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How did you determine that you could stay at home?
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From Susan ~ How did you determine that you could stay at home? Was it a quick, simple decision (that you would do whatever it took to raise your children yourselves), or did it take some time to figure out? Did you take time before getting pregnant to save up as much $$ as you could? Did you try living on your DH/SO's income alone for a while to see how it went? Do you have an alternative way of bringing in some income? I very strongly feel that when the time comes for us, I want to be a SAHM, and I want to try to prepare us in any way I can. Thanks much in advance for any advice you have.

From karriann ~ Our first daughter was not planned, so we didn't do much money saving for that. We did decide while I was on maternity leave that I would not go back to work. We hadn't really thought about the costs until then. We broke it down to how much dh was making, how many bills we had, and all the unnecessary money we spent. We decided that although it would be a lot tougher, it was a plan we both wanted. I now work a home business part time to bring in that extra cash so that we can go to the movies and dinner once in awhile, but of course the plan is for hubby to be at home with us.

From kendallsmom ~ Our first daughter wasn't planned either but it was still a simple decision. It's what we both always wanted and we knew we'd manage. Before we started trying for #2 we paid off all our credit card bills and have continued to pay off the balance each month if there was one. We've also managed to save a lot and are buying our first home here in the next month. It hasn't been easy but we never considered anything else.

From kimmy ~ We saved for about 3 years before we started trying to conceive so that we would have enough saved up for me to stay home for at least two years. We could have done a lot with that money--nice vacations, nicer cars, bigger house, but we just talked honestly about our priorities and we realized that me staying home with our future son or daughter was our number one priority so we saved for it.

From Ursula ~ We waited until we both had an education and my husband had a good job before having a child. That's because we wanted to have the ability for one of us to stay home. It's really important to us that we're there for our children all day, every day. If I wanted to, I could teach night courses at the community college. I may do that one night a week next year. Also, I could lead Weight Watchers meeting once a week, if I wanted, as I once worked for them and they are always looking for help. Finally, we have really good life insurance on both of us to make sure that, if something happens to one or both of us, then the other will be able to stay home for 5 years or so, if needed. I think it's important to have safety nets, if possible, so we planned for those.

From PaulaSue ~ I told my DH while we were dating. I was a Nanny at the time so he knew I was serious. When we bought our house. we never even considered my small paycheck and always lived off his. At the time mine was for extras that we now don't do as often.

From Susan Michelle ~ I went back to work after maternity leave but was laid off three weeks later (long story). It was the best thing that ever happened to us! DH and I thought that I'd have to return to work to pay off bills and then we would discuss how/if I could SAH. Because I was laid off, we had to cut corners and actually through cutting our corners we figured out a way that I was able to SAH. To be honest, after I was home with our DD for a couple more months, no one was going to make me go back. Also, DH is a police officer and he has seen to many things with children on the street, etc., that he was willing to do anything for me to be able to SAH. Things we a bit tight (actually REALLY tight) so DH got a part-time job (he 2-3 times a month as a security guard at a local hospital) to give us a little bit extra month.

I would suggest sitting down with your DH and write down how much you spend to work. We paid over $700 per month for daycare, I drove 100 miles round trip per day to work (a lot of gas), lunch, wear and tear on the car, make up, nylons, etc. When we broke it all down, I was making around minimum wage! It blew my mind because I had a decent job (I was a legal secretary).

From canuckmom ~ DH and I talked about me staying home with the kids before we even got married. We bought a house that we knew we could afford on his salary alone and we've budgeted ever since. It's hard not going out to buy stuff all the time but it's really worth it. I could not imagine leaving my two boys with someone for 40+ hours/week. You'd miss out on way too much. This is the only job I've ever wanted to do and while some days it's the most stressful job the benefits are great!

In between our sons I went back to work for my former employer for about 9 months (my mom babysat). It was very part-time but enough to get maternity benefits for 1 year (I live in Canada if you haven't guessed from my username). We banked the benefit money for our "what if something bad happens" savings account. That makes us feel a little more secure.

From MamaJAM ~ DH and I found out we were pregnant with our first child 3 weeks after our wedding. We were both working only part-time jobs and were living with his parents at the time (obviously, we didn't have time to save up $$ - and we hadn't been trying too long ). I worked for about 6 months of my pregnancy - then I stayed home and have been a SAHM ever since. Before we were married, DH and I discussed having children and our mutual desire for me to stay home and raise any/all of our kids. So we knew we would do whatever it took to have me stay home. Also - I know some people talk about how long they will stay home full-time (this is another thing you need to consider). For us, DH and I agree that I will stay home until our kids are grown - then after that, I'll stay home and FINALLY be able to take full-time "care" of DH.

From ibmommy ~ We were forced into it (although I was happy about it) because i was laid off. Being laid off was the best thing that could of ever happened! However, I did acquire a WAH job, which was a necessity because we couldn't live on 1 salary so lucky for me things worked out.

From Sorsha94 ~ I decided when I was 11 that when I got married, one parent would stay home. I based this decision on the fact that when my mom was at home, our family seemed much happier. By the time I was 21, I hadn't changed my mind. It took until I was 27 to find a man who seriously felt the way I did. At one point it looked like he was going to be the stay at home parent. Finally when our marriage was stable and one of us had been long term employed, we decided to start our family. I'm the SAHP.

From islandmom ~ I wanted it, and we could afford it. Like Ursula said, it is important to have the basics, like life insurance, etc covered. I think that once my children are school aged, I will decide to go back to my profession (special education) but on a part-time basis. But until then, I really like the flexibility that sah affords our family.

From jenmc ~ We were paying $250 a week for both kids to be in daycare. Between that, gas, and eating out for lunch, I was spending almost $300 a week to work. I was only bringing home $315 a week. We didn't really think about it much while I was working because I really liked my job. Then they had to start downsizing all of sudden, and they eliminated my position. I was upset at first. Then we started figuring out what my income went towards and decided $15 a week wasn't worth having someone else raise my kids. So, here I am!! I love (almost) every day of it! No . . . really I love EVERY day, but some are just more stressful when they're having a bad day! Now DS is in PreK Mon-Thur. I am watching a neighbor's 2 year old 2-3 mornings per week. Plus, I am thinking about finding an infant to watch during the week to make extra money. I also decorate cakes. I have been getting quite a few orders for those here lately and hope to get even more around the holidays. Those are anywhere from $12 (for a small birthday cake) to $200 (for a wedding cake). So that definitely comes in handy! I also sell kids clothes, toys, and anything else we want to get rid of on Ebay.

From sdebarrios ~ My best advice is to try to reduce your costs as much as possible as soon as you can and save money. This gives you a nice cushion so that you won't be stressed out immediately after the baby comes. We saved money all during the pregnancy plus I'm a teacher so I had the summer months paid. Now I figure I have two more months to come up with some ideas for supplementary income. Originally I was only planning on taking two months off at the beginning of school. And then I just decided I couldn't go back this year. So, don't ask me how we're going to do it. I just know that we will!!!

From mary1 ~ For us (me) there was no other option. I always knew that I wanted to stay home. So, DH and I bought a house and incurred no debt that would hinder this decision. We do not have fancy cars (one is 15 years old) and bought a smaller house. We have not spent much money on furniture and extras because staying at home was always the ultimate "luxury" we wanted to purchase! I think the best advice I could give is this -- of course, take it with a grain of salt -- if it is what you both want then let it be your only option and make it work.

From M&M ~ I knew I wanted to be a SAHM and told my dh while we were dating. When we were first married, we just lived off of dh's income and used mine for savings, emergency funds, and little extra's. So when I quit, it was no big deal for us. When my dd was a year old, we hit a tough spot and so I managed apartments for 2 years to make the extra money. After the two years we didn't need it anymore and so I went back to not working at all. It was never an option for me to work;, I just refused that anyone else would raise my kids and so we found what worked.

From DAmom ~ When I was working, I wasn't making all that much, half my check was paying for daycare for one child. When #2 was coming along dh and I both knew we'd be spending more money for me to work! So it was an obvious choice.

From lunchbox ~ There wasn't really any discussion. We had similar philosophies on raising a baby from day 1. For the past six years, we planned for Lulu - buying a home, me getting a career out of my system, Nug getting the job he wanted, getting our truck paid off and buying a grocery getter for me. We didn't save up as much money as we should have - I was a spending freak. How come it seemed like we were always broke when we had my income, yet we are making ends meet without it? Too many trips to Wal-Mart. My advice? Stock up on stuff like make-up, diapers, cleaning supplies, and other stuff beforehand if you have the room to store it. The only make-up I wear is foundation and its $12 a stick. It was no big deal before, but now, that is a good chunk of grocery money.

From SharonCC ~ I worked full-time for 1 year after my son was born, and it made us all miserable. After a particularly hard day one day, I came home and told my husband that I was going to quit or job-share, which would he prefer? So I began my search for a job-share partner (I was teaching in a large district) and found one (after meeting with several duds) about 6 months later. We had met and agreed on everything and our plan was in place for the next school year. So I didn't actually start working part-time until my son was almost 2 - it took a year to prepare for it. I had to move schools and change grades, too, but it was all worth it. We job shared together happily and successfully for 3 years. Then, I was expecting #2. Lots of circumstances evolved with this, mostly the fact that daycare for two versus what was already half my income just didn't fly. Add in an unsupporting principal, and the plan was in place for me to stay home. I left my classroom about a month before dd was born per doctor's orders (I was very high risk) and never looked back. My job share partner wound up going back to work full-time - she has only 1 child who was by then in kindergarten. I took a 2 year leave, knowing full well that I wouldn't be returning, but wanted to take advantage of that little net of security that the district was offering me. I fully resigned about 3 months ago. My daughter is now 2. For me, it was a gradual process. Before I had my oldest, I was a definite career woman - I thought I could do it all - work, mother, wife, home, everything. I thought that working full-time and putting my child in daycare would be an easy no-brainer. Boy was I wrong. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do and the year that I did do it nearly sent both me and my family over the edge. I knew then that staying home full-time was my goal - eventually. I had no idea when it would actually pan out but working part-time was a way for me to set the wheels in motion. My son was 4.5 by the time I came home full-time. The wait was certainly worth it. The older he gets, the more both he and I realize how important it is - to both of us - that I am home. My daughter, on the other hand, knows no different, but he does. He remembers being the last one at daycare to be picked up and it was already dark. He remembers mommy being so tired that she couldn't even read him a book. He remembers being woken up at 5:30 in the morning to be the first one to arrive at daycare - in the dark. He remembers taking his naps on a mat in a crowded classroom. He remembers. I'm not saying that it's all bad - it just didn't work for my family. We planned for it in the long term but not as specific as you mentioned. We budgeted as we went. The first few months when I was job sharing we were SO broke but lo and behold, dh decided that he needed to make more money because of it! So what did he do? He went out and got a better job.

When I was working full-time we lived in a small 2 bedroom apartment and could barely afford to buy groceries. After I started job-sharing, I was FORCED to learn how to be frugal. It wasn't a surprise - I knew from the get-go that this was a sacrifice that I would be making and I was willing to do it. In the 3 years that I job-shared, we got out of the hole (debt) and bought a house - our dream house to be specific. Your priorities get re-examined, whether you are conscious of it or not. You cut out the unnecessary and focus on the necessary. You learn to budget, be frugal, and find that you wind up having more in the long run. Also, studies have shown that husbands of wives who don't work make statistically MORE money than husbands of wives who do work. My theory on this? Motivation. My husband is a classic example. If I were still working, he'd still be at his old company, way overworked and way underpaid. I was making a good income, so why should he bother to want more? Make sense? Once I started job-sharing, and then quit, that all changed.

From KH ~ Despite the fact that both my husband and I had completed our educations and had good careers before we started our family, we were still not sure whether or not we'd be able to swing it financially on just his salary. Although he makes very good money, we had just built a nice new house and were still paying off some credit card debt. We decided that I would stay home FT until the baby was 8 months old, and then go back to work PT (3 days a week). I was only paid maternity leave for the first 3 months, so we had a trial period of what it would be like to live off just my DH's income. While things were tight, we were able to do it just fine. However, we still had the credit card debt hanging over our heads and wanted to do something about it. Therefore, I DID go back to work 3 days a week for 10 months.

To be perfectly honest, it wasn't bad at all. I wasn't leaving a newborn (Ethan was 8 months old and already crawling, sitting and eating solids) and he seemed to really enjoy playing with the new toys and the other babies. For me, I liked having a few days to do my own thing. The only real problem was that babies get sick a lot when they are around other babies. Therefore, I was out of work a lot due to his colds and ear infections.

I became pregnant with baby #2 in February of this year and worked through the end of June. I've been home for 3 months now and financially we are doing fine. Since I did work for those 10 months, we were able to pay off most of our debt, and now we have some breathing room.

As much as I enjoy being a SAHM, if things were too tight for us financially I know it would cause a lot of tension between DH and I, and that would be awful. It was so worth it to go back to work PT in order to ensure that we would have an easier time of it once baby #2 arrives.

From tkls-mommy ~ For us there was no question at all. I always knew I would stay home, take care of the family and home! I have always believed that the husband's job was to provide for the family and the wife's to take care of the family. So we just planned it this way and we are doing good. We do have some debts, but don't most people? My theory is the more money you make the more you spend. So good luck in your decision!!

From twokats ~ I informed dh before we were married that if we had a baby, i would be staying at home with him/her, and that this was something we would need to agree on before we got married. Fortunately, he agreed with me so it was never a point of argument. We never depended on my income. We have always used income for our living expenses.

From Valarie ~ Our's was not a cut and dried decision, and we also made some bad financial choices along the way. Our biggest set back was that DH was making plenty, but it was on overtime. And he refused to budget on overtime, as he may not always get it. Turns out, in the last almost two years, there have been maybe four months were he didn't get overtime. And we always said that I would stay home when we had kids, we just didn't plan on getting pregnant when we did. The long and short of it is, DH is getting a raise this month. The 31st is my last day. I will be doing some PT transcription from home, but my income will be completely extra, and will go to paying off debt.

From LawnGirl ~ Before we were married, Andy and I always talked about how no matter what I would stay home with the kids. It is something that I've always wanted to do, and he always wanted his future wife to do. It's difficult at times since Sebastian came *3 years* too soon (in our planning) and we are both fresh out of college, but neither of us would change it for the world! Babies need their mommies and I'm glad my son is near me all day.

From ReceivingGodsBlessing ~ We figured if we wanted kids, we should raise them. I was making almost $60,000 a year when I quit work. It was a sacrifice, believe me, but I feel my kids are more important than a bigger house or fancier car (which we could afford if I was working).

From SonjaG ~ We just decided to make it work. It meant a lot of life changes and sacrifices that we're still working through, but I know it is worth it.

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