A few weeks ago a reader sent me a note after reading my post “Homeschooling Fears.” She asked this question:

We are due for our first baby in Sept and my husband and I are already thinking waaayyy ahead about schooling.  He is super encouraging in wanting me to stay at home and eventually homeschool our child (or children if we have more).  However, I’m a bit concerned about our financial situation.  We’re definitely okay with 2 incomes.  I’m already preparing for some changes once I stop working and we only have 1 income with extra baby expenses.  And my question for Tricia and any moms who have been through the homeschooling experience is ~ how do we prepare financially for homeschooling our children?  Are there any good solid resources out there that will help to calculate the costs involved?

I asked my friend and fellow homeschooling mom, Crystal, The Money Saving Mom, if she had any advice for this reader … and this was Crystal’s advice:

“Planning Ahead Financially: What you need to do now to plan to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom”
Considering making the switch from a working woman to a stay-at-home homeschooling mom? While it might seem daunting, it can be done — if you’re willing to get creative, put forth some effort, and think outside the box:

1) Get on a written budget.

This is vitally important. If you don’t tell your money where to go, it will just slip through your fingers like sand.

A written budget puts you in control. No longer is your money just slipping through your fingers like sand. Instead, you are telling it exactly where to go.

The beauty of a budget is that it gives you freedom. You don’t have to worry that by paying one bill, you’re not going to be able to pay another important bill. Why? Because you’ve already allotted enough money to cover both bills in your written budget.

I highly recommend checking out a copy of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey from the library for step-by-step instructions to set up a budget.

2) Make sure yu and your spouse are on the same page.

If you and your husband are not on the same page financially, it’s going to be hard to really get much traction or to achieve your financial goals. So before you even attempt to set goals, sit down and talk openly about where you are financially and where you want to go.

Don’t nag and drag your husband along; put your heads together and find a solution that is a win-win for both of you — even if it means there’s give and take and compromise on both sides.

3) Create a game plan.

Once you’re on the same page, dream together about where you want to be a year from now and five years from now. Pick one or two big goals and break those down into bite-sized pieces — something that you can accomplish in a month or even a week.

When you break your goals down into small chunks, it makes them seem much more realistic and doable. This, in turn, inspires you to actually follow through with them!

For instance, if you want to be able to live on one income by this time next year, look at your budget, figure out what you need to cut, and how much you need to save and increase your income in order to make it happen. Having a specific number that you need to save each month will help motivate you to find creative ways to lower your spending and increase your income.

4) Set up and follow good routines.

If you’re going to be successful as a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, you’ve got to be disciplined. No, you don’t need to run such a tight ship that every 15 minutes is scheduled in your home, but you do need to set up and follow a routine.

If you’re struggling with feeling like your life is really chaotic, a routine can transform the craziness into a much more calm existence. Best of all, not only will your home and life be more orderly, you’ll also likely get more done.

Check out my post on How to Set Up a Routine and Stick With It  for step-by-step help in setting up and implementing a routine.

5) Start teaching your children from a young age. 

Before your child is old enough to officially begin kindergarten, get in the habit of taking advantage of teaching opportunities. They are plentiful and I’m constantly amazed at how much my children learn and retain when I take the time to capitalize upon learning from life — whether it’s researching a bug we find in our backyard or pulling out the globe and finding exactly where that country in our current read-aloud is located.

Begin looking for ways to incorporate learning with life — and it will make it that much easier when you begin formally homeschooling.

Crystal Paine is a wife, homeschooling mom of three, author of The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget. Visit her blog, MoneySavingMom.com, for encouragement and inspiration to get your life and finances in order. And read more of her posts on life and motherhood here on MomLife Today.