What does a stay-at-home mom do all day? Every stay-at-home mom is different, but here are some ideas...
Need to figure out how much your pay will change? Use our pay change calculator. And if you have student loans, we have a calculator for that too.
Should A Stay-At-Home Mom Get Paid?
Absolutely!! Maintaining a home requires a ton of work, plus kids need frequent cuddles and attention -- which is why some couples opt to have one partner focus on the outside while the other focuses on the inside.
How Much Do Stay-At-Home Moms Get Paid?
It depends on how much you negotiate with your spouse for your base pay as well as how many income streams you set up.
Let's start with the base pay. Before you become a stay-at-home mom you and your spouse should discuss your shared compensation. Assuming your decision to become a stay at home mom is mutual. Meaning you and your husband believe it will make life better for the entire family. This is definitely a brilliant idea, and if this is your current situation, it’s important that you discuss how much that will cost.
There are many ways to structure this…
A flat rate
A percentage rate
A flat rate means your husband will share an agreed upon amount every week (you can totally change the frequency to every other week, or once a month, or whatever is best for you two and his current pay schedule).
✓ Easy to set up with direct deposit
✓ Predictable income stream
The second option is a percentage rate. This means taking a percentage of his earnings every week. You’ll have to decide what percentage will work for you. For example, if your husband makes $1,000 a week and you agree to 20%, you’ll get $200 a week. You’ll have to decide if this is net (after taxes, insurances and other deductions) or gross (before deductions).
✓ Easy to set up with direct deposit
✓ Your pay will increase as his pay increases (and decrease if his pay decreases)
If you and your spouse choose future earnings, this means you opt out of receiving money now in exchange of securing your financial future. Meaning, he can contribute to a retirement account (like a spousal IRA) on your behalf. You may consider this option if your current income is unearned (i.e. rental income, royalties and dividends), which can not be contributed to a retirement account. That way you are still able to contribute and secure your financial future.
✓ Tax benefit for him (and you as a couple)
✓ Retirement savings for you
Lastly, if you decide to stay home and not want your husband to share any monies. You may consider this option because…
you already have your own income streams that feel sufficient
you have access to a joint account that has ample resources to pay for what you need
your partner already pays for everything
✓ Financial codependence
You can also combine the approaches above. For example, you may agree to a percentage of his pay as well as future earnings. Meaning you are sharing a weekly salary and he is also contributing a retirement account for you.
In addition to or instead of your husband's salary, you can create you own income streams. While working remotely, part-time or per diem are flexible work options, rental property better compliments the needs of a stay at home mom (in my personal opinion). It typically doesn’t require separating from your children on a regular basis. Companies like Turo and getaround allow you to rent out your car. And Neighbor allows you to rent out a parking spot, garage, attic, office space and more. You can also find baby-friendly work, or even start your own entity. Starting your own entity means registering an EIN (employee identification number) so that your organization/business will be a legal entity that can hire family, open bank accounts, collaborate with others, and more.
Make sure the thing you start is something you absolutely love and feels like an extension of who you already are, so that it isn't a burden while you care for your little ones.
Here's an example of what your income streams could look like...
In the above example only 22% of this stay-at-home moms earnings come from her spouse (base pay). The other 78% are from sources she has set up. But they are each equally important to the stability of her stay-at-home journey. The ultimate goal (in my personal opinion) should be to live off of one of your income sources, so that you are able to save the rest. It is also a great idea for a stay-at-home mom to save 3-5 years of earnings, instead of the 3-6 months often recommended. But if you were thrown into being a stay-at-home mom (meaning it was not part of your initial parenting plan), know that this can take time. Please also know you can design and structure your income sources however you want.
Do Stay-At-Home Moms Get Pay Raises?
They should. The average pay increase (for employees) is 3% per year. This is to keep up with inflation and the cost of living. Hopefully as a stay-at-home mom you are able to reward yourself with that or more.
Similar to an employed position, you may want to revisit your agreement with your spouse every year to keep up with a growing family.
Meaning, if you have more children, you may want to update the plan you initially agreed to.
It's also healthy to regularly meet about your finances, so you're both on the same page about the family's financial direction.
If you have a spouse who isn't into finances, as much as you are, that's totally fine. Continue to set your own financial goals -- ones that will meet your financial needs and help grow your financial confidence. Many moms swear by this planner, because it helps them plan their goals, create a vision board, document their wins and things they want to improve. It has stickers, habit trackers, to do lists, and more.
The same company also sells a budget and wellness planner. The downside is that the format may be overwhelming (especially to those with sensory overload), the spaces may be too small (for certain writing styles), and the book may be too heavy. If you prefer free-writing (meaning no writing prompts), a simple white board you hang on your wall and light-weight pocket journals from your local dollar store may be a better option.
In addition to writing out your plans, the entire google suite (including google calendar, google tasks, google sheets, and google reminders) are also "free" and super helpful in organizing family life.
Tech moms may prefer a smart hub. It basically works as their assistant to create routines, and streamline house activities on one device. This one can even trigger soothing lullabies if it hears a baby cry.
What Are The Biggest Financial Downsides Of Being A Stay-At-Home Mom?
Lenders may not take you seriously. Even if you have consistent income streams, a long credit history (7+ years) and an excellent credit score (over 800), you may still be viewed as a risky investment. Even though you may be super proud to be a stay at home mom, it may be wise to use another title (like property manager) when applying for credit.
You may be thinking -- borrowing money may not be the smartest idea for stay-at-home moms. However, there are so many financial products and they are not solely for lending. For example, cash back cards are a form of modern day couponing. Meaning instead of clipping savings from the local paper, you can use a cash back credit card. But you MUST pay the entire balance EVERY month, to reap the rewards. Which means you are not using it for lending, but simply a money saving tool.
This one is stay-at-home mom-friendly and will give you a $cash credit if you use it within 3 months (at the time of me writing this). This one is currently offering a $cash bonus, if you spend a certain amount within 3 months. Please know these benefits can change at any time -- so definitely visit both pages to see their current offerings. For both cards, you can charge groceries. Just remember to pay the ENTIRE balance.
What's The Smartest Way For A Spouse To Pay A Stay-At-Home Mom?
Cash, checks and money transfers, could work, but direct deposit is better (in my personal opinion). Your husband can set it up with his employer. Meaning he can split his weekly pay into two accounts — yours and his. He can also set whether the payment is a flat rate or a percentage of his pay.
Another benefit of direct depositing the funds into an account that you manage, is you’ll also be able to practice your money management skills. For example, staying on top of CD rates, bonds and high yield accounts so that your money is making money while it sits.
How Do You Split Bills As A Stay-At-Home Mom?
My suggestion is to pay for everything the family needs (not wants) to ensure that the unit is financially stable. Which means paying for the mortgage, utilities, groceries, clothes and kid’s activities.
How Do You Pay The Bills If You Make Way Less Money?
By ensuring that all of your expenses are covered through your earnings. This means getting super familiar with your numbers (i.e. how much you make and how much you spend). We also made a sample calendar to help you figure out how to have fun with your little ones for free (or close to free). It essentially is a schedule full of days at the beach, playground, library, and more. Since your partner may have more disposable income they may splurge on vacations, eating out, and all the shopping sprees the kids want.
Isn’t Your Husband Paying For Everything If He Is Splitting His Income With You?
The money you gain from your spouse as a stay-at-home mom is well earned -- it’s not free money.
You are often working throughout the night (at a very steep discount) to make sure that your family thrives. Instead of relying on outside entities (i.e., a babysitter, daycare, chef, laundry service), you are relying on each other. And your spouse is intentionally reimbursing you as the backbone and heartbeat of your home.
He is putting full faith in your ability to make sure that the family is well-fed, nurtured and loved. His repayment is a super intentional investment in the unit. And means that the money earned within the family — stays within the family. So again, this isn’t money he is simply splitting or sharing with you. You continuously work super hard to earn your piece of the pie.
Also depending on how your partner spends can determine whether or not bills are paid. There are tons of people that make more than enough to cover their bills, but may pay bills late, forget to pay their bills, or mismanage their funds to the point that they do not have enough to pay their bills each month.
This is why two can be better than one. Everyone brings different skill sets to a team.
Your ability to organize and maintain the family's finances, strongly compliments your husband's ability to make and grow it. Both skills are super important and add tremendous value to the family structure. I love this book because it beautifully demonstrates the need for opposite strengths. It doesn't speak about money specifically, instead it focuses on the need for complimenting energies.
Of course, there isn’t one way to do anything. There are also bill splitting apps which are becoming more popular. And the following video details another couple’s way of splitting their bills. You’ll see how their strategy changed from their dating years to after marriage. The video also covers joint vs separate accounts, and short-term vs long-term financial goals.
Is The Stay-At-Home Mom's Income Taxable?
It depends on how you are getting paid. If you are paid with after-tax money from your husband's salary, then it's not taxable -- because the money has already been taxed. But if you are paid from rental income sources, a business you have started or any other pre-tax sources, you will have to pay taxes on that income. Here are the 2023 tax rates.
How Long Should A Stay-At-Home Mom Stay Home?
Every family is different. I've met a mom who stayed home until she sent her last child to pre-school. I've also met moms who've spent their careers home. It's totally up to you how long you decide to be home with your children. Whatever the length, I hope you have an amazing time!