Deciding whether one or both parents should work is never easy. There’s not a single approach that will work well for all families but the vast majority of parents go through the same stage of working out what is best financially. I remember having a spreadsheet trying to figure out the optimum salary vs childcare cost situation if I went down from full-time to 4 days per week. I got there in the end, but it’s always a juggle to find the best situation at the time!
There are many potential cost savings that can be gained by a parent staying home to care for the children. On the other hand, there is also a loss of income and other things you might not have thought of. Analysing the details of your own situation is your best bet, but I am here to help you figure it out by sharing my own experiences of juggling work and parenthood (of three children between 10 and 4.)
Let’s take a look at some of the savings associated with one parent staying home
Sometimes couples have more options when one partner has a significantly higher paying job or more work flexibility than the other. Many people believe that nearly any couple can afford to live on a single income because childcare and other expenses linked to work usually use all of the second income. But this isn’t always the case.
Full-time childcare likely costs over £1,000 per month – that’s a significant amount to save by having one parent as the main carer. Especially if you have more than one child under school age. Before tou make a decision on this, always check on the government childcare site to see what benefits or tax breaks you might be able to claim.
Savings on your work wardrobe
Most of us need clothes for work that cannot be satisfied by the clothes we typically wear at home. Remember dry cleaning and laundry costs as well.
You might only need one car instead of two. Even if you keep two cars, the cost associated with fuel, tires, maintenance, and more will be greatly reduced. If public transport was used for commuting, the cost savings there could dramatically decrease.
Food and coffee savings
If you stop going out to eat for lunch with your colleagues and grabbing coffees on your commute, you can save a heap of cash quite quickly.
With some careful juggling, some room could be carved in your schedules for the ‘stay-at-home’ parent to engage in some home-based part-time work. Plus there is also the opportunity to start a home-based business that could result in significant income a few years down the line.
If you are a parent looking to make some extra income from home as soon as possible and lack the time to start your own home-based business from the ground up, consider investing in a home-based franchise. These franchises can be found on websites such as Franchise UK and allow you to earn a stable income from home for a low investment.
If you use this opportunity to overhaul your entire way of life, you might save a lot more through simple living. A lifestyle that highlights frugality can be a wonderfully simple and meaningful way to live.
When it might make sense to carry on working
There are many reasons why it might make more sense to continue working. Here are 4 perspectives you might not have already thought of to add into the mix:
1. Give yourselves a better chance of mortgage qualification
A second income can make it easier to qualify for a mortgage. But be careful, if you can’t qualify with one income, you might be on thin ice if you ever decide – whether by choice or necessity – to live only on one income.
2. Continue building up your retirement pot
Consider that you will likely miss out on the chance to save for your retirement if you choose not to work.
3. Pick up where you left off with your career progression
Is your current career important to you? Dropping out of the workforce can stop your career cold. Consider where you would be likely to be in 10 years if you continued working. If you take a considerable amount of time off of the career ladder, you might not be able to start at the same level you left.
If finding a nurturing and affordable caregiver is something you have no experience with, you could start by visiting one of the best nurseries in Nottingham near where you work or have a look into childminders closer to home. You’ll soon get a feel for who you’d like to help look after your child. Research all the options and see what childcare arrangement works better for you financially.
4. Protection from separation
Sadly, a large proportion of couples don’t grow old together. It’s worth considering (even for only a few seconds) the ramifications divorce would have on the financial situations of everyone involved. Should there be a separation or divorce, consider the costs of running a home as a single parent, plus there’s child maintenance support and all sorts of other costs to be aware of. If you had a stable career, the stress would reduce significantly if the worst was to happen.
Hopefully, the points discussed above might help you consider some of the pros and cons of being a ‘stay-at-home’ parent. Likewise, I’ve highlighted some of the negative and positive impacts of going out to work and having your children in childcare in their early years.
Consider the long-term impact and decide if it’s the right move for your family’s situation. There’s no right or wrong, and you should only consider what feels right to you as parents. Ignore people’s opinions and judgement and you do you!
Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Lucy Clarke