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Posts tagged with: daycare

Coffee Date

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I saw this posting-style over at Gina’s blog (it’s a fitness/healthy living blog and its great! She posts lots of free workouts, youtube videos, etc.). Anyway, I loved the idea of a virtual coffee date (or wine date) and wanted to do one! We’re at that level where we can have a coffee date, right? I think so! Let’s get started!

If we were having coffee right now…..

  • I’d tell you about all the fun things I’ve got going on in the coming weeks! A dear friend had her baby shower this past weekend, a new friend has invited us to her son’s first birthday party this weekend, and my Mom and sister (and their husbands) are coming to visit for a long weekend the first weekend of October! I cannot wait!!!!! In the entire time we’ve lived away from Austin (first moved away in 2007!!), this is the longest we’ve ever gone without seeing my family! In the past we have always gone back once during summer and once during winter and we didn’t go back this summer (we went to visit my Dad in Utah instead) and aren’t planning to go back for Christmas like we usually do, so I have been Missing them with a capital M!!!
  • I’d let you in on a little secret I’ve been keeping… I registered for my first post-baby half marathon and am freaking out about it! The registration was only $30 (I got the early-bird discount months ago), which is one of the cheapest prices for a half-marathon I’ve ever seen! Since I dumped the gym, I’ve been training (for free, thankyouverymuch) but am so painfully slow! I’m worried whether I’ll finish by the time cut-off (It’s the Tucson Get Moving half-marathon, so its geared toward a non-elite crowd, but I know many races have actual cut-offs and I’m so scared I won’t finish in time!)
  • I’d tell you about how well debt reduction is going. It’s been 6 months and has actually been easier than I thought. I credit it all to having a written budget. Of course, I’d say that in one breath and in the very next I’d tell you about the very real house fever I’ve got going on.
  • I’d tell you about the girls – they’re getting so big! I am in love with their preschool and even though it costs a small fortune, I think its one of the best investments we’ve ever made (investing in our children!!!) I’m so glad we decided to go this route (even though it was a very tough decision).
  • I’d also talk about my job(s). My teaching job is going well, but is a LOT of work this semester! I’m teaching two writing intensive courses that require a lot of feedback and I feel like I have so many students!!! Usually there are lots of “drops” with writing intensive courses but for some reason this semester everyone seems to be sticking around. I love to teach so I’m glad that something is resonating with the students enough for them to stick with the challenging courses, but it means a LOT of grading for me! My research job is also going well. I’ve mentioned before, but I’ve gotten into such a terrible habit of putting it all off until Sundays and then I’m working frantically all night trying to make my Monday morning deadlines. I always finish on time, but I might be up until midnight or later. I have GOT to get things under control so I don’t keep doing this! I’ve come to dread Sunday nights instead of looking forward to them as a time to recharge for the coming week. Need to change this!

Of course, if we were having coffee I’d want to know about you and how you’re doing, too! How’s the job? Where are you in the debt repayment process? Do you have any major obstacles in the way? What are your plans for the coming holiday season (I realize its only September, but the holidays will be here before we know it)?

If I know me, it’s been awhile since our last coffee date. We should do this again soon sometime!!!

*Hugs*


Updates

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I owe you guys some updates on a couple of topics that I have hinted about and mentioned in passing a few times.

Today I’m going to talk about:

  1. The daycare situation.
  2. The financial relationship between my husband and me.

This morning’s post will focus on the daycare situation. Check back this afternoon for more about the interesting financial relationship my husband and I have worked out.

Childcare Costs

Childcare is an exorbitant cost, any way you look at it. We have been lucky that someone I know has been watching the girls in an at-home daycare for a fraction of the cost of traditional daycare facilities. For comparison, when the girls were 6 months old I was dissertating and had to put them in a “traditional” daycare 2 days per week. Our rent at the time was $595/month (granted, we lived in the ghetto, but still…) Our daycare for TWO days per week = $1200/month. Yes. Literally double our rent!

Currently we pay $600/month for 3 days per week of care ($50/day). I’ve mentioned several times how I’ve been thinking about cutting our childcare back to two days per week to try to save some money.

But in discussing with my husband, he’s raised some concerns and wants to consider other options. I’d love to hear any suggestions or advice that you have.

Here’s the deal…..

We’re trying to decide if we want to keep the girls in daycare at all (versus just being home with me) and, if they stay in daycare, if we should reduce our number of days at our current place, or if we should look into other options elsewhere.

I’ve made a table below with the Pros and Cons that we have been considering…

At Home With Ashley

In-Home Daycare (Current Provider)

Traditional Daycare

ProsI get to be with the girls all the time! I’m 100% in control of what they do, what they learn, what they eat, when they nap, etc. It’s free! Lots of extra money toward debt-reduction!Lots of individual attention; Only 4 children (socialization, but not a ton of germ exposure); Children have a strong bond with provider (not a different teacher everyday); Relatively inexpensive.Everything is documented (food eaten, diaper changes, activities the kids did, etc.); Lots of structured activities in addition to free time; Educational enrichment is provided; Stability (substitutes in case of teacher illness); Extra opportunities for socialization (more kids)
ConsVery challenging to get work done; Never have a “break” (working during naps, and in morning/night); difficult to accomplish some things with girls home; Really sucks when we’re sick (we have no family here so no “social support” to help out if we need it.)Less structure (e.g., music time, story time, art time, etc); No documentation (e.g., writing how much kids ate, at what time; when their diapers were changed, if it was “dirty” or “wet”, when they napped and how long, etc.); Requires flexible schedule (if provider is sick, there’s no substitute).More children (somewhat less individual attention); More chance of illness (more kids = more/varied germs); More teachers (instead of 1 caregiver that we all “know” there could be random substitutes, etc.); Very expensive!

 

I’m leaning toward keeping our current daycare provider and reducing to 2 days per week. However, if I’m really serious about debt-reduction (and I am!!!), then I should really be considering removing the girls from daycare entirely and keeping them at home with me. Even if I got a babysitter for 1 day per week (in case I need to go to campus), it’d still be cheaper. I am VERY nervous about how this would go with my work. I’ve read a couple library books on work-from-home Moms and many of the strategies do not sound like they would work for me (e.g., “Wake up a couple hours before the kids to do work.”……ummmmm, my kids wake up at 5:30am a lot of the time. If you think I’m waking up at 3:30am, you’re out of your mind!). I already work in the evening many times as it is, so I don’t see how I could possibly get everything done. But…people do it all the time. There are LOTS of work-from-home Moms (shout-out, Hope!!!). If there’s a will, there’s a way, right?? Right??? : /

Meanwhile, Chris is leaning toward option 3 (traditional daycare facility). We love our current provider, but Chris really liked the documentation, structured activities, and educational enrichment the traditional daycare provided. Plus, he really thinks the girls would benefit from additional socialization (being around more kids). But it’s literally twice as expensive as our current costs, for less overall care (2 days versus 3 days). And it definitely runs counter to our debt-reduction goals. However, it’s hard with kids because you can’t always just pick the cheapest option. There are some definite “positives” of the most expensive option.

So this is why I haven’t made a change yet. I guess I’ve just been mulling it all over waiting for the “right” choice to knock me upside the head.

What do you all think? Should I bite the bullet and become a work-from-home Mom full time (the quickest route to debt eradication)?? Should we stay with our current daycare provider and reduce the number of days? Or should we go with Chris’ wishes of moving our kids back to a larger and more traditional (and costly) facility?

Stay tuned….I’ll peep back in mid-day with another of my Money-Saving Tricks series, then later this afternoon I’ll post about the interesting financial relationship situation between my husband and me.


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