While today’s economy has put a large number of families in the sudden and unexpected position of having to make the switch from double to a single income, some couples are choosing to make the changes on their own. For many, the decision to downsize is because they want to raise their children with one parent at home.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2013, 29.5 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 chose not to work.
Moms with younger kids are more likely to stay home and go back to work when they go back to school. Though the decision to reduce the family earnings can result in a change in living conditions, the benefits of having a stay-at-home parent are often worth the sacrifice.
Before making the leap into the world of single incomes, however, there are a few vital steps to make the transition as smooth and comfortable as possible for the entire family.
Set Realistic Lifestyle Goals
Becoming a single-income household can mean cutting back on familiar activities or expenses. Though you may feel you can happily cook at home seven nights a week and eat all your breakfasts and lunches in, you might find in practice it’s not as easy or enjoyable as you believed.
Before making the big change, sit down with your partner and go over your budget.
Be realistic as you decide where you can cut costs and which items or amenities you can live without. If you find eating out once or twice a week is something you’d like to continue then consider reducing your cable bill or recreation expenses instead.
Consider Furthering Your Education
For the partner who stays home, continuing education can provide new opportunities when she or he returns to the workforce when the children get older. For someone who loves children and wants to have a similar vacation and holidays as her school-age children, a career in education is perfect.
The four-semester online early childhood education from pennfoster.edu offers an associate’s degree and the equivalent of 63 credit hours. Your local university might also offer programs that combine on-campus and online class settings.
Test Drive Your New Budget
Though your plan to transition to a single-income family may not take place for several months, implementing your new budget before that time will give you a real-life look at how things will actually be. This will allow you to make changes to your living expenses, give you time to pad your savings for unforeseen events and provide an opportunity to refine your budget based on your experiences.
It will also give your children a chance to adjust to their new lifestyles and provide moments for family discussions.