Any advice you can share on becoming a stay-at-home wife would be greatly appreciated. My fiance and I are getting married in two weeks, and we’re thinking about having me stay at home. I’m a little nervous as we live in LA (high cost of living area), and he works freelance in the entertainment industry.
We’ve prayed a great deal about it, but as I don’t know any stay-at-home wives, I’m having a difficult time seeing how this works in “real life” not just how I think it’s going to work out. -Rhiannon
Congratulations on your upcoming marriage, Rhiannon! What an exciting time in your lives! Everyone’s situation is different, so it’s hard to give clear-cut principles that will apply to everyone, but here are some suggestions I thought of for you:
1) Be on the same page as your husband.
I made this point in last week’s Q&A post, and it bears repeating again here: if you are not in complete agreement with your husband on decisions like whether you stay at home or work, it can cause serious friction in your marriage. This decision must be made mutually, with both of you realizing the sacrifices it will mean if you choose to stay home.
2) Get on a strict written budget.
I believe that if God calls you to something, He will also provide a way to financially pull it off–even if it doesn’t always work out on paper. However, it’s important to put feet to your faith. Thus, you need a clear plan of action.
Sit down with your soon-to-be-husband and make a detailed, written budget that includes every single category. There are free downloadable budgeting forms available here if you need help getting started.
Commit together to live on this written budget no matter what. If you are going to be a one-income family and you want to avoid debt, a budget is imperative.
3) Hold regular Budget Accountability Meetings.
Not only is a budget a must, but you need to regularly review your budget and see where you stand. This is why I heartily recommend monthly Budget Accountability Meetings. Schedule these on your calendar and make them a priority.
During these meetings, you’ll go over your budget categories and make sure you both stayed within them during the past month. If you didn’t, or you struggled to stick to them, discuss why and what changes can be made to help you adhere to the budget during the next month.
This is also the time to talk about tweaking, eliminating, reducing, and/or raising budget categories. Remember, a good budget isn’t set in stone; it will change somewhat as your priorities and situation in life changes. The ebb and flow is healthy, so long as it’s something you’ve both planned and communicated about.
4) Make sacrifices to achieve your goals.
If your desire is for you to stay home, it’s going to require sacrifices. In the early years of our marriage, it meant that we went for months at a time without buying anything but the bare necessities. It meant making most all of our food from scratch, planning our menus based upon what was on rock-bottom prices at the store, not eating much meat, being a one-car family for three years, shopping at thrift stores, not buying gifts for Christmas or birthdays for a number of years, and looking for any possible way that we could earn additional income on the side.
I won’t tell you that it’s always been easy, but I feel beyond blessed to be a work-at-home mom. Our mutual decision for me to quit working outside the home when I was pregnant with my first is a decision we’ve never regretted.