5 Unexpected Financial Benefits of Stay-at-Home Parenting

Some couples dream of diving into their careers and building their lives as those careers blossom. Others dream of one half of the couple working and the other staying home to care for the children. There is no right or wrong decision here, just a matter of preference. However, if you are considering becoming a stay-at-home parent (SAHP), you may be surprised by some of the financial benefits.

1. You may save more on child care costs than expected

Chances are, one of the reasons you’re considering adopting the SAHP lifestyle is due to the high cost of child care. The average weekly cost of daycare in the U.S. is $321, according to Care.com. That’s $16,692 out of your bank account each year.

What’s more, if you decide to have another child, you’ll be handing over another cool $16,692 annually. There aren’t many families in the U.S. that can easily absorb such a cost, and stopping the flow of money from your checking account to a daycare provider may be all the inspiration you need to investigate further.

2. Small, miscellaneous expenses may disappear

Whether you stop by a coffee shop a couple of times a week on your way to work or routinely pick up a muffin for your mid-morning snack, you’re spending money that you may not spend as a SAHP. Or perhaps you enjoy a weekly lunch at a local restaurant with co-workers or the occasional happy hour after work.

Let’s say you spend an extra $20 weekly on small niceties. That’s an extra $1,040 that you could use to offset the lost income of the SAHP or invest in a retirement account. Your personal finances are uniquely your own, but every time you save money, you make it a little easier for a parent to stay at home.

3. You’ll (probably) spend less on clothing

We’re not suggesting you stop buying clothes as a SAHP. However, you may naturally find yourself purchasing less than you did when you worked. On average, a person spends a little over $1,900 annually on clothing, including shoes. Whether you find yourself enjoying leisure clothes more than you thought you would or find that you already have enough clothing in your closet to last you for years, you’re likely to enjoy some savings.

If one of your concerns is that being a SAHP means there won’t be enough money to cover an emergency, small cuts like this are a great way to fund your savings account.

4. There’s a fair chance you won’t drive as many miles

You can count on trips to the grocery store and pediatrician’s office, but once you’re a SAHP, you may not spend as much time behind the wheel. This is especially true if your previous job was far from your home.

Not driving as much means saving money on auto upkeep and maintenance, mainly because your car won’t be racking up the miles. It may also mean getting a break on your auto insurance, due to how little you’re driving.

5. You may cook at home more

How many times have you been exhausted after work and couldn’t bear the thought of making dinner? Instead, you picked up fast food on the way home or met the family for dinner at a restaurant.

As a SAHP you may find yourself in a slightly different situation, primarily because keeping an eye on the kids can be stressful. You’re throwing in a load of laundry while one child teeters dangerously close to the stairs, and unloading the dishwasher as another child tries to get the family dog to eat a plastic apple from their play kitchen.

That said, you may simply cook more at home because you don’t want to change your (very comfortable) clothes to go out to eat, or you get into the habit of throwing something in the slow cooker first thing most mornings.

The average U.S. family spent more than $3,600 eating out in 2022, according to BLS data. Even if you find yourself cutting that in half, you’re still saving an impressive $1,800 annually.

Most people feel strongly about whether there should be a SAHP while children are home, but your opinion is the only one that matters. Ultimately, you must do what’s right for you and your personal finances. Most importantly, you must do what you believe is right for your children.

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