3 Tips for Getting Your Finances in Order Before Becoming a Work-at-Home Mom

By Melissa Batai

Is your job driving you crazy?  Do you dread Sunday nights because it means Monday, and the start of another work week, is just around the corner?  Do you come home at night stressed from another day at the office?

If so, you may want to throw caution to the wind and take the leap to self-employment sooner rather than later. 

I was employed outside the home for 10 years, and I really only enjoyed my job the first six or seven years.  The last few years were agony.

However, I should have taken better steps to prepare myself for being a work at home mom.  If I could do it over again, here are the ways I'd prepare myself financially:

1.  Cut out the extras. 

When you first start freelancing, you'll need time to build up your income and your clientele.  That means you'll likely earn less as a freelancer than you did at your previous job.  Before you quit, take the time to learn to live on less.  Do you go out to eat 4 times a week?  Then gradually begin cutting down that number until you're down to one time or less per week.  If you like coffee shop coffees, practice making your own at home. 

Give up the extras now so you won't feel so deprived when you quit your job.  You'll likely find after a time that you don't even miss or need the extras you used to think were necessary.  After all, when you work at home, lunch out becomes not only less necessary but an interruption because you have to leave the house and interrupt your work flow.

2.  Create a financial cushion. 

If you don't have an emergency fund, create one before you quit your job.  Ideally, save at least three months in your emergency fund (or more).  One freelancer I know saved 12 months' worth of expenses in an emergency fund before quitting.  That gave him time to build up his business. 

Desperation is not a good place to be when looking for work.  I find that the more desperate I feel financially, the more likely I am to repel clients or to accept a job for less than my time is worth.

If you're in a comfortable place financially, you're more confident and will likely attract customers.  You'll also be willing to turn down a job that offers meager pay for the time commitment involved.

3.  Get in the habit of budgeting. 

When I worked full-time, I wrote down a rough idea of how I wanted to spend my money, but I didn't exactly follow it.  Instead, I gave in to financial whims.  This was okay because I made plenty of money, but it wasn't the same case when I started freelancing and making less.

Get in the habit of budgeting and tracking where your moneyis going so you can seal any financial leaks before you live on a tighter income.  Then, when your income increases, you'll be able to keep more of it rather than giving in to financial whims.

What other financial tips would you offer those considering becoming work at home moms?

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