Stay-at-Home Dad: Can You Make It Work?


The thought of handing your young child to a daycare provider each day may cause your stomach to flip. Sure, you can find quality childcare providers who will love and care for your kids. But there’s nothing like taking care of your own.

After much discussion, you and your wife may decide that it’s best for one parent to stay home with the kids. But which one?

Although mothers are traditionally the stay-at-home parent, more and more fathers welcome this role with open arms. In most cases, it’s pure economics. Some wives earn more than their husbands, thus in a better position to support the family. But regardless of who decides to quit their job and stay home, going from a dual income household to one income is a major adjustment. Here are four tips to make it work. 

1. Pay off your consumer debt.

The less debt you have, the easier the transition to stay-at-home dad. Don’t make an impulse decision and immediately turn in your resignation papers. Even if your wife can start supporting the family now, review your money and look for ways to improve your personal finances before taking the plunge. If you work a few extra months, this can provide cash to pay off your credit cards and other small loans. And if you don’t have much debt, the extra money can help build your savings account.

2. Reduce household expenses. 

Not only should you reduce debt, but also your household expenses. With dual incomes, it’s easy to spend money frivolously. You might go shopping once or twice a month, eat out several times a week, order the best cable package and add a bunch of services. But for one parent to stay home with the kids, this often requires sacrifice and a reduction of household expenditures.

There are several ways to reduce expenses. For example, if you live in Texas, visit and compare electricity rates with multiple energy companies. This can reduce your electricity bill each month, thus freeing up cash for the household. Additionally, you might cancel your digital cable service and go with basic cable. Likewise, canceling other services like weekly lawn care services and maid services reduce monthly expenses.

3. Think of ways to generate side money.

Being a stay-at-home dad doesn’t mean you have give up your personal aspirations. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start a little side business. This is the perfect time to get started. Some people multi-task as stay-at-home parent and freelancer. Even if you don’t earn a lot from your side business, the money earned can pay a bill or treat the family to a fun activity.

4. Don’t forget life insurance. 

Regardless of who decides to work and stay home, make sure both you and your wife has a life insurance policy with adequate coverage. The policy should not only cover the cost of the burial and other final expenses, but provide money for long-term support. As a rule: purchase a policy that’s roughly eight times the working spouse’s annual salary.

Many moms and dads love the idea of leaving the workforce and spending this time with their kids. But they don’t think it’s possible. Don’t immediately push the idea out your head. Look at your budget, rework your expenses, and then decide whether you can make stay-at-home life work.


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