One of the hardest decisions for new parents is whether to have one parent stay at home full-time. As much as we wish it wasn't the case, this decision is often made based on financial considerations rather than emotional and developmental considerations. Here are some questions that might help guide your decision:
When your baby is born, your financial picture changes drastically. Now it's more important than ever to create, maintain and stick to a budget. You now have someone depending on you to keep the family financial matters in order. A well-thought-out budget will be your most valuable tool in managing the family money.
If you already have a budget, you'll need to revise it to fit your new, expanded family. If you don't have a budget, create one right now. This information will be still be here when you're done. Begin by filling out this budget worksheet.
Don't throw away your old budget. You can use it as a starting point for a new budget. Go through each of your expenses to see if they will change with your new baby. For example, your rent or mortgage will probably stay the same. But electric bills might increase if one person is planning to stay at home every day.
Add all the extra costs of raising a child into your budget. Another parent can help you identify what extra expenses might come up on a regular basis and what you can expect to spend on them.