Stay at Home Calculator: Can You Afford to Stay Home?

Can’t decide whether to stay home with your baby or go back to work?

The stay-at-home parent faces the challenge of choosing either the guilt that comes from being away from their children or the guilt of not contributing to the family’s finances. It’s an unfair situation.

This stay-at-home calculator will help two-income households determine if it is financially feasible for one spouse to stay at home. It will calculate how much money you would make as a stay-at-home parent and how much money you would lose in taxes, childcare expenses, etc. so that both spouses can make an informed decision about what is best for them and their family.

How to use this calculator

  1. Enter your after tax monthly income at the top.
  2. Enter all your expenses that you incur directly as a result of working (childcare, gas to work, etc.)
  3. Enter any expenses that will be new if you decide to stay home (paying for your own health insurance if necessary, etc.)
  4. Estimate the “soft costs” of your job (takeout for dinner, housecleaner, etc.)
  5. Hit calculate. This is how much you are really getting paid at your job each month. You can email the results to yourself or someone else, or print them out for later.

Stay At Home Calculator

  • Child care
  • Gas, Tolls, Parking For Commute
  • Lunches Out
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Work Wardrobe
  • Business Education
  • Loss Of Tax Credits For Lower Income Earners (Child Tax Credit, Etc)
  • Healthcare
  • Retirement Fund
  • Anything Paid For By Employer You Will Replace Yourself (Gym Membership, Etc)
  • Child Care Tax Credit
  • Entertainment For Children Who Will Be Home All Day
  • House Cleaner
  • Take Out
  • More Grooming (Hair Cuts) Etc For Work
  • Stress Relief

Send This Result to Email

Use this stay at home calculator to determine if you can stay home without hurting your family’s overall financial situation

laptop open to online calculator for stay at home moms

Calculate the effects of switching from a two-income household to a one-income household to see if you can afford to be a stay-at-home mom.

Childcare is expensive, and working has other costs

Of course, childcare is a huge expense for a working parent. But don’t forget about gas, tolls, and parking. You may even be able to do without a second car in your family if you stop working. And what about lunches out during the workday, work clothes, extra haircuts, and other small expenses that add up over time? These costs can be difficult to quantify, but when you consider them, they might push your stay-at-home budget over the edge.

Sometimes working pushes your income above a certain level, and you no longer qualify for certain stimulus or tax refunds.

Don’t forget the “soft costs of working”

When both parents work, it’s hard to cook dinner at home. Your children might pick up sicknesses at daycare, which increases healthcare costs. You may have to hire out things like lawn care and housework. There are so many little costs of working when children are involved.

But leaving your job has hidden expenses too

Does your employer cover things like health insurance or a gym membership? Would you have to pay for those on your own if you left?

Are you considered a stay-at-home parent for your 401K, and if so, how much will you lose in terms of future savings? Do you want to continue your career at some point? What will your return have cost you in lost experience and lost opportunity?

Use this calculator to help you decide what to do next.

From childcare to taxes, all of these considerations will become clearer after you use the stay-at-home calculator and see the results.

What if there’s a big difference? Now what?

You have two options: increase income or reduce expenses. Maybe your spouse can get a higher-paying job. Maybe you can move to a smaller house or sell your car. Or maybe you can cut expenses or dip into savings while you are home.

❤️ Related: How to Afford to Stay Home with Your Baby

It’s your choice

The calculator can only get you so far. Ultimately, deciding to be a stay-at-home parent or to keep your job is up to you. What do you think is best for children? What do you think is best for you? If you flipped a coin, which way would you hope it landed?

I wish you the best of luck making your decision. Please stay a while and look for ideas to help you live frugally at home and find success as a stay-at-home mom if that is what you choose.