Every family must make the decision about whether or not one of the parents will stay home with the kids. It’s a nerve wracking decision, and one that is not to be taken lightly. Some things to consider to help you make the plunge include, do you want to stay home? Don’t let anyone guilt you on this one, you don’t have to stay home with your kids. It does not make you any more or less of a parent either way. Seriously, it doesn’t. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

If you do decide to work, you have to consider the financial side of things. For example, does your pay check cover the cost of child care? If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t make financial sense to work. In 2009 the average costs if day care ranged from $5,000-$15,000! That is a lot of money. If you can afford that, it will come down to your wants at that point.

Child care is not the only cost you will need to consider, but the extra gas you will spend getting to and from work and various child care. Does your job require a certain dress code? Many people suggest to me that they will split the working hours with their spouse. Daddy stays home while mommy works, then mommy stays home while daddy works.  On paper, I love this idea. But I have to warn you that this could be very hard on your marriage.

If you are dead set on staying home, congrats! Making it work can be tricky. Consider ways you can tighten your budget to make the transition work for your family. Perhaps going down to one car, or at least just one car payment can add lots of money to your monthly bottom line. Search for jobs that you can work from home. Each year, more and more companies are looking for telecommuters. Clipping coupons is another great way to help the budget. You don’t have to turn into a crazy coupon lady to get the money saving benefits either.

-Stephanie Wright


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