Figuring Out Your Finances

I want to be a solo mom by choice, but can I even afford it? 

This is one of the first questions that crosses every smbc’s mind. When you are not a dual-income household, it’s hard to fathom how you can make your dream of motherhood work financially. I knew that before I could even get into the fertility part (which is a whole other ball game!) I had to figure out, can I afford to raise a baby alone? Below is the list of how I tackled answering this question:

  1. What's your monthly net income?
    • How much money do you take home monthly? How much of that money do you need for your living expenses?  What’s left? Consider where you can start cutting back if it's not much.
  2. How much will childcare cost in your area?
    • Reach out to daycares for tuition rates. If you live in or near a city, expect to pay around $2,000 a month for full-time daycare. Yes, basically the cost of a mortgage. Think about if you have family or friends that can help. Start asking your inner circle if they are willing to take some of the childcare cost load off of you. 
  3. If insurance won’t cover your fertility treatments, how much money are you comfortable investing in getting pregnant? 
    • Contact clinics and get costs of IUI/IVF/medications. This can range from a couple of hundred dollars to many thousands. Also, be realistic that it may take several rounds to become pregnant based on your age and levels. 
  4. Look up sperm costs.
    • A vial of sperm averages around $1,000, plus storage and shipment fees.
  5. Use your FSA account.
    • I wish I did this sooner because you can save hundreds of dollars by paying pre-tax for medication and procedures.
  6. Once you have a baby, how much money do you think you’ll spend monthly?
    • This is an area you can have some control over. Ask for hand-me-downs or shop on Facebook marketplace for used items to get you started. And of course, register for baby shower gifts that are solo mom-friendly. 
  7. Start a bebe savings account.
    • I went to the bank and opened a separate savings account once I knew I was going to pursue this. Each month, I have cut back on shopping (waaa) and dining out, and have been transferring that money into the account. For now, I am using it to help offset the costs of fertility treatments, and later I will start using it for baby necessities. 
  8. Lookup if you qualify for financial aid.
    • Depending on your income, a single mother household can get money from the state for childcare, etc. Look up your state's requirements.  
  9. What can you do for extra income before becoming a mom?
    • Consider all the possibilities. I dedicated time to finishing more graduate courses to increase my salary as a teacher. By doing this, I'll make $1,500 more a year.

Above all, have faith that you can do it. There are countless women all over the world who make motherhood work no matter their financial status. If you want it badly enough, you will figure out a way. This list is meant to guide you so that you don’t go in blindly and put yourself into massive debt that you will later regret. So sit down with your pay stubs and a notebook and figure out what works for you!