by Patricia Hughes
If you are expecting a baby and want to stay home, you need to determine if you can make it on one income. You will need to figure out your monthly expenses and determine where you can cut expenses. You also need to figure out how much money going to work costs to determine how much of your paycheck you will be bringing home at the end of each month.
Figuring Out Your Monthly Expenses
To determine if you need to return to work, you need to start by figuring out your monthly expenses. Track these for several months during your pregnancy. Dig out your bank statements from recent months to help get an idea of your monthly expenses. List every dime you spend on bills and other things.
Make a list of all your expenses. Include all your bills, such as the mortgage, car payments, all insurances, utility bills and food. List the cost of eating out, entertainment, clothes, gifts and any other money you spend on a regular basis. Include car maintenance, home maintenance and gas costs.
Once you have listed all your expenses for a period of several months, look over your list. What expenses are incurred every month? This will include all your bills, such as your mortgage, car payment, insurances and utility bills. These won’t change and you will need to cover these expenses every month. Look at the rest of your list for ways you can cut back on expenses and be able to stay with your baby.
Determining the Cost of Working
Next, you need to figure out the costs incurred by working. The largest expense most families face is the cost of child care. Child care can be very expensive, depending on where you live and the type of care you want for your child. Your child care expenses will most likely range from $500 to $1000 per month for either in home or center based day care.
This figure is for one child. If you have more than one child, the figure will be higher. A [tag-tec]nanny[/tag-tec] or private [tag-self]baby sitter[/tag-self] will cost even more money. Call around to care providers in your area and inquire about prices in your area to get an idea of the costs involved with child care. Talk to friends and co workers to find out what they are paying for [tag-ice]child care[/tag-ice] each month.
The next largest expense most people face is the cost of commuting. This cost will depend on how far you travel and how you get to and from work. If you drive to work, figure out the money you spend on gas and maintenance as well as the wear and tear on your vehicle. Gasoline is very expensive right now. The cost of gas alone can add up to hundreds of dollars each month. Do you have to pay for parking? Include this figure as well.
Some people use public transportation. Do you take the train or bus to and from your job? If you do, figure out what you spend each month to travel to work. Add this figure to the cost of working.
Do you eat take out foods for lunch? How many times each month do you eat out for lunch? How much do you generally spend each time you order take out for lunch? Multiply how much you spend each day by the number of days you typically eat take out for lunch. Add this figure to the cost of working. Also, consider how many evenings in a typical month you eat take out for dinner. Working women tend to do this more than women who stay home, because they are either too tired or home too late to cook.
Consider the money you spend on clothes for work. The cost of a professional wardrobe can get quite expensive. If you take your work outfits to the dry cleaners, consider how much you spend on cleaning. Add these figures to the costs of going to work.
When you have finished figuring out the cost of each of these areas, figure out the monthly total. Subtract this figure from your monthly take home salary. How much is left after all the costs of working are deducted? You may find there is very little money left over. Is it worth working full time for this amount of money?
How to Cut Corners and Save Money
If you want to stay home, you will need to learn how to cut your expenses to save money. It is quite an adjustment to go from two paychecks to one. You won’t be able to spend money like you did before the baby was born. Go back to your list of monthly expenses. Look at entertainment, clothing and the cost of eating out. Often, these expenses are the easiest place to cut back.
Consider your grocery bill. You may think this expense is steady and can’t be changed. You can save money on the cost of food. Start clipping coupons. You can find coupons in the Sunday newspaper and on many online coupon websites. These sites offer tips on saving money on food. Consider joining a warehouse club to save even more money. You can save quite a bit by buying the things you use frequently in bulk.
Just because you are cutting corners doesn’t mean you can never have fun or buy anything new. You just have to learn to be a bargain shopper. Shop during sales for clothes for you and the kids. Shop for items like winter jackets at the end of the season for the following year to save money. You can still have a date night with your husband by trading babysitting with another couple or asking grandma to do the honors. You will need to get creative with your financing to stay home with your baby.
Biography Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.
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