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  • Flashback Friday: The Most Important Thing to Do if You Want to Be an At-Home Parent

    This post was originally published three years ago, a few months after I quit my full-time job as an attorney. It’s still as true today as it was then.

    The Most Important Step to Becoming an At-Home Parent - chieffamilyofficer.com

    It’s been six months since I quit my full-time job as an attorney and became a work-at-home mom. I’m as busy as I’ve ever been, and I can’t imagine how chaotic my life would be if I still had a full-time, outside-of-the-home job. And that’s been the biggest difference for me, working for myself and spending most of my time at home – my life has less chaos.

    I was thinking about this today, after talking with a friend who’s under a lot of stress. She’s had a series of medical issues for the last six months, so things at home are chaotic. Add financial pressures to that, and her life is super stressful.

    I couldn’t help thinking that she’d be able to relieve some of the chaos if she didn’t have to work, but her family’s financial situation won’t permit that right now. That got me thinking about all the preparation we did that allowed me to decide to quit my job. We took a substantial loss in income. But our lifestyle hasn’t changed much.

    And I realized that the most important step we took that allowed me to become an at-home-mom was not increasing our living expenses as our income increased.

    We paid off all of our non-mortgage debt in 2009 and saved like crazy after that, until we lost my income. So for about eight to ten years, we lived pretty minimally. Between the increased cost of goods and having two kids, of course we spend more now than we did eight years ago, but it’s not that much more. Most of our increased income has gone toward paying off debt and into savings, which is what put us in the wonderful position we’re in today.

    We certainly didn’t get to where we are today in just a month, or even a year. It took years of living well within our means to pay off all of our debt and save up enough money that we felt we could handle losing my income. But it’s all been worth it.

    Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by amenic181.

    The Most Important Step to Becoming an At Home Mom

    It’s been six months since I quit my full-time job as an attorney and became a work-at-home mom. I’m as busy as I’ve ever been, and I can’t imagine how chaotic my life would be if I still had a full-time, outside-of-the-home job. And that’s been the biggest difference for me, working for myself and spending most of my time at home – my life has less chaos.

    I was thinking about this today, after talking with my friend K., who’s under a lot of stress. She’s had a series of medical issues for the last six months, so things at home are chaotic. Add financial pressures to that, and her life is super stressful.

    I couldn’t help thinking that she’d be able to relieve some of the chaos if she didn’t have to work, but her family’s financial situation won’t permit that right now. That got me thinking about all the preparation we did that allowed me to decide to quit my job. We took a substantial loss in income. But our lifestyle hasn’t changed much.

    And I realized that the most important step we took that allowed me to become an at-home-mom was not increasing our living expenses as our income increased.

    We paid off all of our non-mortgage debt in 2009 and saved like crazy after that, until we lost my income. So for about eight to ten years, we lived pretty minimally. Between the increased cost of goods and having two kids, of course we spend more now than we did eight years ago, but it’s not that much more. Most of our increased income has gone toward paying off debt and into savings, which is what put us in the wonderful position we’re in today.

    We certainly didn’t get to where we are today in just a month, or even a year. It took years of living well within our means to pay off all of our debt and save up enough money that we felt we could handle losing my income. But it’s all been worth it.

    The Effects of Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom: More shopping and a bigger stockpile

    Ever since I quit my job, I feel like I have too many jobs to count: there’s my “official” job of blogger, which is now my primary source of income; and then there are the roles in our home, including chef, chauffeur, housekeeper, laundress, etc.

    One of my most important jobs has been to save even more money, since our income has been reduced so drastically. I’ll admit that this aspect of the transition to being home hasn’t been stress-free. Even though I know intellectually that we’re fine, I do get a little panicky thinking about how much less we now bring in. So reducing expenses has been a big priority for me.

    In the last month and a half, I’ve been making more trips to the store than I used to, and it shows. When there’s a great sale, it’s now easier to hit multiple stores or do multiple transactions in order to stock up more. In fact, I’ve found myself staring at something in the store that’s at my target price, but which I have plenty of at home – and I realize that I can, and I should, wait for an even lower price. So I’ve forced myself to walk away, although it feels strange.

    At the beginning of this phase of my life, I was hitting multiple stores almost every day and I started to burn out. Now, I make only one or two more trips to the store than I used to each week, and I’m feeling much calmer about my schedule and mile-long list of things to do.

    My hope is that this way of shopping will result in a comfortable stockpile of everything we need at rock bottom prices. I can adjust my weekly menus to use what we have on hand, which will keep our grocery costs down.

    And anything that keeps our expenses down is a good thing!

    The Effects of Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom: Refinancing Our Mortgage Again

    Early last year, we refinanced our mortgage because rates had gone down enough that we were able to get a rate that was 7/8% lower. This time, we will get a rate that’s another 2/3% lower, so we’ll be at 4.125% (I’m hoping that it will be even lower by the time we close, though I don’t think that’s going to happen).

    The last time we refinanced, I was all about saving money and lowering our overall payments. But back then, I didn’t foresee myself no longer working at this point in our lives.

    This time, I am all about the lower monthly payment. After all, I’ve quit my job and make a miniscule fraction of what I used to make.

    We can certainly continue to make our monthly payment now, but I like the wiggle room that a lower monthly payment will give us. And we’ll continue to pay extra on the mortgage, just not as much as we used to. We may, in the long run, end up paying more for the house than we would have if we hadn’t refinanced. But we’re confident it will be worth it – I am so much happier now than I was when I was working full-time, and I think that as the kids get older, I’ll be even happier that I am around a lot. I’ve always wanted to have the house that the kids hang out at after school, so I know what my kids are doing.

    I have to admit though, that I’d forgotten how much paperwork is involved in a refi. And, I’m waiting for the appraiser to arrive right now!

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