If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know that I am currently on maternity leave until September. My partner and I discussed what I should do when the time comes to return to my office job, and we both agreed that I should leave my day job and become a full-time stay-at-home mother.
We looked at both possibilities: I return to work vs. I stay at home, and had a thorough discussion. Naturally, our discussion involved the financial aspect too. Having spent some time deliberating, we eventually came to a conclusion that we will not gain a lot financially if I return to work full time. Luckily, my partner’s income will cover our living expenses, which I’m very grateful for.
If you are deliberating whether to return to work or stay at home with your child, these are the things that play in favour of you becoming a stay-at-home parent from the financial point of view.
Childcare is by far the biggest expense associated with raising a child. Childcare costs in London are eye-watering.
In the area of London where I live, you are looking at an average of £1,300 each month if you decide to send your child to a day nursery. Very often, you will have to pay extra for food.
Another possibility is to leave your child with a childminder, but it’s nearly as expensive.
Money Saved: around £16,000 a year
We live in zone 2, and to get to work, I would need to take an overground train to zone 1. The cost of a travel card covering zones 1-2 is currently £124.50 a month (or slightly cheaper if you buy an annual travel card from the start).
Trains to work are exceptionally busy and often late, so generally it’s a nightmare to get to work. I don’t think I can count a number of times I had to call in to let the office manager know I was running late. Moreover, I sure don’t miss being stuck on an overcrowded train somewhere between the stations.
Money Saved: around £1,400 a year
OFFICE ATTIRE & DRY-CLEANING
If you work in an office and go to client meetings from time to time like I do, you will have to look presentable. You will have to invest in a few pieces of clothing to wear to work. Chances are you will also need your office attire to be dry-cleaned every now and again.
Working women are likely to spend more on beauty products, too. I don’t apply any makeup now that I’m staying at home with my son. As a result, I haven’t spent on makeup all that much this year. Same goes for work clothes and dry-cleaning – I don’t remember the last time I bought something to wear to work or had it dry-cleaned.
Money Saved: around £1,000 a year
Whether you want it or not, it’ll be pretty hard to be pulling out each time your colleagues invite you out for a drink after work or a quick bite to eat during your lunch hour.
You will also be asked to pitch in whenever there are collections for people leaving or having a baby. The cost of birthday cards can quickly add up, too.
Money Saved: around £300 a year
If both you and your other half work full time, it can be pretty hard to find a chance to clean your house. You’ll probably want to spend your evenings and weekends with your children to make up for the time you’ve been away.
A lot of working parents hire help. In our area, a cleaner will charge you anywhere between £10-20 an hour. If we were to hire a cleaner, she would probably need 3 hours a week to clean our house.
Money Saved: around £2,200 a year
You may also find you’re too tired to cook after work. You may either decide to order takeaway or have a ready meal. Neither of these options is cheap.
Personally, I’d rather spend an evening with my child than in the kitchen, and I’m sure many parents will choose to do the same.
Money Saved: around £1,000 a year
Looking at my personal situation, I will be saving around £22,000 each year by staying at home. On top of that, I will save myself a lot of time and stress! Most importantly, though, I will be able to spend as much time with my son as I can and give him as much attention as he needs. This alone makes losing one income worthwhile to us!
True, I will lose such benefits as a workplace pension, personal development allowance and miss out on training opportunities. Over time, I may also lose my professional skills making it harder for me to find a job when I finally decide to start working again.
However, these days there are plenty of opportunities to make money from home, either by setting up your own business or working remotely. I am willing to give it a try and see what happens.