractions will deduct the cost of that first visit from your yearly membership if you decide to enroll that day.  

6)      Join a Facebook Buy/Swap/Sell Group in your area.  It is a great way to buy children’s clothing, toys, books and equipment at a fraction of the cost. Young children don’t know the toy isn’t brand new so you can save a lot of money for yourself and a lot of frustration for the child if they don’t have to struggle with removing the packaging! Kids grow out of clothing so quickly, sometimes before it has even been worn so try and sell it on this site and get some money back if you can!