How can I afford to be a stay-at-home parent?

It’s not like my husband is a brain surgeon, doctor, lawyer, or any other high wage earner. We were not granted an inheritance. We were not given any money, We are not debt-free. My husband has a state government job with good benefits, a union, and a healthy wage. We are lucky for this. Over the past three years, as my wages stagnated, he has out earned me by nearly 50%.

With a stagnant wage as my employer struggled through financial hardship, after I pay childcare expenses, my after-tax wages drop to just $5,500 per year. For me to transition to a stay-at-home-parent, mathematically, we either need to cut our expenses by $5,500 per year OR I need to earn $5,500 per year through a side hustle or a small part-time job.

Since we have a very healthy debt load (to the tune of $93,000 – not including our home), I have opted to secure a side hustle. I have been working this extra gig 10-12 hours per week from the comfort of my pajamas home. I have been making $700+ consistently for the last 4 months.

I work in the early morning hours while the girls are asleep before I head off to my FT job. I also work in the wee hours of the night on the weekends. I am extra tired working a full-time job and this part time work on top, but it has afforded me nearly $1,000 extra per month to throw at our debt.

Since taking on this side hustle, my husband and I have managed to pay off one small student loan ($1,300), and my daughter’s tuition for pre-K.  Our school district does not offer universal pre-K and I would rather pay for school than day care. My daughter’s tuition was $14, 077. Since July 1, 2018, we have paid off over 15K in debt (this does not include the refinance of our home).

I started my side hustle in August and all my earnings have gone straight to paying down debt. That is the plan moving forward as well. Leaving my FT career to stay home will benefit us financially in many ways:

  • We will no longer pay for child care, private school, before/after school care, or summer camp.
  • I will work more hours at my side hustle. Right now, I can only handle the 10-12 hours on top of my full-time job. Once I am no longer working 9-5 plus commuting 3 hours per day, I will have the energy to put in more hours at my side hustle. I will easily double by income.
  • For the month of November, I grossed $923 dollars working part time. I must pay my own taxes, so after I deduct taxes (30%), I have $647 that will we will put toward the next debt we are paying off.
  • Since I earned this money working just 10-12 hours per week, once I am home full-time, I will increase the number of hours I work my side hustle. Come January, I will easily gross $2,000.
  • Since I only need to earn $5,500 per year to compensate for leaving my full-time career, my side hustle will actually afford us MORE money, more time, and a faster debt pay off.

We are following Dave Ramsey’s get-out-of-debt method. The next debt in our snowball is one of my husband’s student loans. The balance as of November 2018 is $4,800. With the basic payment of $100 per month, plus the $647 I earned from my side gig, plus any other money we can scrape together from whittling away our grocery bill, we will likely knock off at least $800 of that loan this month. As I earn more money through side work, our snowball with continue to grow, our debt will shrink, and I will be home and available for our children and family needs. I am excited and looking forward to this change.

How do you stay inspired and focused on things in your life that matter to you the most? Feel free to leave me a comment.

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