Stay At Home Calculator: Can I Afford To Be a Stay At Home Mom or Dad?

Stay At Home Calculator Sign

This calculator will help two-income households to determine the financial effects of transitioning to a one-income household.

When both parents work outside of the home, it often adds the need for a second vehicle, daycare services, and a host of other expenses that wouldn't be necessary if only one parent worked outside of the home.

The calculator on this page will alert you to, and add up, all of the expenses and taxes that you are paying to maintain your household's second income.

Next, the calculator will calculate the net effects of eliminating those expenses and taxes if one parent quits their work to become a stay at home parent, and then displays the results in a side-by-side comparison chart.

Finally, the calculator results also include a Printer Friendly Report button so you can print out all entries and results for later study.

Read more ...

Also on this page:

Stay At Home Calculator

Calculate net-effects of switching from a two-income household to a one-income household to see if you can afford to be a SAHM or SAHD.

Learn More

Selected Data Record:

A Data Record is a set of calculator entries that are stored in your web browser's Local Storage. If a Data Record is currently selected in the "Data" tab, this line will list the name you gave to that data record. If no data record is selected, or you have no entries stored for this calculator, the line will display "None".

DataData recordData recordSelected data record: None
Individual Entries
Gross annual income:

Gross annual income:

Enter the gross annual incomes of you and your spouse in their respective fields, without dollar signs and commas.

$
$
Annual deductible contributions:

Annual deductible contributions:

Enter the annual contributions you each make to qualified retirement plans (IRA, 401K, etc.). Do not include contributions made by your employers (there is a separate line for those).

$
$
Other deductible contributions:

Other deductible contributions:

Enter the other deductible contributions you each make (Health Savings Account, Flexible Spending Account, etc.).

$
$
Annual 401K employer match:Annual 401K employer matching funds:Annual 401K employer matching funds:Annual 401K employer matching funds:

Annual 401K employer matching funds:

Enter the annual amount your respective employers match each of your qualified contributions to a qualified retirement plan.

$
$
Mutual Entries
Allowances:# w/h allowances:# of withholding allowances:Number of withholding allowances:

Number of withholding allowances:

The number of withholding allowances is typically the same as the number in your household, but can be adjusted for tax purposes.

#
Child credit:Child tax credit:Annual childcare tax credit:Annual childcare tax credit (IRS Form 2441):

Annual childcare tax credit (IRS Form 2441):

The annual childcare tax credit you would lose if you no longer paid for daycare. Last time I checked, this amount was listed on line #12 of Form 2441.

$
State tax:tax rate:income tax rate:income tax percentage rate:

State income tax percentage rate:

Enter your state income tax percentage. If unsure about your state tax rate percentage, click the state link for a general guide. Of course it's always best to find out your exact rate from a qualified tax advisor.

%
Your Job-Related Entries
Ann quit exp:Annual quit exp:Annual expenses if you quit:Annual out-of-pocket expenses if you quit working:

Annual out-of-pocket expenses if you quit working:

Enter the annual total of any benefit payments you will have to start making if you quit working (health insurance, dental plans, out of pocket medical expenses, etc.).

$
Wdays/wk:Workdays/week:Number of workdays per week:Number of days you work per week:

Number of days you work per week:

Enter the average number of days you work each week.

#
Work hrs/d:Work hrs/day:Work hours per workday:Number of hours you work per work day:

Number of hours you work per work day:

Enter the average number of hours you work each work day.

#
Annual Stay At Home Savings

Annual Stay At Home Savings

For each of the following rows, enter the annual amount you expect to save if you quit your job to become a stay-at-home Mom or Dad. Each row's popup tooltip ("i" icon) includes a mini calc for converting non-annual amounts into annual amounts.

Car:Car:Car savings:Car savings:
Miles/day:
#
Or save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Car savings:

Enter the annual cost to drive your own car to and from work. Or, if you want the calculator to figure your annual mileage cost, expand the description and enter the work-related miles you drive each work day (be sure to include any miles driven to and from lunch). The calculator will calculate your monthly cost at 55-cents per mile (IRS deductible mileage expense) at 52 weeks per year. Finally, if quitting work will allow you to sell the car, then instead of entering the miles per workday, simply enter the savings per period (car payment, insurance, gasoline, etc.) and select the corresponding period. Be sure you leave the unwanted calculation field blank in the expanded calculator.

$
Clothing:Clothing:Clothing savings:Clothing savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Clothing savings:

Enter the annual clothing cost you will save if you quit work. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Daycare:Daycare:Daycare savings:Daycare savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Daycare savings:

Enter the annual daycare savings you would realize if you stayed at home. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Dine out:Dining out:Dining out savings:Dining out savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Dining out savings:

Enter the annual dining out cost you will save if you quit work. Be sure to include the cost of work-related snacks and beverages, as well as family dining-out meals that are caused by the time constraints of working outside the home. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Dry clean:Dry cleaning:Dry cleaning savings:Dry cleaning savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Dry cleaning savings:

Enter the annual dry cleaning cost you will save if you quit work. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Fares:Fares, tolls, fees:Fares, tolls, fees savings:Fares, tolls, fees savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Fares, tolls, fees savings:

Enter the annual cost of fares (air, bus, taxi, etc.), tolls, and parking fees you will save if you quit work. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Image:Grooming/image:Grooming and image savings:Grooming and image savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Grooming and image savings:

Enter the annual grooming cost you will save if you quit work. This would include things like hair styling and beauty products. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Mistakes:Poor decisions:Poor decisions savings:Poor decisions savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Poor decision savings:

Enter the estimated annual cost of making poor buying decisions due to lack of time for adequate price, product, and service research. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Prof serv:Prof services:Professional services savings:Professional services savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Professional services savings:

Enter the annual cost of professional services that could be eliminated. This would include services such as housekeepers, painters, lawn services, and the like. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Stress:Stress relief:Stress relief savings:Stress relief savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Stress relief savings:

Enter the annual stress-relieving expenditures that could be eliminated. This would include costs such as massages, spa treatments, chiropractor, medications, and the like. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Tools:Tools of trade:Tools of trade savings:Tools of trade savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Tools of trade savings:

Enter the annual cost of buying and maintaining the tools of your trade that could be eliminated. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Other:Other:Other savings:Other savings:
Save amt:
$
Frequency:
Annual:

Other savings:

Enter the annual cost of any other unreimbursed, work-related expenditures you can think of. Expand the description in this row to convert a non-annual expense amount into an annual amount that will be entered into the form for you.

$
Tot savings:Total savings:Total estimated annual savings:Total estimated annual savings:

Total estimated annual savings:

This your estimated total annual savings from quitting work to stay at home.

Calculated Results
Tap the text for a description of each row result.
Taxable IncomeBothSpouse Only
Gross annual income:Gross annual income:Gross annual income:Gross annual income:Gross annual income

Gross annual income:

The Both column is your combined gross income.

The Spouse Only column would be your household income if you quit work to stay at home.

Less ded contribute:Less ded contributions:Less deductible contributions:Less deductible contributions:Less deductible contributions:

Less deductible contributions:

The Both column is your combined deductible contributions.

The Spouse Only column would be your deductible contributions if you quit work to stay at home. These figures are only used to figure your taxable income in both cases.

Less dependent ded:Less dependent ded:Less dependent deduction:Less dependent deduction:Less dependent deduction:

Less dependent deduction:

Both columns show the same deduction for dependents

Ann taxable income:Annual taxable income:Annual taxable income:Annual taxable income:Annual taxable income:

Annual taxable income:

The Both column is your combined taxable income.

The Spouse Only column would be your taxable income if you quit work to stay at home. These figures are only used to figure your federal and state income taxes in both cases.

Estimated Income TaxesBothSpouse Only
Federal income tax:Federal income tax:Federal income tax:Federal income tax:Federal income tax:

Federal income tax:

The Both column is your combined estimated federal income tax, minus any child care credit you entered in the Mutual section of the calculator.

The Spouse Only column would be your federal income tax if you quit work to stay at home -- in which case you would likely not qualify for the child care credit. These figures are deducted from gross income for the purpose of arriving at your net income.

FICA SS tax:FICA Social Security tax:FICA Social Security tax:FICA Social Security tax:FICA Social Security tax:

FICA Social Security tax:

The Both column is your combined Social Security tax

The Spouse Only column would be your Medicare tax if you quit work to stay at home. These figures are deducted from gross income for the purpose of arriving at your net income.

FICA Medicare tax:FICA Medicare tax:FICA Medicare tax:FICA Medicare tax:FICA Medicare tax:

FICA Medicare tax:

The Both column is your combined Medicare tax

The Spouse Only column would be your Medicare tax if you quit work to stay at home -- in which case you would likely receive a lower Social Security retirement benefit. These figures are deducted from gross income for the purpose of arriving at your net income.

State income tax:State income tax:State income tax:State income tax:State income tax:

State income tax:

The Both column is your combined State income tax (federal taxable income X entered state tax rate).

The Spouse Only column would be your State income tax if you quit work to stay at home. These figures are deducted from gross income for the purpose of arriving at your net income.

Total taxes:Total taxes:Total taxes:Total taxes:Total taxes:

Total taxes:

The Both column is your combined total tax liability.

The Spouse Only column would be your total tax liability if you quit work to stay at home. These figures are deducted from gross income for the purpose of arriving at your net income.

Comparative AnalysisBothSpouse Only
Net income:Net income:Net income:Net income:Net income:

Net income:

The Both column is your combined net income, which includes any 401K employer matching contributions from both employers.

The Spouse Only column would be your net income if you quit work to stay at home, which only includes employer matching contributions from your spouse's employer.

NOTE: The calculator does not attempt to calculate the lost earnings from retirement accounts, so you need to take that into consideration as well.

Plus SAH savings:Plus SAH savings:Plus stay-at-home savings:Plus stay-at-home savings:Plus stay-at-home savings:

Plus stay-at-home savings:

The Both column is not applicable.

The Spouse Only column would be your estimated annual, work-related expense savings if you quit work to stay at home, which is added to your spouse's net income for comparison purposes.

Less SAH expenses:Less SAH expenses:Less stay-at-home expenses:Less stay-at-home expenses:Less stay-at-home expenses:

Less stay-at-home expenses:

The Both column is not applicable.

The Spouse Only column would be your estimated increase in out of pocket expenses if you quit work to stay at home, which is deducted from your spouse's net income for comparison purposes.

Net effect:Net effect:Net effect:Net effect:Net effect:

Net effect:

The Both column is the same as your combined net income from the line above.

The Spouse Only column would be your effective net income if you quit work to stay at home.

Net quit loss/gain:Net quit loss/gain:Net loss/gain from quitting work:Net loss/gain from quitting work:Net loss/gain from quitting work:

Net loss/gain from quitting work:

The Both column is not applicable.

The Spouse Only column indicates how much the household would lose (-) or gain if you quit work to stay at home.

Your eff hourly rate:Your effective hourly pay:Your effective hourly pay rate:Your effective hourly pay rate:Your effective hourly pay rate:

Your effective hourly pay rate:

The Both column is not applicable.

The Spouse Only column is how much you are actually financially contributing to the household per hour of work.

If you would like to save the current entries to the secure online database, tap or click on the Data tab, select "New Data Record", give the data record a name, then tap or click the Save button. To save changes to previously saved entries, simply tap the Save button. Please select and "Clear" any data records you no longer need.

Help and Tools

Learn

An alternative to stay-at-home, and which is better, two household incomes or one?

What If I Can't Afford To Be A SAHM or SAHD?

If it turns out you can't afford to quit your job to become a stay at home mom or dad, you can do what I did and become a work at home parent. Considering how much you will save working from home, you may not need to earn a lot to be able to quit your job to work from home.

Thanks to a company called Solo Build It! (SBI) and their step-by-step Action Guide for turning your passion into an online business, I was able to transition to being a work at home parent -- with my work from home income eventually surpassing what I used to make as an employee.

I started my online business in April of 2010 with just a computer and a $30 monthly SBI subscription, and have since become just one of SBI's many success stories -- many of whom are now work-at-home parents. And if a former janitor/short-order-cook like me can do it, so can you!

Note that due to the success I've experienced it was a no-brainer to become an affiliate for SBI. So if you decide to give SBI a try, please be aware that I will receive a small affiliate commission.

A Note to Single Parents

Let me first start by saying that my heart goes out to you if you are a single parent who has little if any choice as to whether or not you can afford to be a stay at home parent. Sadly, with half of all marriages ending in divorce (many caused by disagreements over those little pieces of paper we refer to as "money"), my heart is going out to a lot of people.

Sure, it is possible to start a home-based business that would allow a single parent to work from home. However, making that transition is extremely difficult. After all, since it can take several years for a business to become profitable, a single parent would likely have to hold down a full-time job while building their business from home. And what single parent has time for that?

So, Which is Better?

While there are legitimate arguments from both sides as to whether or not families are better off with a stay-at-home parent, what bothers me the most is the fact that the financial aspects of the decision are normally only considered after the fact -- when parents already have children, and they are already holding down full-time jobs.

In other words, very few of us ever make a financial plan for having children ahead of having them. The primary reason? Because that's what our parents did, and no one ever taught us any differently.

But at Least We Can Bake Cup Cakes

In my opinion, Home Economics should be just as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic when it comes to educating our children. Unfortunately, at least in the case of my family's experience, "Home Ec" was little more than a brief lesson in baking cupcakes.

That's outrageous! Especially when you consider the financial complexities of today's households.

A Society of Pin Balls

The truth is, most households today are more financially complex than most small businesses of the past, yet they have no business plan, no accountant, no budget, no purchasing manager, and so on.

And the general thinking process seems to be, "If we make enough money we won't need to worry about our finances." The result? A society full of people bouncing from one higher paying job to the next -- much like a bunch of pinballs on one giant pinball machine -- without ever stopping long enough to see if what we're doing even makes sense.

What Should Be the Deciding Factor?

When it comes to deciding whether or not it's feasible for you to quit work to be a stay at home parent, I think that the most important thing to consider is which choice will result in happier parents. After all, unhappy parents can't possibly be good for children.

But when I say "happy parents," I'm not referring to parents whose happiness depends on the quantity and quality of their inanimate objects (objects that can't love them back!).

Instead, I'm talking about parents who are happy because they are living a balanced life and they are engaged in a work that they find self-fulfilling -- regardless of whether that work is being a stay at home parent, or running a fortune 500 company.

What Ends Up Being the Deciding Factor?

Unfortunately, since most of us were taught that "more money and more things" leads to "more happiness," and since we have easy access to credit (allowing us to have more things with less upfront money), the financial aspects of quitting work to stay at home must now be considered. Because regardless of how much happier you and the children might be if you could quit work to be a stay at home parent, that happiness can be offset by an onslaught of creditors pounding on your door -- all looking for repayment for all the happiness they fronted you in the past.

Adjust Calculator Width:

Move the slider to left and right to adjust the calculator width. Note that the Help and Tools panel will be hidden when the calculator is too wide to fit both on the screen. Moving the slider to the left will bring the instructions and tools panel back into view.

Also note that some calculators will reformat to accommodate the screen size as you make the calculator wider or narrower. If the calculator is narrow, columns of entry rows will be converted to a vertical entry form, whereas a wider calculator will display columns of entry rows, and the entry fields will be smaller in size ... since they will not need to be "thumb friendly".

Show/Hide Popup Keypads:

Select Show or Hide to show or hide the popup keypad icons located next to numeric entry fields. These are generally only needed for mobile devices that don't have decimal points in their numeric keypads. So if you are on a desktop, you may find the calculator to be more user-friendly and less cluttered without them.

Stick/Unstick Tools:

Select Stick or Unstick to stick or unstick the help and tools panel. Selecting "Stick" will keep the panel in view while scrolling the calculator vertically. If you find that annoying, select "Unstick" to keep the panel in a stationary position.

If the tools panel becomes "Unstuck" on its own, try clicking "Unstick" and then "Stick" to re-stick the panel.