More and more men have chosen to stay home and be the primary caregiver for their children. The decision for Dad to stay home isn’t always an easy one, however. The choice means your family must survive on one income, and must overcome stereotypes of stay-at-home fathers as less manly and unable to provide. In order to make it work both socially and financially, it’s vital to have open communication with your partner, along with a great budget. Here are a few tips to help manage your household as a stay-at-home dad.
If you decide to stay home, it will take some time to adjust and get in a groove financially. Your family may have to cut out a lot of extras like eating at restaurants, expensive activities and taking costly vacations. You’ll need to create a disciplined budget and be able to stick to it. Consider cost-saving measures, such as cutting out luxuries like cable and buying used goods over new items, to keep your expenses low. Remember that there are many free and low-cost activities you can enjoy with your family in the summer. For ideas, check out our new feature: Summer Fun That Won’t Break Your Budget.
Budget for Personal Expenses
Some stay-at-home Dads may feel guilty about spending money they didn’t technically earn. It’s important that you create a budget with your partner that allows you both to feel valued for your contributions. As a stay-at-home father you need to be able to spend some money on yourself. Personal expenses like lunches with friends, getting a haircut and going to a concert should be included in your financial planning. Even though you aren’t making a paycheck, the work you do at home is significant and important.
Work a Side Job
You may be a stay-at-home Dad, but you can still earn some extra cash for your family by taking on a side hustle. There are many options to make money online, such as selling old possessions on eBay, Craigslist or through online consignment stores. You can also sell homemade crafts on Etsy if you have a hobby like wood-working. Perhaps the professional skills you used at your former job will allow you to continue some business from home as well. Make sure to do a little research on freelancing or consulting work, and how you might be able to offer your services from the comfort of your home.
Keep Communication Lines Open
In any marriage or partnership, keeping an open line of communication about your family finances is essential. This is especially true if there is only one breadwinner. It’s a good idea to make time every month to go through the budget, talk about any concerns and discuss both short and long-term financial goals with your significant other.
Don’t Forget to Save for Retirement
Leaving the workforce will have a big impact on how much you and your spouse can save for retirement. But, it’s important not to loose sight of your financial future, despite the drop in income. Retirement savings should be part of the overall budget, even if you can’t save as much as you’d like. If you need help to make savings part of your financial plan, consider talking to a financial professional who can give you options and help you work out strategies to secure your future.