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“Should I quit my job?” “I would love to stay home with my kids.” “I really just want to get out of the rat race and work for myself.” If you’ve ever said these things, you aren’t alone. There’s so much more you need to know about making the leap than you might realize.
Have you ever found yourself at your job suddenly wondering to yourself what the heck you’re even doing there? As you take care of X and Y tasks and spend all day worrying about pleasing other people, you start to think about what you would be doing if you weren’t at work doing something else.
Maybe you start thinking about your kids and the impact your job has on them. Or maybe you start thinking about that book you were going to write.
You think about the fact that you hustle your child out the door every morning to send them to daycare so that you can spend the rest of the day stressed out and taking care of other people when you’d rather be taking care of your own family instead.
I get it. Truthfully, I loved my job as a music teacher. I loved the people, our mission, and the importance of music education.
In spite of that, I was stressed out. Between building our homestead from scratch and the full-time effort I was putting into a part-time teaching position I had reached a breaking point.
But I also knew that my teaching income was an important part of our homestead building plan. So what to do?
I know how hard the decision was for me, so I want to give you some tools to help you make the decision for you and your family.
“Should I quit my job?” – Your guide for making the choice
1. Keep it in perspective (it isn’t just about the money).
For me, the decision to quit my teaching job at the end of the school year wasn’t really just asking myself if I should stay home or keep teaching. And I would wager that if you are asking yourself the same question right now, it isn’t such an easy choice for you either.
Because it isn’t just about the money. Reframe that question and ask yourself:
“Which choice would best serve my family and my own needs?”
When you think about it in the context of serving your family and taking care of yourself it completely transforms the decision making process. Should you be worried about the money aspect of it? Of course. But that shouldn’t be your only driver of whether you should keep a job or not.
If you are stressed, your family is stressed. If you neglect yourself and your health for the sake of your job, no one wins. Money isn’t worth your sanity.
Since quitting my job I have fussed over the loss of income a bit, but I marvel at how much less stress we all have and how much better behaved my child is. That alone is worth it.
2. Plan your financial future carefully.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not your finances can sustain the transition from two incomes to one, you need to do the following:
Plot out hypothetical budgets.
Using Excel, Google Sheets, or plain ol’ pen and paper, plot out hypothetical budgets that include:
- Your current budget as-is
- Your potential budget if you quit your job (include changes in expenses like childcare, transportation, healthcare, etc.)
- Any other potential income scenarios (i.e. you take up freelancing instead, switch to part-time, your partner/spouse getting a potential raise, etc.)
Compare and contrast each version of the budget and discuss the pros and cons of each with your partner/spouse.
Discuss how changing income effects long-range financial plans.
Every family has its own unique long-range financial plans that can affect whether you quit your job or not. This may be especially true if your job has high-income potential or if your situation includes a lot of risks. Evaluate whether you are pursuing any of the following and figure out how your hypothetical budgets stack up to these goals:
- Paying off debt
- Saving for a down payment on a home or land
- Saving for retirement
- Reaching financial independence (FIRE: financial independence, retire early)
- Saving for children’s college funds
- Paying cash for large projects (like our homestead building project!)
- Aggressive saving and/or investing
- Participation in employer-based debt repayment programs
These are only some of the potential scenarios your family may be working on, so make sure you discuss them carefully. Take notes and make sure you’re actually listening to one another. You may decide that you should stay employed a little while longer to finish achieving one of these goals. You may decide to change your goals to adapt to your family’s needs instead. Either way, you should be a team, discuss, and listen.
In fact, if you’re working on this with your partner (and I highly suggest you do), head over to read these three important money tips for couples who want to live a more self-sufficient life together.
3. Practice living on one income.
One of the best ways to figure out if you can actually afford to quit your job is to practice living on one income.
We’ve sort of done this by virtue of having lived on my part-time income while using my husband’s full-time income for the majority of our home building project. I knew we could afford to live on a very small amount and still be comfortable because we’d been doing it for two years already.
Take a month or more and practice living on your spouse’s income. Keep an eye on the budget and track your expenses from week to week.
At the end of your trial period, how do you feel? Was it an easy transition or was the money really tight?
If the money was tight and you REALLY REALLY want to quit your job, look for ways to tighten your expenses.
4. Have any side hustles (or the potential for one)?
I’m pretty lucky because I already had my own side gigs going. I’ve been teaching flute lessons for many years and have continued to teach on a much more flexible schedule since I don’t have to worry about working around my extracurriculars.
I also feel very blessed to have been able to turn this blog into a real money-making pursuit instead of just hobby blogging like I used to. I’ve gotten to meet some fantastic people and learn so much about not just blogging and business, but homesteading and self-sufficiency from other like-minded bloggers.
If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of starting a blog as a way to make money and to serve others through your writing, check out these resources I used to get started.
But if blogging ISN’T your thing there are still loads of ways you can continue to bring in an income from home (and I’m not just talking being a customer service rep on the phone or doing search engine ranking, which I totally used to do back in our poorer days…yuck).
If you want to make a change you have the power to do it.
Most of us have heard the phrase, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it.” Even in desperate circumstances, I believe that everyone has the power to do SOMETHING.
If you want to quit your job to stay home and support your family then you will find a way and you will do what it takes.
We made that choice for our family and so far it’s working out really well for us! What about you? Have you made the choice to stay home or need a little extra help in making the decision? Let me know in the comments below!
Wondering more? Check out our homestead progress and find out more about our cordwood homestead project here. You should also join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m always pinning lots of great ideas on Pinterest too! Thanks for reading!