Factors to consider before making the leap

Quit My Job to Be a Stay at Home Mom?

TDS Reader Contributors

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The Problem

I am considering quitting my part-time job of 18 years. I work 20 hours per week (sometimes more, but never 40 hours). I work for a large chemical company and believe it or not make a good wage. I work 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Mon-Fri. My hours are not negotiable. I have a set schedule and couldn't, for example, work 8:00 a.m. - 12 noon.

I am looking for tips, encouragement, advice help from other "Stretcher" subscribers. I am having a hard time making the decision whether or not to quit. My husband supports my decision, no matter what it is. Also, if I did quit, I wouldn't be giving up any health or dental benefits because my husband also works for the same company. We have one child, age 9. We have a small amount of credit card debt, a mortgage payment and a car payment. We live in a small town in the South where the cost of living is low.

I have tried to find a local high school student who could keep my child so I can continue working, but haven' had any luck. I don't have family to keep my child and have no brothers or sisters. Any tips or information or resources, books that would help me to make my decision would be helpful.

Read "How to Survive"

The only book that I know of that does an excellent job on this subject is "How to Survive Without a Salary" by Charles Long. This book combines most of the ideas you will find in how-to-budget and frugality books and also goes into excellent detail on the type of life you will most likely lead after you quit your job. You should be able to find it at your local library. If it's not there, have the librarians check to see if it's located somewhere in the state.

I don't advocate reading more than one book at a time if you are about to change your lifestyle; which you undoubtedly will when you trade off your current standard of living for what may become a better quality of life. However, during this process you will need your share of success stories and practical low-cost solutions to better handle life's various problems. The Bible for most frugal oriented individuals has been The Tightwad Gazette series by Amy Dacyzyn.

Charles Long's book will help you create a simple long-term plan and will inform you of sources of merchandise that perhaps you may have never considered before. Amy Dacyzyn's books will give you a more holistic understanding of the frugal lifestyle. The Tightwad Gazette series is loaded with more money saving ideas and life changing testimonies than any other book in print because thousands of people contributed towards the publication.

"How to Survive Without a Salary" will give you a means to establish your foundation and structure. "The Tightwad Gazette" will provide the ends and help you realize a more fulfilling and creative lifestyle. When you read them in order, rather than simultaneously, you will get a truly excellent picture on the frugal path you are about to take and the lifestyle that will follow. Then you can make an informed decision.
Steve L

Use Your Network to find Sitter

I have a suggestion for the woman who works 18-20 hours per week and is considering giving up her job due to child care problems. I also work between 15-25 hours per week and make a pretty good wage. I have one child age 9, small credit card debt, mortgage and car payment. I live in a small town located on the eastern shore. No family or relatives around. My gosh! I could be you. I solved my child care problem by networking with trusted people that I met through church, neighbors, etc. Last year I had a girl (15 years old) come to my home for $10.00/day. My son loved her. This summer I employed my physician's daughter who was looking for part-time summer work, again my son enjoys her company. The assistant pastor at our church (and I'm sure at your church) has a wealth of names, and numbers of girls (and boys) looking for "part-time" summer work. I interview these kids and pick the ones whose personality matches my sons.

I really think you should keep your part-time job for "adult" reasons. Working makes me feel more organized at home and gives me work "friends" to vent my problems to. Lastly, pray about your decision and I'm sure you'll make the right one.

Become a Babysitter

Since you seem to be having trouble finding someone to care for your child while you're working, have you ever considered taking up babysitting in your home? This way you can be at home with your child and make a little money at the same time, and you're also helping some other mom who can't find daycare for their child.

How It's Done

I just found an excellent resource which I am reading called "Miserly Moms, Living on One Income in a Two Income Economy" by Jonni McCoy. Mrs. McCoy explains how she quit an excellent job as a Senior Buyer for Apple Computer and cut their family income in 1/2. They lived in a very expensive area. She has been able to cut their grocery bill to $40.00/week for a family of 4. She also gives lists of other references which I have found helpful.

(editor's note: Miserly Moms is available through Amazon.com. It's one book that we regularly recommend.)

What Do You Really Earn?

I have recently been in your shoes concerning whether to leave my job or continue.
I worked part time in a VERY stressful job and it finally got the best of me. If you're like me, you probably think you can not afford to quit. However, I urge you to add up the REAL cost of your job. What exactly do you get to keep?? Subtract from your wage all expenses related to your job - childcare, taxes, gas, extra convience foods, commuting time, meals away from home, and stress relievers, etc.. and see what happens. When I did this I found my true pay was $1.13 per hour!!!! Needless to say, I quit. I realized that by cutting back in some areas - this web site can help - I am saving more money than when I worked.

In addition, I can not recommend enough the book " How To Get What You Want In Life With The Money You Already Have" by Carol Keeffe. This book is incredibly inspiring and uplifting. You will learn about what you really want in life. Only you know whether or not the job is worth keeping. Do the benefits outweigh the negatives?

There Are Choices

If this mother has a nine-year-old child, and works from 11 a. m. to 3 p. m., then I don't see what the problem is? A nine-year-old is in school all day, and I'm sure there is a gap of less than an hour between Mom getting home and child getting home from school, can she ask a neighbor to keep kid until she gets home--like I said, less than an hour? --or-- does the school district have an after-school program that her child can stay at until Mom can pick child up? Child would not have to stay entire time? However, if this Mom truly feels that she should be there for her child when he/she gets home--then by all means do it! The $ will never replace the prime time, first 20-30 minutes home from school when kid wants to tell you all the details of their day!

We've Done It

In May of this year, I also quit my part-time job of 14 years. Your right, it's a step not to be taken lightly! I started working toward this goal about two years in advance, but you may not need that much time to prepare. I took a hard look at our debt (boy, what a shock!), set up a pay-off plan that I felt we could live with and not feel deprived, and started reading everything I could regarding frugality. After I reached my goal, I was still hesitant, so I banked everything I made to see if we really could live on one income. I too made a very good wage, but I was so miserable that somedays I went to work doubled with such pain that I was sure the only thing I was gaining was an ulcer! Now that I'm home, I can't believe I lived like that for so long. Good luck in your decision. Believe me, your family is the better choice, and that place will go on without you!

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