Why One Income May be Better than Two for Your Family

Many families assume that if mom and dad are both working then the family will have more money to live on and will have a better quality of life. However, that is not necessarily the case especially if both parents aren’t college educated with the potential for getting high paying jobs. Not to mention, if the family lives in a very expensive area where childcare is really expensive then one parent staying home with the child could very well be the best option.

For example, assume one parent has a college education and the other does not. The educated spouse has a job making $50,000 per year while the uneducated spouse is making $22,000 per year. Now, take into account childcare. If the family has two children and are paying for daycare then the annual cost for daycare is an average of $16,300 or $8,150 per child. That’s just the national average and in some states each child may attend daycare for as low as $6,000 per year or as much as $14,000 per year. Regardless, when you consider that the working parent is basically working to pay childcare costs not to mention the gas to drive to and from work, children who are frequently sick, and the guilt of not raising your own child then you see that having one parent stay home with the kids, at least until they are in regular school can make economic sense.

When one parent stays home they are better able to have a home cooked meal on the table when the breadwinner arrives. This provides a more nutritious meal for the family not to mention saves money from not eating out. Also, the stay at home parent can clean the home and the expense of a cleaner is not necessary. These are all of the reasons why a family may find that having one parent stay home with the kids is actually more affordable than having both parents working.

It’s really important for the family to look at the numbers and see what makes financial sense. If one parent is working and only really bringing in $1000 to the family over the period of a year then that’s not a good reason to work. The stay at home parent would be better off getting a part time job on weekends where the other parent cared for the kids than actually working full time. Sitting down and doing the math is helpful, but this is a real option for many families. Consider what you make and what you need to live and see if you can make it on one salary. You probably can if you cut back enough and learn to appreciate your family more than financial convenience.


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