Sometimes I get a bit blue when I think about my kids growing up so fast–don’t all of us with kids feel that way now and then? I can say with confidence that one thing I will not miss is figuring out child care! And please don’t take this the wrong way, but in my experience and in the experience of many of my working mom friends, this is a task that falls to moms. Yes, I know there are certainly exceptions to that statement but most of the time it is mom that has to think about this and get things set up. I could have a whole post on what I plan to share with my daughter (and already have in some ways) about motherhood and working outside of the home, but I’ll save that for another day.
And so here we are just on the other side of Spring Break which is always my trigger for summer care searching. With my kids at age 13 and 8, it is in some ways easier than when they were younger but in some ways it is more difficult. I do allow the 13 year old to stay home alone for longer stretches of time now but to leave them both at home just doesn’t sit well just yet. I have allowed the 13 year old to “watch” the 8 year old for an hour or two on occasion and all has gone well but I don’t want them alone for longer than that just yet. Add to this that I am moving to an apartment and I’m sure you understand my hesitancy.
Right now I pay $190 per month for after school care for my 3rd grade DD. I do not split that with her father for a few reasons–I take the child care deduction and now I am using the flex plan at work. He pays other things that balance out what I pay in day care. Summer care can be MUCH more expensive! Last year, if you remember, we started with a home child care provider and that went down the tubes over last Spring Break. So, we did the Girl Scout day camps but DD wasn’t crazy about them. They were a huge savings and I believe I will still use them for at least part of the summer. DS has a lot of activities related to boy scouts, band and athletics so it will be a hodge podge for sure. Budgeting for all of this is tough b/c there are so many unknowns but I am an early bird and can start gathering information now. I would also like to send DD to an overnight camp if possible. Her dad is on board with that too as we like what summer camp brings to the kids (life and social skills).
What are some unique child care options you’ve used in the past? And best of luck to those of you who work outside the home and face this same challenge!
I just received my paycheck today and it dropped by another 80 bucks since the January 11 check. I compared the two pay stubs and it appears I was paid near $80 in “stock dividends” on the 01/11/2013. I didn’t catch that when I looked at my 1/11/2013 check the first time but it appears the lesser amount that I see in today’s check is the “final answer.” I see about $450 less per paycheck now and that is sobering. As a reminder the new deductions are increased federal withholdings, my health insurance and the flexible spending accounts (FSA).
On the upside–of that $900–I have $208 to recover from my health care and dependent care FSA. Please remind me that this is a good thing for tax purposes because the lazy financial person in me just does not want to deal with submitting receipts to recoup that money. Hurry. Tell me. I already have expenditures to get that back but it’s just that hassle factor that gets me. That is my old mindset rearing its ugly head–pay for convenience–I guess. I’ll get over my silly fit about this but in this moment I simply do not want one more thing on my “to do” list. I know. Get over it.
It’s another busy weekend ahead. There are kid events (a band performance and a end-of-season basketball party) and then a Real Food Workshop on Saturday. I’ve put the invite out for the Feb 10 couples’ event and so far have 5 couples attending. I am still excited about this little side hobby/money earner. The kids and I have a lot of fun putting it all together. The kids are natural little “party hosts” and I like to see those skills grow in them.
Have a good one! I’m off to gather receipts for child care and medical expenses!
I have updated my debt balances and now I provide a rundown of my basic monthly expenses. I’m sure there will be places I can still cut but I have to say that looking at where I came from just 9 months ago, I’m pretty proud of what I’ve cut out on the homefront.
Today’s post will tell you what I pay to keep my household running and meet consistent monthly obligations. This does not include groceries or the incidental spending money I carry (which I have reduced as well).
I currently bring home $3282 per paycheck, every other Friday. Please bear in mind this will reduce after January 1 because of new withholdings for insurance and taxes and such.
Utilities: $150 (budgeted amount but it is running around $80-$100 right now, peaks near $300 in the summer. I have been rolling over the extra.)
Life Insurance: $32 ($500,000 policy)
Insurance (Renters and Auto): $75
After School Care: $195
Piano Lessons: $90
I will explain my automobile situation when my divorce is final.
My minimum credit card payments on the three outstanding debts totals $1070. I paid an additional $1,100 this month. I had way too much debit card bleed in the month of November (like $500 worth of bleed :-( ) It all comes from not planning, not being prepared and then just plain ol’ frivilous spending. I hope to do better in December. That’s going to be a challenge and not b/c I go crazy buying gifts but b/c things get SO busy with the kids, family AND at work (everyone wants settlement $ for the holidays) that I do not have time to plan well. That is the KEY and in these final days of November, as I’ve dissected my spending, I have to focus on planning for December!
So, taking the $2,514 and adding the $1,070 in minimum payments we have a total of $3,584. I have about $2,000 in my checking account right now and tomorrow is payday. I am currently hesitant to sink that into debt b/c of the divorce situation. That checking account money is separate from my emergency fund. I just moved it to an account that I do not have a debit card for b/c I am NOT doing well on the debit card front!!!
Now, talk amongst yourselves.
We just got word that our rent will not be increasing this year. That’s one box checked. Now we will contact our renters and find out if they will be extending the lease, looking to buy or…gulp…moving out. At least we got the good news today that our rent will remain the same. We are entering our third year in this house and the rent has not changed. I am thankful.
All signs are that our tenants will want to extend another year. I threw out the idea to Steve that we propose a two year lease on both sides. Given our debt reduction plan, it would be nice to have a constant on the housing side. I’m not sure our landlords or our tenants would go for that but it never hurts to ask. That would get us to credit card debt free without having to think about whether or not the housing cost will increase.
Finally–it is August 16 and things aren’t looking great on the debt reduction for this month. All minimums are made thankfully but I don’t see as big a dent coming and that is discouraging. It seems that even with some looking ahead this back to school month is brutal. In addition to regular school stuff we have registration fees for things like Faith Formation at church and after school programs. I guess the bright side is we definitely have the money to pay the fees. Unlike in the past when we would be scrambling to find the money because we had no plan.
Remember a few weeks back I was excited because I had summer kid care booked? Well, so much for that plan! We did a trial run with the sitter and it did not work out. No need to go into the gory details but suffice it to say that my van and garage door were both damaged in what may likely reach the Emergency Fund dollar amount. Nothing is a “must fix” now but the damage is definitely costly. That was the icing on the cake of other issues. We’ve worked out some of the financials with her but I decided to cancel her for the summer.
Enter Plan B—Girl Scouts. The boys have various athletic and band camps but like I said before it is tougher for the 7 year old girl given her age. I was a troop leader for my now 25 year old niece years ago but it is just this school year felt like DD was ready. We did a few things but wanted to wait until next school year for full troop involvement. I was not aware of their great summer programs–local childcare with a girl scout theme. The best news is overall this WILL cost us less…MUCH less…like 1/3 of the original plan. The bad news is…we had to pay the entire summer fees upfront on very short notice to hold her spot.
Needless to say this forces us to rearrange things and I hate that. In the end all the numbers will turn out but you will notice the impact when I post the new numbers on Friday. 50% of the total $1,000 paid out will be coming back from my ex-husband but that won’t happen by Friday. On one hand, I am thankful that we did not have to wipe out the Emergency fund…we have had to overcome my excel error from earlier this month and will take another hit with the $1000 advance summer care plan–but at least we were able to make some positive additions with the saving we have managed to do through a very expensive month. So, summer childcare for the youngest ended up costing $402.50 per parent which is a $850 savings per parent. $145 was paid for 3 athletic camps for DS and that too is split in half. So, I guess a little, short term detour is worth that kind of savings. It all works out in the end! None of this has impacted our debt payoff plan…all of those payments are set to go up more than a notch in June.
It has been almost 8 years since I had a newborn baby so maybe I have forgotten just how much stuff parents ask for and receive for the birth of a baby! I remember my two kids loving the “Exersaucer” and if there was one item I would insist on keeping…it would be that item. We used the same one for both kids and then gave it to my great nephew when he was born. Have any of you noticed how much stuff parents have these days for babies?! Is this unique to our culture? Do they do this in Europe? Asia? I really don’t know and haven’t cared to research it but as I look at life with an eye toward less stuff…the parents I see even just at the grocery store have a vehicle full of stuff just to get the baby in the store! Those grocery cart seat protector things were just getting popular when my youngest was in the grocery cart and I never got one b/c they looked entirely too difficult for me to use. Oh and are they still making those wipe warmer things?
And forget road trips….I DO remember not knowing what to take as a new parent so I took everything we had but with experience I figured it out. These days there’s just more stuff for the road trips too!
A quick estimate with a groovy calculator on Babycenter.com says the first year of baby will cost new parents $10,000 to $12,000. That’s childcare, diaper, food and miscellaneous items. I know many of you are expecting a baby or have a new baby and this truly is an awesome time—don’t read this as saying anything else. For those of you who haven’t yet started families…beware of the baby stuff syndrome! It can getcha when you least expect it!
The baby phase is so much fun in so many ways, but I am thankful this season is behind us!
This post has triggered thoughts for my next post…gift registries…
With summer approaching, I’m once again moved to think about the costs of summer childcare. This is such an issue for us and while I certainly do not want to rush the kids aging…I will be happy when childcare is something of the past.
For the first time, we are comfortable with the boys staying alone BUT we still aren’t willing to leave them alone for more than 30 minutes at a time–and never with the youngest child at home with them. We’ve done a couple of 30 minute runs to the store and all has gone well….but longer than that just isn’t in our comfort zone yet. They’ve done nothing to worry us mind you–this is more our adjustment to the concept I think. As for the 7-year-old–we definitely need all day care for her throughout the summer.
I’ve done just about every arrangment you can think of and am fortunate to have help from family for at least part of each summer. For the last three summers I have created an online calendar for my ex and I to access. We then fill in the weeks with various options–his parents always take one week for Vacation Bible School and my parents take another week…sometimes a sibling of his or a sibling of mine takes another week…we each take a week of vacation…and then the rest is usually filled by summer day camps but those do not come cheap! So, this year we are trying something new. We are going to have someone come to the house on the weeks we need care and my ex and I will be splitting the fees. My friend is actually semi-retired and is not looking to make a lot of money. We will each pay $100 per week. I know this sounds like a lot but summer camps are running $150 to $250 per week and the lower end is only 9 am to 3 pm–it is about $30-$40 additional per week if we need morning or afternoon care. By having someone at home, this will allow some indirect supervision of the boys–they’re allowed to ride bikes in our neighborhood and go to the neighborhood pool (lifeguard all summer and over age 12 can go without an adult) and I like the idea of someone being at “home base” for them to check in with throughout the day. My son also has boy scout camp and will be volunteering at least half days at the nursing home my Aunt resides at. The youngest one will have various low cost (girl scouts) and free events to attend that the sitter will take her to and from. That is a HUGE help that I am willing to pay for—to have someone run the kids here and there all summer b/c the time I lose at the office really adds up by mid-June! I will supply the vehicle and the gas but everything is nearby and the sitter is fully aware of our budget constraints–so I’m hoping that works. Looking at 12 weeks of summer–we hope to arrange free childcare for 5, possibly 6, weeks of that timeframe. It is a logistical challenge but the kids are at least not stuck in one place in front of a television for the entire summer. The other aspect that ALWAYS impacts is the amount of food that is consumed when they are home…something to think about and start planning for NOW.
We pay $200/month right now for afterschool care for the youngest. While I am sick of paying even that, I am glad the diaper/preschool days are over…that was running $600/month for just one. I don’t know how young families are doing that these days. If there are 2 kids in day care that’s easily $1000 a month in Texas…I’m sure it is more in other parts of the country. That’s just crazy!
My DebtLarge Graph
- Current: $31,490
- Paid: $66,611
- Original: $98,101
- Emergency Fund: $1000
- IRS Savings: $
- Broken Down:
CC #1: $0 ($64) CC #2: $0 ($240) CC #3: $0 ($650) CC #4: $0 ($785) CC #5: $0 ($1,500) CC #6: $0 ($1,886) CC #7: $0 ($1,984) CC #8: $0 ($2,135) CC #9: $0 ($7,145)
- CC #10: $12,570 ($14,561)
CC #11: $0 ($24,388) Credit Line #1: $0 ($182) Credit Line #2: $0 ($182) Auto #1: $0 ($16,579) Auto #2: $0 ($25,819)
- Cons. Loan: $18,920 ($20,000)
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