FI Lifestyle Parenting Personal Finance

How Much Does It Cost to Be a Stay-at-Home Parent? (Guest Post for Bob at Tawcan)

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

For those who’d like to jump straight to my guest post, here’s the link: How Much Does It Cost to Be a Stay-at-Home Parent? A Financial Cost Analysis

As my regular readers know, I’ve been a full-time stay-at-home mom since 2005. That’s 14 years of living on a single income!

To be honest, if I’d known about FIRE back then, I’m not entirely sure if we’d make the same decision again. After all—this choice has undoubtedly impacted our finances and journey to FI.

BUT I also can’t deny that the lifestyle benefits of a full-time at-home parent have been significant. We’re happier, healthier, and less stressed because of this lifestyle choice. 

For us, it’s been worth the cost for me to stay home full-time with our kids.

The true cost of a stay-at-home parent

I’m pretty militant about tracking our money these days (gotta love YNAB for this!) So why have I never calculated how much it’s cost for me to be a stay-at-home mom?  

The simple truth is: I was just too lazy! Having to find the numbers and do the math was too daunting of a task. It wasn’t hard to push this task aside, year after year.

Well, that all changed when fellow Vancouver blogger Bob Lai invited me to write a guest post…

About Bob

I first discovered Bob and his blog,, when I noticed his avatar in the comments section of many of my favourite FIRE blogs. I wondered, “Who is this Tawcan guy?” then clicked on his name, and was taken to his blog.

I was so excited to find that Bob’s family was in a similar life situation as ours. Not only did they live in the Vancouver area, but they were also working towards FI on a single income!

And if you didn’t already know, Bob’s quite an accomplished blogger. He started Tawcan in 2014, has published over 400 posts, and is one of Canada’s most well-known personal finance bloggers.

Naturally, I was flattered and thrilled when Bob offered me a guest posting spot.

The story behind the post

I’d originally envisioned an article that listed the benefits of a full-time stay-at-home parent. But Bob had bigger, better ideas in mind.

Being the veteran blogger that he is, Bob knows that readers like numbers and charts. So he suggested that I add them to my post. To be honest, that freaked me out! 

While I’m decent at math, it’s definitely not a strength of mine. I’m terrified of making a mistake and being called out on it! Because of this, I tend to shy away from numbers-heavy content on my blog.

As it turned out, I had nothing to fear. The math wasn’t difficult, and the ‘charts’ were simply tables, which are very easy to create. Bob was also a patient, helpful mentor. As I worked on the article, he pointed out areas that needed more detail and suggested edits to make things clearer.

With Bob’s input, my post was transformed from ‘okay’ to something I’m really proud of (and that I hope will become a valuable resource to others). 

You can check it out here: How Much Does It Cost to Be a Stay-at-Home Parent?

Working on this post with Bob was an invaluable learning experience for me. By accepting his challenge and including numbers and charts in my post, I feel so much more confident as a blogger. Thanks, Bob!

Who this post is for

Whether your family is single or dual-income, on a part-time or full-time schedule, or have one child or more—this post will be of interest to you! 

At 6,500 words, this post goes in-depth! We’ve covered all the bases, including:

  • The financial benefits.
  • The lifestyle benefits.
  • The opportunity costs.
  • The final cost of a stay-at-home parent.
  • Bonus: Part-time work—the ideal scenario?

Hop on over to Tawcan to check out the post, and give us your feedback!

Another great post to share

My blogging friend Kari at Money in Your Tea wrote an excellent, related post: The True Cost of Going Back to Work for SAHMs (and Dads too!)

In the post, Kari outlines the invisible costs and extra stresses associated with a parent’s return to work. This is a thoughtful article that’s all the more meaningful since Kari recently went from being a stay-at-home mom to working part time. 

This is a great companion article to my guest post for Bob. I love that Kari has experienced the situation from all angles: full time with kids; full time SAHM; light part time with kids; heavy part time with kids.  

I highly suggest reading Kari’s article for a realistic view on the financial and other impacts of going back to work. She knows what she’s taking about!

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As always, however you show your support for this blog—THANK YOU!

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  • Reply
    October 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I love how the post turned out and how detailed and extensive it is. Gotta love the number analysis. Thanks Chrissy.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2019 at 11:03 pm

      And I have to thank you for the opportunity! It’s also been fun and interesting interacting with your readers in the comments. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 4, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    Wow, that’s how long it was, 6500 words?! It was a great read.

    • Reply
      November 6, 2019 at 10:29 am

      Yes—6,500 words! As you said, it was a novel!

  • Reply
    December 7, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    Hi Chrissy,
    I enjoyed the full article. I’m a SAHM and since discovering FIRE I felt guilty about staying home. But this helps me see the value in what I do and this is part of FI- having the privilege/choice to live life how you choose.
    Thanks, Marisa

    • Reply
      December 7, 2020 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Marisa—I’m thrilled to hear you’re feeling more at peace with your choice to be a SAHM. It’s not an easy decision, and one that’s very personal for each family.

      I totally understand the guilty feelings. I felt that way for a long time, worried that my husband had to carry the entire financial burden for our family.

      It makes me feel better when I focus on the lifestyle benefits we’ve gained from having a stay-at-home parent. Those are priceless and irreplaceable!

      Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment. 🙂

  • Reply
    Haley Hardy
    January 6, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Hi Chrissy,

    I just came across your blog through Modern FImily. I loved this post, it helped me so much considering options going forward, we’re expecting our first in June.

    One question though, why didn’t you take into account the UCCB credit? When I calculate our estimated benefit on my husband’s 6 figure income alone we still get a benefit of $240 for 1 child and $519 for 2.

    Just hoping I’m not missing something!

    Thanks again for this great content, looking forward to following your blog in the future!!

    • Reply
      January 6, 2021 at 9:23 pm

      Hi Haley—thanks for reading my guest post and for coming back here to comment! That’s an astute observation, and you’re right that I neglected to include the CCB (which I think is what you meant by UCCB, which is no more). I know Court fully incorporates this into her FI plan, so she was probably wondering the same thing!

      You’re absolutely right that it’s nothing to sneeze at, even at a higher income levels. I’ll embarrassingly admit that it was a complete oversight on my part and it certainly should be accounted for! So thank you for pointing that out. If Bob and I decide to one day revamp that post, I’ll make a note to include the CCB (or whatever it’s called by then).

      Thanks so much for pointing out the omission! (And congrats on your soon-to-arrive little one! ❤)

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