To wonder how it is affordable to be a SAHM?

(503 Posts)
Moobieboobie Mon 01-Sep-14 21:03:43

This is not a WOHM vs SAHM debate but am genuinely curious ....... I am on mat leave with DC2 and keep being asked if I am returning to work. I would love to stay at home this time round but sadly this is not a possibility as both myself and DH earn roughly the same thus my salary is 50% of the household costs. We would not receive any benefits etc as we would still be above the threshold even without my salary. If there is someway around this please let me know as I will try anything!!

Doubtfuldaphne Mon 01-Sep-14 21:08:10

If you really want to be a sahm then it's affordable. You just make cuts.
My Dh was earning just 11k and we had tax credits and housing benefit top ups. We got by ok and I loved staying at home. If you're above the threshold isn't that over 30k? Surely that's enough to live on?
Depends what you're willing to give up to stay at home I guess.

Girlwithnotattoos Mon 01-Sep-14 21:10:23

I don't think there's a magic figure at which being a sahm becomes doable it's different for every family. For some they can manage on one modest wage topped up with tax credits and manage to get by with careful budgeting for others they need a lot more to get by perhaps due to large mortgages or commuting costs. I know a family where only one parent earned about £25k and they managed and another where one half earned £60k and they couldn't afford it due to bills etc.

WaffleWiffle Mon 01-Sep-14 21:12:19

It's a lifestyle change, but do-able

DH and I had the same wages (I was a teacher). If I was working now rather than being a SAHM then I would guess we would:

- have holidays abroad, rather than in a UK caravan park
- have new(er) cars - rather than a 19 year old car and a 15 year old car
- Have had the a new front door 3 years ago when it first started leaking, rather than waiting until we saved up enough and using rolled up towels in the mean time.
- eat out more, rather than it being a rare treat
- drink more wine, eat fine foods etc - rather than operating a family budget for shopping.

I could go on and on.

There are loads of ways your lifestyle can change to allow for you to be a SAHM if you wanted to. It depends on how much value you place on the idea of living well.

Moobieboobie Mon 01-Sep-14 21:13:47

Sadly, I live in London with a relatively high mortgage and with no top ups etc my calculations suggest that is impossible. I think you are right there is no magic figure or easy answer I will just have to resign myself to going back.

BucktoothedGirlinLuxembourg Mon 01-Sep-14 21:14:02

Benefits (yes, including tax credit top ups) or by your DP/H earning enough to cover it all.

Not rocket science.

Scholes34 Mon 01-Sep-14 21:14:31

Careful budgetting and building up some savings before having children for unexpected expenditure, ie scaling back on spending before we really had to.

thatstoast Mon 01-Sep-14 21:14:32

I really think it depends where you live and your housing costs. DH earns 20k, we can't quite manage for me to stay at home (I don't want to either) but he'd only need to earn maybe 25k for that to be possible. Our mortgage is £350 a month, we're in Wales. We moved to this area to reduce our living costs.

JustAShopGirl Mon 01-Sep-14 21:14:45

Me and DH earned roughly the same (£30k) and we made the decision that I would be a SAHM together - 2 years before we had kids.

My wages were put into a savings account and we managed on his for the 2 years- to see if it was doable. It was.

We did not have a nice new car, we did not move to a bigger house, we did not have a holiday every year.

But life moves on - and the fact that I was a SAHM meant he had all the home stuff covered and was able to rise onwards and upwards at work - so after I was SAHM for a couple of years his salary rose way out of all proportion to what it would have if we had both been working - so he earns what we were on jointly now...

I now work part time - the kids are at secondary.

It worked for us - but we were starting from a very good place financially.

Justgotosleepnow Mon 01-Sep-14 21:15:15

Depends on your fixed outgoings. Depends how good you can be at cutting back.
Depends how big your savings account is.
Depends on if you care about being really broke vs bringing up your baby.

A lot of things to think about. For some it genuinely isn't affordable and there is no choice

BucktoothedGirlinLuxembourg Mon 01-Sep-14 21:15:16

Lots of people can't afford it or don't want to do it.

Downsizing/changing area to have a smaller mortgage to make one salary go further?

arethereanyleftatall Mon 01-Sep-14 21:15:59

I can 'afford' to be a sahm because when I had 2 under 3s, childcare cost more than my salary ()35k) after tax...so, it's cheaper for me to be a sahm

Marmiteandjamislush Mon 01-Sep-14 21:16:07

It's very affordable if you just live an ordinary life. Contrary to popular belief we don't all spend our days drinking lattes and lunching with girl friends and going to private gyms and shopping. Also a lot of the SAHPs I know are like me and work from home. My biggest expenditure is £3 twice a week for playgroup for the younger one.

Scholes34 Mon 01-Sep-14 21:17:00

Oh, and we also moved out of London with a drop in salary, but cheaper living expenses.

Artandco Mon 01-Sep-14 21:18:27

We live London also and def couldn't afford to.

Doubt - 30k wouldn't be anywhere near enough here. Our one bed flat is almost £20k a year rent, most people with kids obv want 2 bed so £25k min. That would leave 5k a year for council tax/ gas/ electric/ water/ etc etc, food and general living.
You can't rent usually either unless you earn x3 annual rent. So 1 bed say £20k, you need min £60k joint income.

Fishstix Mon 01-Sep-14 21:19:19

We chose to rent instead of buying a house. (Found a house we could rent long term for 75% of the cost of a mortgage in a similar property) We haven't had a holiday for 9 years that wasn't paid for by one of our parents. We rarely eat out. We buy clothes only when ours are falling to bits. I own one pair of boots, one of trainers and one of shoes. We run our cars into the ground. We buy most things second hand. Neither of us has a pension.
The only area we don't stint on is food. My almost decade of being a sahm is coming to an end and I'm both excited about having some cash and sad about being redundant as a sahp!
I have no idea what we'll do about our retirement though! smile

PortofinoRevisited Mon 01-Sep-14 21:20:16

If you can't afford it, you can't afford it. You could downsize or move somewhere else to reduce your outgoings of course. But no one will pay you to stay home if you have an working partner earning over the threshold. Why should they?

StrawberryMouse Mon 01-Sep-14 21:20:48

I work part time but could afford to give up and be a SAHM if we wanted, we'd just have less days out, cut back on unnecessary spending etc. We are in Somerset and DH earns about 50k which is plenty here but definitely wouldn't be in London.

ThursdayLast Mon 01-Sep-14 21:21:01

For me it's the affordable option. What I earned at my previous job, plus fuel costs, plus parking would leave a negligible profit against childcare.
And my job wasn't one where a few years out will leave me totally out of the game.

DP had the house we live in now before we met, so his expenditure was never based on my earnings as well.
Now that he supports a family, we cut back.

splendide Mon 01-Sep-14 21:21:02

DH is able to stay at home with me on £60k. We absolutely couldn't afford it on half. We already have no cars or holidays! SE though so high housing costs.

littlejohnnydory Mon 01-Sep-14 21:21:16

I'm not sure that we'd be much better off if I worked, once childcare and travel are factored in. It is a choice we've made though to have a parent at home with the children - dh was only earning �16,000 when I gave up work.

TBH, we have struggled financially. We don't have holidays and sometimes haven't been able to visit family because we haven't been able to afford the journey. We do have a car but I don't drive and dh walks or cycles to work so we minimise the cost of that. We shop at aldi or lidl, clothes are always ebay bundles or charity shops - tbh DH and I don't have that many clothes for ourselves, just a few outfits.

What I would love is to be able to have more family days out at weekend etc involving paying to get in somewhere and to be able to afford things like swimming lessons for the children - but on balance I think it is more beneficial to them to have a parent at home and you can't have everything. Very frugal living is the answer, either that or having saved massively beforehand.

Loletta Mon 01-Sep-14 21:21:35

Because if you have two kids under 5 you're probably paying at least £1,800 nursery fees every month so unless you're poor enough to receive the childcare element of tax Credits -which covers 70% of the cost - then that amount of money is equal to a decent monthly salary so not worth for one of the two parents to work until childcare costs go down.

Mintyy Mon 01-Sep-14 21:21:44

Moobie. Its not difficult.

Assuming a two parent household:

If one earns less than what it would cost to pay for childcare, then being a sahp is affordable.

floatyflo Mon 01-Sep-14 21:21:58

It is funny really.

I am a SAHM, and wonder the exact same thing about being a WOHM!

smile

Iggly Mon 01-Sep-14 21:22:19

We would have to move out of London (away from family and decent career options for DH) to cut mortgage costs enough for me to stay at home. I'm the higher earner.

So never going to happen for me sadly.

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