Page header image

Compare Costs of Parent Staying at Home or Going to Work

Many couples are surprised to find that once all the costs are counted, you are not much better off financially if both parents return to work. This may or may not be true in your case. The only way to know is to sit down and make a list of all work-related expenses and do the calculations.

A simple process that will give you a rough estimate is as follows:

  • Start with your NET income (after taxes and payroll deductions)
  • Subtract your total estimated work-related expenses:
    • Taxes and deductions (income tax, social security, insurance, retirement). Additional income puts you in a higher tax bracket, which means that you will pay more taxes. Find out about the Child Tax Credit. You may be eligible and be able to cut your taxes.
    • Cost of child care. Depending on where you live, child care costs may range from $6,000 to $12,000 per year per child. Child care costs may or may not be tax deductible.
    • Cost of clothes for work.
    • Cost of commuting (gas, insurance, auto repairs, public transportation).
    • Cost of food (lunches out, fast foods, or eating at restaurants because there is little time to cook at home).
    • Professional fees (licenses, dues, clubs, subscriptions)
    • Other costs (housecleaning, dry cleaning, or other expenses) that you would not have if you did not work outside the home

    Subtract total costs from the total NET income. The amount left over is the actual amount you will have from the second income.

    Once you know how much (or little) your second income adds to your household budget, you may be able to find ways to cut expenses. Read books, blogs, and talk with other parents to get ideas. It may be possible to cut expenses enough so that one parent can stay home.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-12-26
Last reviewed: 2012-12-26
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2013 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Page footer image