Can You Do It? How to Quit Your Job to Stay Home

Anytime we start a new venture, one thing we have to do is count the costs. Whether it is time, effort, or emotions, we need to understand what it will take to make it happen. Basically, it is planning ahead. When living a Simple Life, one of your goals may be able to quit your job to stay home.

If this is the case, planning ahead is a smart thing to do. Just remember – making such a big change won’t happen overnight. It will take time, effort, and determination. One of the first priorities with a goal to quit your job to stay home is to find ways to adjust your finances to accommodate this change.

Know Your Reasons

bookshelf against orange brick wall. Book titles are What, Who, How, Why, When, Where

If you truly want to quit your job to stay home, you need to know it can be a large step. Before you get serious about it, you need to fully understand the ‘why’ behind your choice. Your reasons need to be sound.  They can be the difference between regretting your choice and fully embracing the change in your lifestyle.

If the only reason you want to make this change is due to the commute, the work itself, or a personality conflict with an employer or co-worker, but you still love the aspect of working outside the home, this change may not be right for you.

Instead, you may want to consider changing companies. If the commute is the issue, try to find something closer to home. If it is the work you do, then determine what you love to do, and search for something that suits you better.

If your reasons involve personality conflicts, you can still try and find a different position. However, be aware that no matter where you go, you may have to deal with the same issue. 

If your reasoning encompasses staying home to raise your children or taking care of your home and family, and it has a stronger pull than being employed outside the home, then it may very well be worth it to quit your job to stay home.

Strengthen Your Finances BEFORE You Quit Your Job to Stay Home

spiral bound notebook opened to a page with Goals written on it in pink ink

Long before you turn in your resignation, you need to set some goals and make plans to achieve them. One of the first goals should be to have enough income (and savings) to allow you to comfortably make this change.

First things first. In order to quit your job to stay home, you need to get your finances in order. To do this, you need to know where you currently stand.  Knowing where you stand with your finances will tell you how much work you have to do to reach your goal. You will need to know exactly (or as close as possible):

  • How much income you have (this includes paychecks, royalties, dividends, etc.)
  • What expenses you have (monthly bills, loans, memberships, groceries, and even the ‘hidden’ expenses)
  • Savings Balance

Once you know exactly how much money you have coming in and what is being spent each month, you can take the next step – the Budget.

Your Budget and Income & Expense Worksheets

a soman sitting at a desk working on her budget

If you don’t already work from a Budget and Income & Expense worksheet (IEW), you need to start doing so, long before you quit your job to stay home. These two financial records are what you should already be doing to keep control of your money. They will also help to shift from a two-income household to a single-income.

The Budget allows you to have a rough estimate of whether or not you are currently living in the ‘black’, (your income exceeds your expenses), or if you are living in the ‘red’ (your expenses exceed your income).

Your IEW is a more detailed accounting of both your income and expenses. It breaks down each category into specifics. The income section of your Budget may be set up as ‘John’, ‘Mary’, ‘Other’. Your IEW will in turn break down the ‘Other’ section into ‘Dividends’, ‘Gifts’, ‘Royalties’, ‘Bonuses’, etc.

a woman's hand taking money from a man's hand

Knowing exactly where your money is coming from will help you know where you have to adjust. For instance, if you get bonuses at your job, you will have to find ways to offset that income when you quit your job to stay home.

If you work from a Budget and IEW now, then this step will be a bit easier for you. If you don’t, here are a few posts you can read to help you get started:

Helpful Financial Tools to Gain Control of your Money

Gain Control of your Money Now – Basic Finances for Homemakers

Put it to the Test

hand holding white sign with red letters that says 'This is a Test'

Once you have your finances in order, the next step is to see how well you fare living on one income. This will be a major challenge for those who have been living paycheck to paycheck. But the best thing you can do is to dive in.

No, this doesn’t mean you get to quit your job and stay home today. Instead, this is a way you can ‘try it on’ from a financial standpoint, before having to ‘buy’. The goal is to work your way to a point where you can comfortably manage paying all of your expenses with one income and using your income as a buffer and eventually as a savings builder.

magnifying glass on a wooden desk with a green sticky note that says 'Testing'

To start putting it to the test, you need to use your current Budget and IEW to make a Trial Budget. This Trial Budget will reflect any income you will no longer have – paychecks, bonuses, etc.

Using the ‘new’ income, begin working on cutting out any expenses from the current Budget, and eliminating them from the Trial Budget. The first ones to remove would be any that are connected with your job. This would be clothing allowances, transportation, such as subway, train, etc., and any other money you spend FOR YOUR JOB.

Just know that ‘Transportation Expenses’ does not include gasoline expenses. You may no longer be driving each day to get to work, but you will still have to use your vehicle. At this point in the planning stage, it’s best to leave your gasoline expenses as is.

Once you have eliminated work related expenses, look closely at the remaining ones. First, you eliminate any of the ‘extras’, such as gym memberships and other items that are not a priority expense. These are items you can start doing from home.

There are some categories that may need to be considered at the same time. Eating out and the Groceries category are a good example

If your plan is to start cooking from home more and eating out less, you will reduce one, but increase the other. However, when planning well, cooking at home can still save you money. The grocery Budget will need to be increased, but not nearly as much as the amount you spend at restaurants.

Budgeting Tips from the 30’s

Helpful Tips for Finances and Frugal Living

How to Save Money (Even in the Lean Times)

A Fresh Start – How to Ease Your Money Concerns

Are you in the ‘Black’ or ‘Red’?

Now it’s time to see if the adjustments within the Expenses are enough to allow you to quit your job to stay home. Be prepared: there is a good chance you will still be in the red.

If you are in the red, you have three options:

  • Option 1 – go back and look more closely at your expenses, and make sure you have reduced or eliminated as many as possible. This may take some serious thought and consideration. Be sure you aren’t holding onto something that isn’t truly a necessity.
  • Option 2 – consider a home-based side business. This can be a part-time endeavor or a full-fledged business. Either way, it may produce enough income to balance the Budget.
  • Option 3 – continue working until your secondary income changes. That may be through a raise, an inheritance or other resource.

Regardless of whether you are in the red or black, now is still a good time to begin working towards living on a single income. You may not be able to quit your job to stay home yet, but don’t give up hope. It can still be done; you just have a bit more work to do in order to reach your goal.

Reduce or Eliminate Debt

ledger sheet stamped Paid in Full

One of the biggest expenses on a Budget and IEW are in the form of loans and credit card debt. Once you can reduce – or eliminate – these, the chances you have to quit your job to stay home greatly increase. 

On your trial Budget, subtract the amount of money you currently pay on loans and credit cards. Check to see if you will have enough income to live, yet still allow you to quit your job to stay home. If it isn’t, then your next goal is to pay them off.

Make a list of the loans and credit card debt with the current balance. Start with the one that has the least amount owed. This is considered the ‘Snowball Method’. Pay more than the minimum amount owed (as much as you can afford or strive for at least a payment and a half). If possible, make an additional payment or two a year.

Once this loan is paid off, then apply the amount you were paying on it to the next loan on the list. Continue doing this until you have all of your loans paid off.

Two small model houses and a mortgage loan application

The largest loan you may have will be your mortgage. If your goal is to pay this one off early, you can continue with the Snowball Method, and apply the payments you were making on smaller loans to this one.

However, trying to eliminate your mortgage payment before you quit your job to stay home may create frustration, and feel as if your goal is unreachable. Instead, you may want to determine if you can meet your mortgage payment on a single income.

When it comes to credit card debt, most of us only pay the minimum amount due. A few tips to start paying down your balance are:

  • Pay more than the minimum amount
  • Pay twice a month – one payment needs to be at least, or slightly higher than the minimum, the second payment as much as possible.
  • Refrain from using the card as much as possible until the balance is paid

graduating stacks of coins next to a jar filled with coins. All have green seedlings growing from them

NOTE: A few thoughts about Royalty (and other similar outside source) Payments:

  • If you receive Royalty checks, you already know the amount of the check will fluctuate with each payment.
  • Because of the varying amounts, most Royalty payments should NOT be counted on as steady income
  • Royalty payments are a great way to reduce debt. Instead of counting on them as income, use the money to pay down debt, or put them in savings to increase your balance

Live on a Single Income

small glass jar with change in it and a green seedling growing out of it

Before you quit your job to stay home, you need to try and live on a single income before you eliminate the second one.

Try to live on the single income and use the second one to begin paying off debt. At first, you may only be able to use a small portion of your income to do this. That’s okay. It takes time and dedication to shift your spending habits. And as you adjust to your new Budget, you may find it easier than you first thought.

Don’t Quit Your Job to Stay Home Just Yet

pink piggy bank that reads 'Keep Calm and Save'

Once the debt has been paid, don’t be so quick to turn in your resignation. You still need some time to adjust to the new spending habits before you quit your job to stay home. And there is one more thing you need to do – build your savings.

It doesn’t matter if you live on a single income or three. There are times when unexpected expenses rear their ugly heads. This can be through medical expenses, having to replace a large appliance, or even buying a new-to-you car. If you have children, you will want to plan ahead for education, weddings, and other expenses.

For at least six months to one year, continue living on a single income. Place the second income in savings. This allows you to build up a financial cushion in case of emergencies.

And make sure you KEEP the Savings line item in your expense column, even with a single income. You may reduce the amount you put in savings, but never eliminate it completely. Regardless of the amount of income you have, you still need to have some tucked back.

Finally! You Get to Quit Your Job to Stay Home!

Now that you get to turn in your resignation, it’s time to plan for the future. But keep in mind, just because you aren’t leaving the house to go to a job, you still have a ‘profession’.

Homemaking and caring for a family are very high callings. They take dedication, time, organization, and careful thought to do it well.

But it is also a beautiful profession to have. It is fulfilling, heart-lifting, and can fill your heart with a deep-seated joy and contentment. And due to your hard work and dedication to reaching your goal, you are on your way to a new and beautiful life!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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