Can I Afford to Stay Home With the Kids?

Jeanne Sager

Flickr photo by hill.josh
Being a stay-at-home parent comes down to two things: desire (obviously) and finances.

Some moms have told me it was cheaper to stay home because the exorbitant cost of childcare ate up the bulk of their paychecks. Others -- like me -- just couldn't swing being a full-time parent.

Still trying to figure out if you can swing it (or if you even want to?). Finance expert to the rescue!

Jean Chatzky, author of Money 911, Your Most Pressing Money Questions Answered, Your Money Emergencies Solved, has added a handy worksheet on her website that's free to you and me.

You'll need a good handle on your expenses, so if you're not sure what you spend on groceries in a month, it might be wise to go over the worksheet to find out what you need to know, then spend a month collecting data.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of stay-at-home parents has dropped in recent years. There were 5.3 million last year -- 5.1 million of those were moms. But that was down from 5.3 million stay at home moms in 2008 (the number of stay-at-home dads has been steady). 

See more of Jean's great financial advice on The Stir.

Did finances play a role in  your decision to stay at home or go to work?

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