Working Mom 3.0: Work at home, spend less
How can you afford to stop working full-time when your family has been living on two salaries? In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, stay-at-home working mom Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how working a non-traditional career while raising kids can lead to saving more money.
When I left my full-time career to become a stay-at-home working mom, my mind was fixated on how to save money. It's a common fear that many of my working mom friends express when contemplating a career change to spend more time with their kids.
Money is a personal matter, and without question, every family has different financial obligations to consider. However, it's been a year since I've been self-employed, and I can personally attest that while my role as a stay-at-home working mom certainly pays less than my traditional career did, I spend less money now. Here's why:
When you work in the home, your wardrobe needs will change - and become simpler. There is no need to purchase suits or expensive purses (which will probably end up covered in a little bit of milk and a lot of crumbs). Buying one or two affordable "statement" pieces in each season will more than suffice to keep you fashionable.
Working from home requires connectivity to the outside world. The good news is those needs are tax-deductible when you're self-employed. Qualifying business expenses include cell phones, office equipment and some training programs and professional memberships. Consult with a tax professional to ensure you understand deductions properly, and to save as much you can.
Anyone who has paid for child care knows just how expensive it can be. While working at home may require a mothers' helper or extra support that you'll still pay for, creative thinking can save a lot of money in this area. If you have friends in the neighborhood who also stay at home with their children, consider exchanging services a couple of times a week instead of hiring an outside source. Take advantage of free child care offered at your fitness facility while you're working out and visit free resources like the library and community events to keep kids learning and entertained.
Time is money
Ever heard of Parkinson's Law? Essentially, it's an old economic theory stating that a person will take as long to do a job as the time they are allotted. If have a full day to complete a report in the office, it will take you the full day to do. By contrast, if you have two hours to complete a task, you'll adjust your work pace to finish it faster. I've noticed the theory holds true when you're working from home, too. Time is scarce; the successful stay-at-home working mom quickly finds that the path to achievement lies in multi-tasking and working efficiently. When I worked in an office, I knew I was required to be there for the full day, busy or not. As a result, I'd go out to lunch (and spend money), run errands (and spend money) and browse J.Crew.com in my downtime (which often resulted in unnecessary purchases). Now that I have less time for such things, I use my time to make money, not spend more.