I never dreamed of being a housewife. When I was younger, my idea of family means the husband and I will work to provide for the family. I will have a career, stable job, and money of my own. When it comes to our kids, we can find a reliable househelp and then leave the kids with our parents. Of course, that didn’t happen.
One, it is difficult to find a reliable helper these days. Two, there are certain instances in life when one has to give up something for the family. When it comes to that something, it could mean career.
That’s what I did. I gave up law school when I found out I was pregnant with Baby Number Two and became a housewife, or stay-at-home mom, like what many others call it. It’s a big sacrifice on my part (and I’m sure it is the same with all the moms out there who are struggling to find balance between personal growth and family life). At the same time, there were money concerns since I’m not the type who just ask money from the husband and rely on him every time I want something. I want to work hard to buy myself the things I want and need. Plus, there was some pride on my part.
Here’s the challenge for us SAHMs: How to achieve financial stability despite being at home and not having a career of our own.
I haven’t perfected this formula yet, but here are the things I do to help me save up and prepare for the future:
1) Look for a decent source of income.
One of the things I like about living today is that there are many income-generating opportunities available without leaving the comfort of our homes. Don’t just settle with what the husband will give you. Fine, your share of responsibility is to take care of the family, but to achieve financial freedom, you need to look for opportunities to earn for yourself, no matter how small or big the amount may be.
Opening your online shop may be your first option, but make sure to explore other opportunities such as getting an online job. There are many employers all over the world who are looking for writers, graphic designers, virtual assistants, web developers, transcriptionists, and the list is endless. Know your skills and maximize on it to earn.
Tip: If you want to pursue online work, go for long-term jobs instead of per-project basis. You will be able to save more than just aiming for one-time projects.
2) Take it easy on spending.
As a stay-at-home mom, the household is operating on one income, which is that of your husband (assuming you still haven’t found your income-generating activity yet). Even if you are earning through your online gigs, this doesn’t mean you should spend on everything you want.
To be financially stable, one must be disciplined when it comes to spending. I always have the tendency to shop for my kids, arguing that I used my own money to pay for the things I bought. My husband would always remind me that it doesn’t matter whose money was used since an expense will always be an expense.
Therefore, take it easy on spending and distinguish needs from wants. Even if you are using your own money to pay for your purchases, every centavo spent means money leaving your bank account. Be wise with your purchases, thereby leading you to this next tip.
3) Stay away from your credit card.
Once upon a time, I was swimming in a pool of credit card debt (READ: Tips on How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt). Fast forward today, I was able to pay off my credit card debts and became wiser since then. It was really hard worrying about where to get money for payment when I don’t have a regular monthly income.
This is what I want to share to everyone: to take it easy when using credit cards. Most of the time, it is tempting to use those shiny plastic cards since you can pay for your purchases in minimal amounts every month. In the long run, you are not only hurting your credit score but also your financial stability.
4) Think before you quit (your online job, that is).
There was a time when I wanted to quit my regular online job. I became helper-less and running the household with two kids around (plus an online work) can be exhausting. I was at the point of quitting when the husband reminded me about making my own money. Surely, he doesn’t mind giving me “joy funds” or paying for my purchases, but I realized that I don’t want that feeling of being indebted to someone (yes, I am ma-pride). Plus, I don’t have any back-up plans to sustain my needs. What I did was I just evaluated my priorities and practiced proper time management, so I was able to manage everything in my plate.
My point is don’t quit a regular-paying job or business that gives sufficient income every month because of stress and exhaustion. Think about it first, determine the consequences, and make sure you have a back-up. Never, ever decide at the height of your emotions since it could affect your financial stability in the future.
5) Be wise with investments.
Before getting married, my idea of investment was savings, time deposit, and real property. I never invested in stocks or Treasury bills just because I don’t understand how they work, which is wrong. When I got married, the husband opened my eyes on other investment options. With the help of the World Wide Web, I researched about other types of investment and learned about stocks among others. Right now, my husband and I are into stocks and also tried Retail Treasury Bonds (RTBs), and so far, the return is good.
The point is know where you can invest and grow your money. Don’t limit your options with the obvious. Educate yourself about the many ways to boost your money and take a leap of faith. You’ll never know unless you try.
6) Save, save, save.
Saving is still and will always be the easiest way to save money and improve your financial stability. What you can do is to set up an account exclusively for savings and allot certain amount of your monthly budget for it. Make sure there are no withdrawals since you will never know what will happen in the future. It doesn’t matter if it’s P100 or P1,000 every month. The important thing is you set aside an amount and you make it a habit.
Tip: To help you save more, make sure you pay off your loans first. This will be easier to grow your money and make saving more consistent.
Above all this, it is important that you work together with your husband – from budgeting to spending money to investing and everything in between. Discuss and come up with an arrangement that will make the situation favorable to everyone. The excuse, “I’m just a housewife” is not applicable anymore. There are many opportunities you can explore. It all boils down to your determination and willingness to achieve something.
How about you, mommas? Any tips you can share to improve one’s financial stability? Leave a comment below and let’s learn from each other.
Ayi is a stay-at-home mom of two. When her kids are in their best state, she keeps up with chores, work, and ensuring that her sanity is intact. Join her as she navigates through this rollercoaster ride called motherhood.
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Save first. Then spend if any left.