Becoming a SAHM: Plan ahead.

Becoming a SAHM: Plan ahead. Part of the How to Become a Stay at Home Mom series.

It’s time to continue with my SAHM series. Being a SAHM has kept me busy, so busy, that it’s taken me awhile to write about these experiences. I am learning so much that I don’t want to forget – and that I want to share with others.

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After you’ve made the decision to be a stay at home Mom, you need to plan ahead. For some, this planning takes place over a number of years. While for others, it is a matter of months or only weeks. As much as you are able, plan ahead to be a SAHM.

My husband and I made the decision early on that I was going to stay at home with our children. We had almost 5 years together as a married couple before our son was born. During that time, we lived frugally, paid off our debt and saved for retirement. We are two responsible individuals. Still, I occasionally find myself wondering if we could have done more.

We had cable for a time. We took vacations. We went out to eat. We did a couple of major house projects (although spending several thousand dollars as a result of flooding to our newly finished basement wasn’t the most fun of those projects). We paid off my husband’s college loans but still have part of one last loan remaining on our Tahoe. We were more frugal than some but not as frugal as others. Could we have done more? Yes. Did we still do a lot? Yes. Do I regret our choices during that time before our son was born? No.

We bought our house knowing that it was a house we could afford on one salary. This was one of the most important aspects of our planning ahead. We worked hard at paying down our debt, and our remaining car debt should be gone within the year. This was also important in our planning ahead journey. We saved for retirement, knowing that this would be much harder to do once I stayed home. Right now, I’m not contributing to my Roth but I can let it sit there and accumulate interest. These were personal financial decisions that we made as we planned ahead.

It is important to plan ahead financially so when you transition to one salary, you have less financial burdens that constrict you. Pay down as much debt as you possibly can and start living on one salary, if you are able. We didn’t do this to a full extent but partially as we used my salary to do home projects, invest in retirement and pay down debt. While finances are one of the most important areas in which to plan ahead, I also believe you should plan ahead in other aspects of your life.

Start now learning how to be a good homemaker. Spend time with children and gain experience for the day when you have a child of your own. I was a teacher (and an early childhood one at that) so spent lots of time with young children. I am very grateful for those years of experience! Most importantly, pray for God’s guidance and wisdom as you plan to be a stay at home mom.

In what other ways did you plan ahead? Any advice to share with those Moms who are just starting to plan ahead?

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  1. Oh my. I wish we had planned! We kept thinking there was no way I could be a SAHM unless I was able to find an at-home job, so I was planning to go back to work even though I desperately wanted to stay home with my son. Three weeks before I was suppose to go back, my husband and I decided that we were just going to make it work, and I was going to stay home even though I couldn’t find an at home job. It was scary and exciting at the same time. My husband told me the other day that it feels like we have more money now that I am staying home than when I worked. Ha! I think it is because I am SO careful about staying in the budget and ONLY purchasing needs. I do think we would have had a lot more in savings had we planned though. Great advice!

    1. Good for you – for making that tough decision and for choosing to stay home. I completely understand how terrifying and thrilling it is all at once. I have the same feeling about staying home because I watch the pennies much tight now as well. Thanks for chiming in, Emily! And many blessings as you continue to stay home with your precious son!

  2. I totally agree with you that planning ahead is the key…some of the planning we did well, other aspects of the planning, not so well! I always knew that I wanted to have a break from teaching, to be a SAHM. After we got married, we made sure that we purchased a home that could be afforded on one salary. We started budgeting very tightly at this point too, and developed a love for all things frugal.

    In the years leading up to us getting married, we did lots of local and overseas travel and also had many meals out. I don’t regret having those exciting and fun experiences…we have so many great memories…. but I do wish that we had toned it down a little…and saved a little more.

    1. Ha! I agree, Belinda. We planned well in some areas but hindsight always shows us what we could have done better or in this case, how we could have planned more. Still, like you, I’m thankful for all the memories! Yay for a love of all things frugal – so we can stay at home. It’s worth it.

  3. We planned ahead by using only my husband’s income for most things. I too was a early childhood teacher and we used my income toward student loans. The one thing we didn’t plan on was my husband’s job change after my son was born. He was a road warrior and switched to a standard 9 to 5 which resulted in a huge income drop. It was really hard the first couple of years, but I am so glad I have been able to stay at home.

    1. I agree, Julie. It is hard at times – but so rewarding! No matter how we plan, there is always more that we didn’t plan for. Still, I think that proves we need to continue planning ahead. I’m glad you are able to stay at home, too!

  4. I wish I would have had thought more about a response to people that question my being a SAHM. It needs to be a gentle response because there are moms that would love to be a SAHM but there are good reasons why they can’t be. There are also those moms that have no desire to be a SAHM. You have to want to be a SAHM or it won’t work. There are also those that could be SAHM but don’t think they could afford it. This really does come up in every day conversations really often. If you have an idea which of the above situations they are then you can answer them a little better. But you need to have an answer that applies to everyone you talk to too.

    1. Those are excellent points. We should always be ready with a careful, gentle and honest response because we don’t know when or with whom we’ll have a conversation about our life as a SAHM. I was one of 3 teachers at my school who had a baby last year – and I’m the only one staying home right now. It is indeed a weighty decision that each family needs to carefully make for themselves. I love being a SAHM and I am thankful we made the decision that we did. It is right for us – at this time and place.

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