Two Incomes to One: How Much Money Does It Really Take to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom?

The closer and closer we got to the birth of our oldest daughter over three years ago, the more I wondered if we would be okay financially when I quit my job. At that time there were other pregnant women around me, and they were going back to work after maternity leave. It made me wonder if I had it all wrong and I really couldn’t afford to be a stay-at-home mom. The question is, then, how much money does it take to be a stay-at-home mom?

What's the magic number for being a stay-at-home mom? Find out if you can be a stay-at-home mom, and discover ways to manage your money better and make money from home!© HeY / Dollar Photo Club

Stay-at-home moms come from all financial levels. Some are coming from a household where the husband makes plenty of money and they could support 10-15 children if they wanted. Others are coming from a household where the bills are just barely covered each month. This large spectrum makes it really hard to guess how much money you should have if you want to be a stay-at-home mom.

Amount of Money a Family Needs to Be a Single Income Household

I’ll give you the short answer of how much money any family needs in order for the mom to stay home:

Just enough to cover expenses.

While a lot of people would not be comfortable with that answer, there are a lot of families who live that way. Us included.

A savings account with enough money to cover your expenses for 3-6 months is also a good idea. Job loss is not always in your control and other terrible things can happen, so an emergency fund can take some stress away.

You will definitely need to make more money if you have dreams and goals you would like to reach. Family vacations, purchasing a home, having a great Christmas, and even paying cash for all your medical bills related to your pregnancy are all likely financial goals you might have. You can read more about saving money for big goals over at Blissful and Domestic where I am guest posting today!

Actions to Take When You Can Barely Cover Expenses

If you quit your job to stay home and all you can do for the first little while is pay for current expenses with little to none leftover each month, you have a couple options.

First, you can accept the fact that this is how life is.

I believe this is how we lived for quite some time. It really wasn’t until we moved into a house and then my husband quit his job to start his own business that we really considered doing anything about our situation. We were already pretty frugal, but there were times when we didn’t think through some of our purchases quite as well as we should have.

Second, you can assess your financial management habits and find out if you are managing your money well.

If you are not, you might be able to lower expenses easily and find plenty of room in your budget. Here are some great articles to reference if you desire to start managing your money better:

The Real Reason You Overspend {& how to stop!} from The Peaceful Mom
5 Reasons You Hate Meal Planning (with solutions) from Humble in a Heartbeat
Budget Your Money with the Zero-Sum Method from Frugal on the Prairie
5 Reasons You Need a Bill Pay System from Humble in a Heartbeat
6 Powerful Money Habits to Set You Up for Success from Creative Savings Blog
The Half Payment Method from The Budget Mama
5 Financial Philosophies to Turn to When You Think You Can’t Save Money from Humble in a Heartbeat
19 Money Saving Tips for the Newly Frugal from Frugality Gal
How to Pay Off Debt $0.19 at a Time from Queen of Free
How to Manage Your Money on a Slim Income from Humble in a Heartbeat
Money Saving Tips from a Frugal Stay-at-Home Mom from Graceful Little Honey Bee
No More Living Paycheck to Paycheck! You Can Do Better Than That! from Humble in a Heartbeat
How We Reduced Our Spending by $23,537 in a Year from The Busy Budgeter

Finally, you could definitely try to increase your income.

Your husband may already have plenty on his plate with the job he has, but there are tons of ways you could make money as a stay-at-home mom. I have included the resources that I think are the best when it comes to learning about making money from home. You can also follow my board on Pinterest, Money Madness, for more ideas.

6 Hobbies You Can Turn Into Money-Making Side Hustles from Single Moms Income
How to Make Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom from Live Like You Are Rich
The 4 Side Jobs That Make Me Over $3,000 a Month as a Stay-at-Home Mom from The Busy Budgeter
60+ Real Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms from Growing Slower

So how much money do you need to be a stay-at-home mom? That is completely up to you, but the minimum you should have is just enough to cover your expenses. It would be best to figure out far ahead of time if you can cover expenses with just your husband’s income. If you are uncomfortable living on such a tight budget, learn ways to better manage your money or try to make some money from home. Being a stay-at-home mom is a hard enough job in and of itself, so be sure to only take on as much as you can handle.

How much money do you need to stay at home?

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I'm a mom of 3 on a journey to feed my family nourishing foods. Personally, I believe that you can feed your family healthy, delicious meals without spending a fortune or slaving away in the kitchen.


  1. Thanks for sharing my post! 🙂

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