This is a little long so bear with me....I just needed a place to vent. First, let me say that my husband is a school teacher and I work for the State....that tells you our household income is not very high (currently $60,000 between the two of us)...Yet, they are good secure stable jobs. We have a 3 yr old and are expecting another child in October. We just sold our house and will close on it at the end of August. We moved into an apartment and will be saving $200 in rent/mortgage costs per month when it's over and done with. Daycare costs for the 3 yr old is $660 per month and when the baby comes along, the cost for the newborn will be $740 per month. The proceeds of the house sale will be eaten up due to our second mortgage we had...So, after considering the sale, we hold $18,000 in credit card debt, not to mention owing about $24,000 on 2 vehicles. I am promised a job promotion giving us an increase of $6,000 a year if I come back from maternity leave. So, our financial picture is kinda in turmoil right now....hopefully, it will settle down by the beginning of 2002. Based on the above information, are there any suggestions out there that would make me feel better about our situation? We're looking at $625 rent- $1,400 daycare- $800 minimum payments on CC- $800 minimum payments on car loans. Some cost saving measurements we've taken so far is to sell our house, and we just stopped contributing to our retirement accounts in order for us to "save" any extra cash for the new daycare costs coming up. The only thing we do set aside cash for is $125 monthly for emergency costs (hopefully this will be used for college expenses instead). The balance in that mutual fund is currently around $2,000. That's all the savings we have except for the 401K and retirement balances which of course we won't touch. With the upcoming second child, it's impossible for either of us to get a second job....but we are way beyond our means going into debt about $500 a month currently. Also, my insurance company is going out of business which means that we'll have to cover 20% of the delivery/labor costs of having the baby (something else to charge)...I was covered for 100% under the HMO plan. What can we do?? We don't have cable, phone service is just for internet access, cell phone is a great deal with free long distance, no magazine subscriptions, etc. etc. etc. Any ideas or advice?? HELP.
Wow! $1400 in child care?!!! Do you mind?, what kind of care do you have, that is outrageous!
The main thing that comes to mind is to get rid of the expensive cars. Of course you will want safe vehicles, but I'm sure those can be found for less than what you are paying now. The cars might be hard to give up at first, but the financial security will be worth it.--AF
I know it sounds crazy...but it's the area I live in. For 2 small children, I'm looking at $1000-$1500 a month in quality daycare. We don't live near any family members nor do we know anyone personally that can handle two young kids. So, daycare institutions are the only option. The one we go to is outstanding and we'd hate to give it up. I guess that's one area that we are hesitant in scrimping on....
For the fastest relief I'd get rid of the cars and buy used. I don't know what cars you have, what the mileage is, or what you owe on each one but that would be what I would concentrate on first.Can one of you get a second job? You can only cut corners so much before something's got to give.FWIWLouise
I will assume that you are at or near the limit of your ability to cut down on expenses and you are still $500/mo. in the hole. If that is ture, then you need to consider some major and radical changes. Here are some things to consider, but I am not as good as others on here at coming up with ideas ---1) Depending on how much you're making, it may make sense for you to stay at home with the kids for a while. If doing so would enable you to sell a car, then you could save $1800/mo. in day care and car payments. That's the equivilant of a $27,000-$30,000 salary.2) Alternatively, you can perhaps look for someone who will take care of your kids in your home or apartment for less than $1400/mo. Especially if you husband can get home in the afternoon right after school, perhaps you can work something out here.3) Sell at least one (if not both) cars and cash out your mutual fund to buy a replacement beater for cash. Can one of you commute?4) Depending on the balances and the alternatives, you should consider, as a last resort, cashing in the retirement accounts. Adding $500/mo to your debt is an unsustainable proposition that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.Good luck.
If your household income is $60,000 combined, then I am assuming you each make about $30,000 per year. If you make $30,000 per year, I calculate that your personal take home pay is something at or under $2000 per month, depending on your taxes and other deductions. If you are paying $1400 per month for day care and a $400 car payment, you are basically working to earn $200 or less a month (less than that, actually, since I assume you have some work associated expenses). In fact, you may actually be spending money for the "privilege" of going to work every day.Seems to me you would be coming out ahead if you sold a car and stayed home with the kids for a while. You might be able to do some "do-at-home" work, or maybe, since you're a teacher, pick up some tutoring jobs where you could have students come into your house. I don't think it's worth it for you to work unless you can get more money for it or decrease those day care expenses. Janet
Okay, my thoughts:Sell one car. With the proceeds, buy a beater that you can nurse until the other car is paid.Get cheaper daycare. No, it's not something you should scrimp on. But that doesn't mean you can't find someplace less expensive, that will offer the same quality care. Call you school district office, and ask if there are any participating daycares that offer discounts to teachers. Ask around the faculty and see if there are any stay at home moms/dads that they know -- and offer $900 a month for both children, cash payments. Someone will jump on it. If that doesn't pan out, call around to churches: your children are small enough that you should have to worry about too much religious teachings, and they will recieve decent care, and it will most likely be less expensive. Also think about daycares run by a local college (ones that offer child education degrees)...they will cost less, and will have staff that care about children.Also, seriously consider one of you staying hom with the kids, and selling a car also, as one poster already mentioned. It will save you a ton of money, and even just a year of it could help pay off some debt. The stay at home parent could even take in another child to care for for extra income.impolite
Thanks for all the quick responses!! It sounds like a consenus is forming: one parent staying at home as well as selling a car. We've thought about the stay at home situation vs. working and will still weigh the pros and cons about that one...a parent's mental health needs to be considered here :) About selling a car, it would have to be our 1999 Plymouth Voyager which has come in so handy and I would imagine be even 'handier' with 2 kids. The other car we have is 1998 Toyota Rav4 which we owe much less on. I just don't know at this point what to do, but I sure do appreciate all the kind advice.
I would recommend you really sit down with some calculators and figure out if its worth it for one of you to work.In some of the books I've read, you have to consider:1) Tax savings if you only have 1/2 of your income. Your taxes go down, so you save that way2) Savings on child care3) Savings on convenience foods versus having more time to plan meals & cook ahead4) Having more time to shop at sales for gifts, clothes, etcYou might find that you would actually come out even or ahead if one of you stayed home. And it could be either of you since you make about the same income. You'd have to evaluate which person could leave their career for a while and re-enter it with the least amount of pain....I would recommend you read the book Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy. She was a high powered career woman in the Silicon Valley who did the math, figured out it would be better finance-wise and stress-wise to stay home, then details how she did it, and where she saved.I am a single woman who doesn't have kids, but I analyzed taking a second job versus spending my time focusing on cost cutting and LBMM. I decided to do the latter, and saved over $500 a month. Even if I had taken a part time job at $10/hour, for 20 hours a week of work I would only have netted $560 a month after taxes. Since I already work 50 hours a week at my primary career, I decided the stress & exhaustion wasn't worth it. Now my "part time job" is saving money and I continue to live on about $500 a month less than I did before.I would set aside an evening (when your child is asleep or something) and really work the numbers. You may find that working so hard just to put the kids in day care isn't worth it. Or you could analyze one person going part time so that you could pay for just the older child to go to a preschool or something and stay home with the infant. Infant care is the most expensive.Good luck and let us know what you finally decide!Karen
ezramyl:How much do you make? Is it half of the $60K combined anual income? If it is let's look at things like this:1. You make $30,000 per year.2. Your take-home is what? $23,000?3. You will pay $16,800 in child support.4. You will pay $4,800 on your car, not counting insurance and gas.5. That leaves $1,400 for the year and we havn't even talked about small miscellaneous costs of you going to work like lunches, wardrobe, etc.You want to work full time and let someone else raise your babies for less than $1,400 a year in compensation? Sell your car, get on your husbands insurance plan, and stay home to raise your children.xtn
It's already been said, but I have to say it too: That is a LOT of money spent on daycare!I'm due in November, and childcare for 2 kids for us will be $680. We don't use a center, I hate centers. I called our school district and got a list of stay-at-home moms who provided daycare out of their homes. None of them charged more than $125 per week. Most were around $85. And the care is IMHO much better, more personal, and more relaxed and "home-like" than you could find at a center. I happen to think that kids should be able to kick off their shoes, watch a little Sesame Street, play in the yard, and basically be kids, and I found a mom who has the same philosophies and style of raising kids that I do. I'm not saying there's anything WRONG with your center, just that sometimes people assume that the quality of care is better or worth paying so much more for. There are a lot of superior home-based daycares out there.In fact, if you can't find a home daycare that fits your style, why not run your own? There are probably other parents in your same situation who would love to find someone like YOU to care for their kids. Benefits: saving on work-related expenses, being home with your kids, and earning an income.
Yes, dump the '99 Voyager. Those vans are notorious for engine and transmission trouble. Ask any mechanic...-- docman52
I agree- if one of you is making $30k or less, its not worth working as a teacher if you have to pay that much for child care. When you consider all the costs (assuming you can't lower the child care amount), you are probably losing money by working during the daytime. You would be better off letting your husband work during the day, then you could work a night job when he gets back (eliminates $16,800 per year in child care costs). You would end up actually netting more more money delivering pizzas or working at the Quickie Mart if you could avoid the child care expenses. In addition, consider providing Day care to OTHER people's kids. If you take care of even 2 kids per week, that will add up quickly at even $100 per kid per week. If you do both decide to work days (which I don't recommend), have your husband take a second part time job at night (pizza delivery or equivalent) and use ALL of that money to retire debt (since he works for the state, I assume he rarely, if ever, works overtime). Also, the car expense is WAY too much. Get rid of the expensive cars and buy a serviceable used car for $3-4K. If one of you works days and the other nights, you only need one car. You will eliminate a LARGE portion of your debts right there. Cash out the mutual fund to take down another $2k of debt. Normally, I wouldn't suggest cashing out a 401k, but with credit card debt (high interest, I assume), you are probably LOSING money by keeping the money in a 401K. If you can't quickly (within a year) eliminate the credit card debt using the steps outline above, consider cashing out the 401K to eliminate the debt and start over later. Little things count. If you are paying more than $4.95 per month for internet access (AT&T), you are paying too much. Also, by not working days, you should be able to save significantly buy using your time at home to cook (rather than eating out), clip coupons, etc.jb
How do you get $4.95 internet access with AT&T? Their website shows the lowest as $16.95 for 150 hours/month.t.
I agree with all the suggestions so far - selling off one of the cars, staying home with the kids, maybe even getting a part time job in the evenings when hubby will be able to take care of kids.One thing I wanted to add is that you might consider getting rid of the cell phone plan. By doing so, you will still be able to dial 911 for free in case of an emergency. However, the monthly fee is normally not worth the "free" long distance minutes that come with it. You can call anywhere for 2.9cents a minute with onesuite.com from your landline instead.nparsn
I made a bit more than dh and quit to start a small consulting business and be home with my kids. I immediately found out that staying home was a huge savings rather than paying childcare and working. Here are a few of my thoughts.1. Sell the voyager and get a beater.2. You have been promised $6K to go back to work. How long would you have to work to collect that money? 6 months? A year? Find out the particulars and maybe it will be worth it to go back for the minimum time to keep the $6K and then quit. Otherwise, don't go back to work. The point is that you won't be working anymore in the very near future.3. How much is your cell phone per month? www.onesuite.com is .029 a minute for long distance. You might get free long distance, but you still have to pay for the thing.4. Once you are home, you can cook from scratch, buy generic, use cloth diapers, use rags instead of wipes, breastfeed, use cloth napkins, not have as much drycleaning nor the need for new clothes for work. 5. Since you are moving to an apartment, how much can you sell at consignment, ebay and at a garage sale? I was amazed at how much "stuff" I was able to sell on ebay and made some cash.6. Kiss dh goodbye while he goes to a second job for a couple of evenings and weekends for a while. Lots of places are looking for part time help now and also through the holidays. 7. Rethink gift giving. In other words, don't buy for anyone other than your little one at home now and look at consignment shops and thrift stores.8. You can always take in a child to care for after the baby and you get settled. You should look into what it would take to be licensed and then consider one child. It's pretty good money. 9. Increase the deductibles on the car and get minimal coverage (lability only) on the beater that you will need to purchase.10. Write down all your bills and include the payments and interest rates. Call and request that the rates be lowered. If you have no luck consider a credit counseling service.Good luck. It is do-able. I will stress (along with many others here) that you are working for less than $100 a month once you factor in all your expenses it could be for even less than that amount. Once you quit, you may qualify for WIC. You can save more money by doing a few of the items I have listed above than working (depending on the $6K...I would go back to work for 6 months to collect that money then quit...just get in writing). Amazing but true.L
<font color="#CC6699">2) Alternatively, you can perhaps look for someone who will take care of your kids in your home or apartment for less than $1400/mo. Especially if you husband can get home in the afternoon right after school, perhaps you can work something out here.</font>This would be good to consider. A co-worker of mine had an early shift 6a-2:30pm to reduce the child care cost while his wife worked a little later, I think 9-6.:aj
They have a plan for $4.95 that has a small banner ad at the top.jb
Hi,I agree with most of the other posters. Please consider one of you being a stay at home parent. It doesn't have to be forever, so your sanity will probably remain intact :). In order to see how much money you are really earning, I recommend the book Two Incomes and Still Broke- It's not how much you make, but how much you keep by Linda Kelley. HTH
First off, I can appreciate the situation you're about to enter, andI think its a really smart idea to start planning for it now insteadof responding to it in a couple months.Anyway, here are a couple suggestions that might help you make itthough a little easier.1) Stay home as long as you can. In addition to getting to know yournew baby, you can be saving that 1400/month in daycare. It'll be atough job with a 3yr old at home as well, so see if you can get him/herto help out. Give them small but helpful tasks to perform and thankand praise them when they come through. Keep them involved.2) You don't want to hear this, but you're working for daycare (andto some extent the 2nd car). You _need_ to find less expensive daycarefor your little ones. You might consider seeking out other stay-at-homemoms and asking if they would be interested in doing daycare. If youhave trouble finding good people full-time, try finding 2 providers andhave each do 2-3 regular days each week. My wife stays at home andtakes care of our friends' child 2-3 days a week. Our kids love to bearound each other, so it worked out well when the mom went back towork part time.You don't have to sacrifice quality to cur expenses in day care. Thehard part will be finding people you trust who are interested. Trygetting involved in various maternity/mothers/nursing/support groupsin your area. Churches are a great place to start and find contacts.If you husband is a teacher, does his district provide some sort ofday-care or assistance? Maybe there is a network of moms who do daycare/babysitting?3) Get on your husband's insurance right away. In some/most statespregnancy is not handled as a "pre-existing condition" and will becovered under normal plan polocies as long as you can join before thebirth. Those hospital bills will be real whoppers, trust me.4) Just in case, try to save the mutual fund for the hospital billsin case you have to pay out-of-pocket. That's one large bill that'llhit you all at once and at a time when your income will be suspended.5) If you read the Fool a lot, you know about playing the balancetansfer game. See if you can consolidate those CC's and get that$800 minimumm down a bit. 6) Those car loans are killers too. Cars deperciate so fast, thoughI don't know if you can trade one in (trade down) and eliminate apayment or not. That is another avenue to explore though.Best of luck, and please write back and let us know how you are ableto make progress! I'm sure you'll find a way to work through it. Dave
Yowza. Have you considered that you might be LOSING money if you go back to work, even with your raise? $1400/mo on child care is a HUGE chunk of money, and between that and commuting costs and other work costs, your family may be coming out behind.If I were you, I would seriously consider not going back to work at your current job--promotion or no. Perhaps you could take some night classes to increase your skills and work your way up to a higher paying profession, or perhaps you could work on a consulting basis (and likely make more money). Think about it.d
>>3) Get on your husband's insurance right away. In some/most statespregnancy is not handled as a "pre-existing condition" and will becovered under normal plan polocies as long as you can join before thebirth. Those hospital bills will be real whoppers, trust me.<<If husband is a teacher and she works for the state, they probably are on the same insurance plan??-jekkel
They have a plan for $4.95 that has a small banner ad at the top.where? I've gone to www.att.com and www.att.netNot finding any banner ads for 4.95 at all. Do you have a URL?Thanks!t.
Not finding any banner ads for 4.95 at all. Do you have a URL?Thanks!I don't have a link handy but they sent me a CD in the mail with the offer. You need to be careful because not only do you get a little banner ad but they are also tracking your web movements to target those ads and who knows what else they will do with that data?
I agree with the "stay at home and sell one car" crowd. I did the same thing two years ago (our income dropped 67% - ouch!). I understand the sanity concern. It is a difficult job - but very rewarding. I sell stuff on Ebay to make a few bucks. I have become the coupon queen to cut back on grocery bills. We have home-cooked meals instead of paying more for convenience foods (healthier too). Also, I have the time to cut back on other expenses because I can shop around for the best deal: thrift/consignment store shop, market insurance coverage, spend time disputing inappropriate charges, etc. Besides, being a stay at home mom is not forever - it is just a small part of your life. Make the most if it!why don't you check out the Motley Fool's Stay at Home Parents Board?Good Luck!
Hmmph!! It's a myth that teacher's get such great benefits! My district expects me to pay $400 a month to add my family for health insurance. The deductibles are high and the insurances company has been dropped by numerous doctors around here because the insurance company does not pay their bills!!Good Luck in whatever you decide. I agree that you are paying an outrageous amount for daycare. We use a family home daycare and pay $340 a month for one child. Our caregiver is a grand person. If you decide to stay at home, taking care of another child or other children would give your older child someone to play with!Also, I had a plymouth voyager, too. I loved it until the side door kept falling off.:-( It was a '92. I now drive a Toyota. I love my toyota!
why don't you check out the Motley Fool's Stay at Home Parents Board?Could you please post that link, for the life of me I can't find it LOL:)
I would try to find a way to cut daycare costs. Maybe find someone that you know or trust that already has kids/etc. That will be able to watch yours for some extra money. That is about the best suggestion. But you have to be careful who you trust your kids too. not to mention even with daycares.
I must voice that I would also recommend staying at home and becoming a one car family. I don't know what part of the country you are in, but The diversity in what daycare costs is amazing. I go out of town to work sometimes and take my almost 2 year old with me when I do. In Kingman, Arizona I was paying $75 a week for daycare and in Nyack, New York I paid $50 a day (which was on the low end- plenty of people/centers were charging $10-$13 an HOUR!!!)Anyway- staying home is SO worthwhile, especially if you can find a support groups of other Moms (whether they stay at home or not).I would suggest calling your local La Leche League chapter (these women also are likely to have money and time saving tips for you;-)you can look for a local contact at lalecheleague.orgalso- Breastfeeding is FREE - and usually results in lower health care costs later on.Another good link if you are considering cloth diapers (it's just laundry and you only have to buy them once!)is amitysworld.com - there are links to everything from how to make your own diapers to where to get the spiffy ones (used & clean) for a big discount, and how to stretch a buck. Taking in even one other child during the day would be great - and maybe you can co-op playdates for your older child (you can take one of her friends in at your house so that mom can get stuff done on Tuesdays and then you have Thursdays to spend alone (with the baby) to get caught up on yourself. Or maybe you can even co-op out a couple hours a week with another new mom and have some time ALONE (that would never happen in my house) that didn't involve being in the shower;-)The cell phone you may wish to keep until the baby is born (just in case you are who knows where when labor strikes) but cheap long distance is everywhere - http://ld.net/?tconi is a link to look at some low long distance options. Figure out if you spend the equivalent payment each month in "free" long distance.Stock up on Rice and Pasta - change from drinking pop to water...ease up on the amount of juice for the 3 year old- and only do concentrate or jug juice- and use tupperware (thrift store) instead of juice boxes...the ways to spend less and make it worthwhile both financially as well as emotionally are numerous.Do not despair. Run the numbers and do the right thing for you.You may want to post this also on the Women & investing board - you'll get more advice than you may want.OK- I'll stop- but I'd love to go on.....peace and pregnancy.t
...a parent's mental health needs to be considered here Well, how about the stay at home parent getting a part-time evening or weekend job to get out and talk to adults while other parent is with kids?Ishtar
two quickiesThe Stay-at-Home Moms and dads board is in the Speaker's Corner folder (for whoever was looking for it)and here is a link to a post in Wenchypoo's House of Wisdom (also in Speaker's COrnerhttp://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=15555428which is entitled "Can you afford to work' and if you read it and email her, she has a 'calculator tat will figure it out and prompt you for expenses you may not have considered.peace and patiencet
Here is the link to the Stay-at-home moms and dads board:http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=15511975
In fact, if you can't find a home daycare that fits your style, why not run your own? There are probably other parents in your same situation who would love to find someone like YOU to care for their kids. Benefits: saving on work-related expenses, being home with your kids, and earning an income. Gotta to agree with most the crowd here, plus with the above suggestion. If you can put in a good word with the school district(especially considering your hubby is a teacher), then you could make money while taking care of kids.If that is not a viable option, then stay home with the kids and take a part time job at night and on weekends.Plus, it might not be the thing for you and it is your own personal decision, but I would like to think your kids would be better off being raised by you than spending forty hours a week in daycare.
Hi, I am not sure if anyone pointed any calculator like this, but basically even with one (at least to my estimates), I was $300 better staying at home - and that's with just one child.And, yes, one of my friends just checked in our area (Mercer county, NJ) - under 2 y.o. - $750 (full day care, 7 am-6 pm), the older one - under 3 y.o. - $690.http://www.parenting.com/parenting/family_finance/budget/stay_home.htmlHope this will help in your decisionJulia
I raised two kids on a school teacher's salary while my wife worked occasionally part time. Considering the huge cost you pay for child care, I would suggest one of the two of you trying to take a child care leave of abscence. If that is not possible then could one of you work evening or nights while the other works during the day. This will allow you to keep at least most of your two salaries.One of the most important investments you can make is to spend time with your children when they are young and in their formative years. IT would be well worth the sacrifice, even though you have to live on far less money.I also noticed you must be driving pretty nice cars. I still have never spent more than 5000 for a car. You can buy good used cars for far less than what your paying.I also would have tried to keep ownership in a house, even though this would have left no money for retirement right now. House prices keep going up and rent gives you no return on equity. You still have a teacher's retirement you are automatically paying into.As to saving money for college, your kids should be able to borrow the funds when the time comes. You will help your childrens future a lot more, if you spend time with them when they are young.Last but not least, try to enjoy simple unexpensive things like going for walks, or planting a garden. It doesn't take a lot of money to enjoy life.Good luck
<<a parent's mental health needs to be considered here :) >>I don't post much around thses parts....but here is my take....Your mental health will be much the WORSE if you don't get into a better financial position!! I remember reading somewhere that financial difficulties are the cause of some 75-90% (I think?!?!) of family problems. I don't know if those were the exact #'s...but it was pretty astounding!!And going without work would only be for a couple of years....the oldest will soon be in school, and then daycare for one would be a viable option!As for the cars, if you sell....get rid of that Rav4 first. It is not as usuable as the Voyager. However I would sell both and get an older mini-van...they are GREAT for kids! The other car that I would get would be an older Honda or Toyota....then find a good TRUSTWORTHY mechanic. My wife had a '88 Civic hatch back that had 125,000 miles on it when she got it from her brother. We put a good 80,000 miles on it....and now her sister drives it. And it is not just an around town car....she goes from Texas (home) to Utah (school) with it once or twice a year!!! Parts are expensive....but I have seen few other cars run that good!! 2 cars...One mini van....one small and ECONOMICAL!!!Just my two pennies!!JnM
I suspect that you're sick of suggestions however my wife and I have lived through many of your problems and I can't help throwing in my two cents.1. One of you should stay home with your children, at least for the first five years of their lives. No one can give your children the love and care that you can. If you don't believe that's true then you shouldn't be having babies anyway.2. It sounds like you already feel a little guilty about leaving your children at daycare anyway. I say this because you are willing to spend whatever it takes to insure the best care possible. An expensive day care doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best place for your child. The best place for your child is with you.3. Your husband is a teacher, let him teach and nurture his own children during the day. Maybe he can teach night school to make some extra money.4. My wife and I decided long ago that she would be the primary parent and I would be the "bread winner". There are times along the way when she has been frustrated by her role as mom because it's often a seemingly thankless job. The kids don't appreciate your hard work while it's happening. Now that we've gotten one son through college and have two more in high school my wife can see the results of her labors. They are good kids and they are because she put in the effort to make sure.5. As the "work outside the home" parent, I can say in retrospect that I wish that I had been the one at home. I know that it would probably have been tougher than my career but I feel like I've missed so much. 6. Enjoy every day of their young lives and spend as much time with your children as you can. There is no greater gift that you can give to your children than to be a stay at home parent. You can be their teacher and their good example, not a stranger.7. You mentioned "parent's mental health". In today's society, the most important person is "me". Forget about your mental health for a second. Think about what your kids need. Is it better for them to be farmed out to a day care so that you can be away from them? It doesn't make much sense to me that your husband leaves his own children to go off and be with someone else's children. Also, if one of you can stay at home to teach your children right and wrong now, I guarantee that when they are teenagers your mental health will be better knowing that you've got kids you can trust.8. I know that this sounds like a lecture but if you put your children as your highest priority you can't go wrong. One of you should stay at home during the day. If that person wants to work nights and weekends then great.9. Pay off your credit card debt as soon as possible. One of you should work nights or weekends.10. Don't touch your 401k. You will regret it. If one of you has to work evenings and weekends until the credit card is paid off then do it. Having to work extra would be a great way to learn about the evils of credit card debt.11. If there is no way for one of you to give up your outside job then consider moving to a place where day care is cheaper.12. Consider becoming a one car family.In summary, one of you should become a stay at home parent, someone works evenings and weekends at least until the credit card is paid off, leave your retirement alone and become a one car family.Good luck,Tim
this may have been covered by someone else already, but have you considered staying at home and opening your own at-home daycare for a couple of kids? that would save you the 16k you'd be paying for care and bring in another 400 - 500 a month.
Hi, I'm weighing in a bit late here, but I heartily add my vote to have one parent stay at home. It makes sense financially. You say, "...a parent's mental health needs to be considered." AGREED! But for a different reason than you imply. I will venture to guess that 3 out of 4 parents who quit their job to stay home with the kids wonder why they ever thought about day care in the first case. Our family's income is a bit higher than yours, but not a lot; my wife quit her teaching job when our first little guy was born 4 years ago; now we have 2 sons. She would NEVER even think of going back to work until the kids are in school, and even then probably not. The thrill of being with your kids every day, watching them grow up too fast, and training them up is more fulfilling than any amount of $$$ you could think of. I envy her.This may sound radical, but how about moving? Teachers are in high demand everywhere, so you could pick a less expensive location that offers a great place to raise your kids. That's a big leap, but it sounds like you're slowly drowning, both financially and mentally. Erik
Sell the car(s)Stay at home.(Work part time weekends for mental health. If the work is for "mental health" then that should be enough. I know a two mothers who do this. --one mother is the wife of a partner at a huge accouting firm so I know she does't need the money) Use the proceeds from the part time job to pay on the credit cards.Really really watch increases in debt. It will sap your mental health much more than the raising of kids....Joe
That's all the savings we have except for the 401K and retirement balances which of course we won't touch. If either one of your 401K plans allows you to borrow from the account this is a good short term solution until you can get your debt under better control. Some plans allow you to borrow up to 50% of the vested balance in your 401K plan. Then you repay the amount with it usually being deducted straight from your paycheck. The best part is the interest rate is low, typically prime plus 1 or 2% (a total of around 7%) and the interest you are paying is paid back to yourself in your own account Take the entire lump sum you can borrow from the 40lK account and apply it to your largest interest debt (whether CC or car loan.) Good luck.
One thing I would consider is not going back to work. I figure that based on you making approx. 36K of the 66K, you are netting maybe 10k to 12k after taxes and daycare. That would be reduced more by work expenses, ie commuting costs, clothes, etc.. You have to ask yourself whether its worth it right now. Maybe you should be a stay at home mom for a few years (better for the kids) and your husband could make up the loss in real income with a second job. You'll never get a second chance to raise your own kids! Also, get rid of the credit cards!
No one can give your children the love and care that you can. If you don't believe that's true then you shouldn't be having babies anywayI have to take exception with this. We both worked when my daughter was young. We worked different shifts and I paid $3 per hour for childcare in a lady's home. My daughter is happy, well adjusted, does well in school, has tons of friends, and knows how to behave in public. Other people really can give your child great care. I don't get the part about you shouldn't be having babies anyway (if we don't agree that we should stay home for the first 5 years of our children's lives?). That's just not true.Just because kids are in daycare does not mean that a parent abdicates responsibility. It also does not mean that the parents do not influence their children. If the childcare center, whether it be a daycare center or a private home, does not take care of your kids with the same philosophy that you would employ, your child does not belong there in the first place.Louise
"a parent's mental health needs to be considered here :)"So are you saying that you need to work to maintain your mental health? Or that staying home and raising your kids yourself would jeopardize your mental health? What about the mental health of your children? Wouldn't they be better served by you being at home with them than being in a daycare center where individual attention and love are much harder to come by? Just my two cents. I know this will probably offend a lot of people but I think we've lost the big picture when it comes to raising our kids. We'll put ourselves in debt with expensive daycare while letting other people raise our kids.
Time for different child care!!!You're being robbed! Sounds like you'd save more money if you stayed home with the kids! If you and your husband are only making about 60K together, then your child care expense is pretty close to equal the lesser paying job's take home pay. My husband and I worked different shifts to cut the child care expense. But if you don't want to "miss" your husband that much, just a part time job at night (couple of nights a week), will eliminate your child care expense and give you some "extra", and still let you see your husband. Good Luck with the new baby!
One suggestion I haven't seen yet is to cut up your credit cards. Do not let them get you in any deeper. Do not touch your 401. Do not worry about your mental stability in staying home with your kids. It will be a rewarding experience watching them grow, educating them, and getting them ready for life. If this is not true, absolutely do not have any more kids.My wife gave up almost 90k per year to stay at home last year, and while difficult for her to suspend a promising career, my 2 children love it. That is most important.You can do this. After the amount of money that we save, we live on 60k. To give you an idea of our monthly expenses and how we do it:House payment - 800Car Ins - 150Disablity/life - 55Cable - 57phone - 33water - 60garbage coll - 17electric - 100real est taxes - 200Home owners fee- 15Car payment - 305 (never have more than 1 at a time)Total of ~ 1800We budget all other expenses, which include gas, food, sports, and any other entertainment to $1300 per month. We charge everything on a Shell Mastercard to earn free gas, and pay it in full every month. We track it as the month goes along, and if we are going to exceed our budget, we wait until next month. We have not carried a balance on a credit card in 10 years. I'm not sure you are ready for that right now given your credit card debt. When you are, either do not use the things, or pay them off every month. There is no other option if you want to stay out of trouble.If you do not have this kind of detail on where you spend your money, you cannot control it. I promise you that monitoring it in detail every month will reduce it.I would like to have suggested to you that you refinance your house at an amount that would have allowed you to pay off your credit cards. I think you said somewhere that it was about 18k you owed. Owing 100K on the house and refinancing at 120k would have added about $140 per month to your payment.That would have been a savings of $650 on your $800 credit card payment, much more significant that the $200 you saved by moving to an apartment. And you would have the house.Good luck, and pay off the credit cards first. Even if one of you has to take a job at night.
Just a quick thought on the cars...my husband and I drive a Chevy Lumina Mini van and a Mercedes sedan. We picked a 72 Mercedes because 1)it is a classic body style that always looks good and is dependable, and 2) we needed a car that gave our clients the impression of "success" (our previous car, an 82 chevy chevette, didn't inspire much confidence from our clients...)... purchase price $1900...our Lumina is a 1990 purchased for $2500, we spent about $500 in repairs when we bought it. Picked it for the same reasons...dependability and the body style doesn't give away it's age. Just trying to illustrate how much can be saved if you put a lot of thought and effort into seeking out new cars...make sure you have it gone over by a mechanic you trust before you hand over the cash, tho.re: daycare, post an ad with student employemnt at a nearby college, if you have one. When my children were small this never failed me. It helps to find someone who lives in the area year-round, rather than only during the school year, otherwise you'll be looking for a new baby sitter every 4 months.
http://download.att.net/onlinecatalog/The 4.95 per month is for 150 hours and also is a fee for long distance - you have to use AT&T as LD carrier , at 7 cents/minute for LD, and the support for the interrnet access is not good (e.g., it does support MS Outlook Express, but not MS outlook for email), but it's still a pretty good deal.
8/15/01: Dear E:You sound like you're in a bind. Here are some thoughts: 1) If you can, sell the two cars and get two less expensive cars--either used, or new and much less expensive. I'd even try getting by with one car/minivan. This is no longer a "beauty contest" of what chic car(s) you can own; you're in deep trouble and need to take corrective measures now. If the cars are leased, do the math: see if you can negotiate your way, face-to-face with a general manager at the dealership, to give up the cars with no penalty (usually there's a hefty one to get out early from a lease). If that doesn't work, see how much you can reduce by begging s/he to let you out. Then, run the numbers and see what you can get at a reduced price, what that will cost you and what, if anything, you'll save in a year's time by going to a less expensive vehicle in spite of paying the penalty. 2) Yes, you have two kids, but one of you needs to go the extra mile at nite for about a year and get an extra job at nite or on weekends, or better, both nites and weekends. Maybe two years to start paying off some of the medical and credit card debt, too. Or, as a teached, your spouse get job during the summer. 3) At least until you are completely out of credit card debt, you do need to return to work after having the second child. 4) $1,400 a month is unreal; is there nothing you can do to reduce this number? Have you tried church groups (even those that are not of your faith--they will provide services) that provide daycare, any other resources? Have you called around and really checked to see if there's something less expensive? I know you're concerned and I'm not doubting you but that's almost $17,000 per year of bottom line dollars which requires you to EARN $24,000 just to pay for daycare! Any relatives that you could push this on for 3, 6 or 12 months? How about a rotating 3 months among some stay-at-home relatives? Or, a month-to-month rotation. You'd have to embarrass yourself by telling them that this is because you're both in financial difficulty, but it's called "biting the bullet". And to live in the world of what is vs. what you'd like it to be. 5) Forget vacations for the next two years, even at Christmas to relatives if they're far away. And begin a budget that stresses few or no gifts for two years. 6) Speaking of budgets, you need to get together with some local and free consumer credit agency not to reduce your credit card debt, but to see if they have a budget plan to follow. You both need a budget, and one that you will follow with almost a religious fervor or zeal! THIS IS ESSENTIAL, or you're going to lose everything. You've already, basically, lost your house. 7) You're right in leaving your retirement plans alone and not tapping into them. I don't like not contributing any more even for a little while, but I guess it's essential. Once, you've figured out your economics a little more with the help of a budget, you need to pay down the credit card debt based on the most costly (highest percentage charge) first. If you pay the minimum, it'll take something like 50+ years to pay it all off. So, obviously, at some point sooner than later you need to start paying off the debt at more than the minimum.I don't want to sound like an alarmist, but you are teetering on the brink of real financial disaster. And you know it because you've essentially lost your house and all the equity in it. While my recommendation that one of you work evenings and/or weekends may sound extreme, just think of all the people in this country who go to nite school for five, six or more years. It can be done. If you want it bad enuff and frankly, you need to want it bad enuff.And if the above doesn't give you sufficient reason to make some more drastic changes, please recognize this is the lesson you are/will be teaching your children. Do you want to teach financial responsiblility or its opposite? That's not me moralizing; those are the fact.So, that's it for me: cars, budget, extra work, going back to work, paying off the debt, relatives, gifts, trips, daycare. It sounds hard, and it is. But, I think you're both up to it. You may choose to share this with your spouse.I wish you well.wi
Wow! $1400 in child care?!!! Do you mind?, what kind of care do you have, that is outrageous!Thats not really all that outrageous for quality childcare. There are many places around here (Raleigh, NC) that are in that range and above. The ones that are below that (say $400 or less) are places that I could not trust - especially with the lives of my children.However, if you do a lot of shopping around, you can find good quality places for better prices - we did (around 500-550 - I can't remember exactly anymore). Check your local area churches - some may have programs that give good care for less money.Bob
I think you both are assuming one lives in an area that HAS local direct access to the Internet!If one lives outside of larger towns you more normally have to pay about $18 - $20/mth. But, in dire situations does one NEED the access? How about the local library as a substitute?BC
You're paving the way to your financial disaster. Get new jobs that pay more and look into a midwife for your delivery. It might be cheaper. Good Luck.
Hmmm, perhaps others see that $6K a bit different than I do. Are you saying some employer would cut you a check for $6K OR over your employment YEAR (12 months) your ANNUAL income would increase by $6K?? The latter seems more likely.BC
"It's not how much you make, but how much you keep"A concept that seems to elude many people these days.
"Hmmm, perhaps others see that $6K a bit different than I do. Are you saying some employer would cut you a check for $6K OR over your employment YEAR (12 months) your ANNUAL income would increase by $6K?? The latter seems more likely."Good question. I know of some nurses that were offered a bonus of $5K (if I remember correctly) if they stayed for 2 years. I still think that staying home is the best option. I can't believe how much money I save by being home rather than working a "regular" job.L
You don't explain why you sold your house other than to save on monthly payments of $200/month. A good accountant should have helped you weigh the tax savings on your mortgage and interest payments and child care credits to offset the payments. You don't say how large the house was or if you were in a college area, where you could have rented a room(s) for additional income toward the mortgage. Also, a live-in babysitter /housekeeper costs around $175-$260 per week in my very expensive area of suburban New York City. Much less than your child care costs. You also have very large car payments. I don't know if you have talked to a "good accountant", who can also give you financial advice but you should review your financial situation re selling the house, and back out of it if you can if the savings outweigh the carrying charges. If you still feel renting is the way to go, or best financially, then bite the bullet and:1. Don't keep up with the Joneses!Sell the cars and get rid of the monthly payments, and buy cheap junker(s). I have a 14 year old car that I put about $650 into yearly to replace parts that wear out. I still get 27mpg city and 30mpg highway so I also save on gas! It ain't pretty, but I don't worry about $400 monthly payments or gettting dings that reduce the resale and my insurance is cheaper too. A friend of mine got a junker for $250 and has put about $400 into it over the year for new (used tires) and some small repairs. I bought my son a Honda Accord (loaded) that was 10 years old with less than 100,000 miles on it for $1,600 cash. It needs new tires and some minor electrical repairs since an accident he had, but he tooled around in it for a year, and now it is my "spare" in case my car dies. Except for a mangled fender, it runs great and gets better mileage than newer cars. 2. Reduce your credit card rates.You don't mention the credit card rates, but you should try to get the interest rate and therefore monthly payments lowered. That alone would knock off a couple hundred a month in interest payments. Check out a Credit Card Counseling service (often free, tho sometimes there is a small fee, and they will negotiate on your behalf to make your credit card payments more reasonable.3. Stop gettting into debt. Make money by saving money. When I became a single mom, I lived on less than $12,000 a year, to be home more with my son, and not work full-time. I had a 1st mortgage and a 2nd on my small, 2 bedroom home. It was a struggle, but now that house kicks out income from renting it, and someone else pays my mortgage(s) by paying me rent! I have all the equity my tenants have paid off for me. The house is worth double what I paid for it 15 years ago. I also get monthly income after expenses, courtesy of Uncle Sam. All the expense right-offs for rental property, allows me to improve my home, increase its value and reduces the taxes I pay on the income from my job! It is one of my best savings vehicles.Buy used, from thrift stores, or resale shops, ask friends and families for castoffs that you can recycle. Or do with out! I bought my designer suits, small appliances, glassware, and childrens clothes for pennies from resale and thrift shops. Often times, I got brand new stuff that were salesmen samples or gifts that were never used. I also resold my used, "used clothes" and items to these resale shops and cleared about $50 per month, and that was several years ago. You might get double that today! I told all my friends and family to give me all thier cast-offs, and I would dispose of them for them. I washed the clothes and household stuff and either gave them to the re-sale stores and made money or donated them to thrift stores, and the donations helped reduce my taxes (in fact I got large refunds every year! just for helping others clean out thier closets! It took me less than 2 hours a month!)I bought in bulk but only what I knew I would use. And we ate spaghetti and bologna sandwiches 3-4 times a week. My son loved it, cause kids like to "keep it simple" and breakfast was hot oatmeal and pancakes and eggs, @$1 a meal per person, instead of boxed expensive cereal loaded with preservatives and fat! To this day he is not overweight, or unhealthy, and he eats real food instead of garbage now that he is in college and on his own. 4. Live-ins are cheaper!If your apartment is big enough, get a live-in babysitter/housekeeper. You will save a couple of hundred a month compared to the separate day care expenses, and the security of knowing the kids are growing up in thier own home, and help with some of the household chores. And/or, rent out a spare bedroom to a college kid, or an elderly single to bring in some more income. I know people who have done that and usually college kids are gone most of the time in class, working and studying. You really need to sit down and see where all the money is going. Though $60,000 seems like very little to you, it is a great deal to me. The difference is I am ready, willing and able to live within my "means" and put every spare penny into savings and investments, because having those "cushions" is my "priority". I am married now, but my husband had to close down a business and is struggling to start a new one. Raising 4 of his kids all headed to (community) college (much cheaper) in the next 5 years, hampers our savings in the short run. But we barbecue at home and invite friends with potluck to socialize, go to freezie local events, (free) videos from the library, bicyling for recreation (free bicycles left over from a garage sale that they put out for the trash), and lots of long walks - when we can escape the kids, (especially in the swanky, forest like rich area nearby which is romantic and the best benefit - more time for each other to build our relationship and no amount of money can buy that)! But you could do that with your kids. Go to the park, pack a picnic, attend an outdoor (free concert); don't buy take out, make multiples and freeze for fast meals! ie. I buy chicken bones and make chicken soup which I strain and freeze, and the veggies are a side dish for the first meal. The meat I pick off the bones ususally adds up to at least 1 cup, usually 2-3 and I make chicken pot pie in a large pan. A can of mixed veggies, plus a potato and some onion with the chicken for filler, a cup of flour and some shortening for the crust, and it fills a 9 x 14 pan! I get soup for several meals, and the chicken pot pie fees upto 8 people or I freeze for later meals. Pennies for a delicious healthy meal, and it takes me less than 1 hour.Last but not least. Make a budget, then stick with it. Really, if you do it will work! That's how I paid off loans and built assests (savings). You have to have a goal to work with and not just survive day to day. My son and I never felt deprived, or poor. We weren't financially wealthy, but we got what we "needed", and occasionally but not "always" what we "wanted" which changed weekly/monthly/yearly anyway. Don't live off of $45,000 a year, (after taxes) live off of $35,000/year. And put the additional $10,000 into savings. Make a budget for less than you earn, and the rest put into savings. Think like that, and you will be able to live within your means, and save for your future. It works if you commit to making it work. Good luck.
"they are also tracking your web movements"In other words, "selling your privicy for the better rate." I think one needs to consider their options just a little bit and maybe not sell privicy so cheap. You can never buy it back . . .BC
Maybe I'm crazy but perhaps you should consider quiting your job, staying home and take care of your children. Advantages to this approach would be; 1) decreased daycare costs of $18,000 per year ($1,500 per month) 2) less need for an expensive car for commuting, trade it for a less expensive car and save an additional 50% or $200 to $400 per month 3) reduced daily expenses since you will no longer be spending money for commuting to work, lunches and coffee out, etc. 4) your insurance may be lower due to no commuting 5) your children will be closer to you and you to them.Consider it.........it's worked for others for generations.good luckRich
Has your husband been teaching summer school? In addition to a weekends/evening job, I think that summer school makes sense. You can make more money to pay off debt,sell the car, and reduce expenses significantly by being home. I mentioned before that I was working and making more than dh. I sat down and figured out that after deducting taxes/working expenses/childcare/convenience products I was only making $600 a month. Hey, having my kids in childcare wasn't worth $600 a month. I worked three 12 hour days and would kiss my youngest good morning and good night. That was all that I saw him. Not worth it. By being home, I save at least the $600 a month that I was "making" and have de-cluttered and sold so much stuff. We are much better off financially and emotionally.As far as mental health, maybe you get the part-time job on weekends and evenings and dh works summer school. You can get out of the house that way and not have childcare costs. Many, many ways to make more money and cut those expenses.L
First let me say "Thank You" for all the wonderful responses. There's nothing like getting some advice from neutral sources....our family members are very giving when it comes to advice but they also are biased sometimes. Anyhow, I took some of the advice and started looking around for cheaper daycare. There is a promising center that will watch both kids for the same amount as I am paying for one right now...and the bonus is that the center is right across the street from where I work! I just never knew it was there. That may be a viable option cutting costs from $1,400 to $700 per month. The $6K bonus is a salary increase, not a one time deal...so I'd be making $38K vs. $32K per year....there is no time limits or anything like that. I had every intention of being a stay-at-home mom when this baby comes along but then the promotion issue came up...also, both sides of the family will not even listen to the idea of me staying at home....they say that my college degree and brain smarts will go to waste if I do. Same thing for my husband...."being a teacher is so rewarding"....yeah, yeah. My question is then why is it okay for my sister-in-law to be a SAHM for the past 6 years with 3 kids??? Talk about treating us differently...Anyway, I really do appreciate all the responses and will take into consideration all suggestions. One thing I really don't want to do is endanger our finances....we have A+ credit and I've really strived to keeping it that way. So, keep them coming and I'll let you guys know what we decide. Thanks, again!!!!
<<I had every intention of being a stay-at-home mom when this baby comes along but then the promotion issue came up...also, both sides of the family will not even listen to the idea of me staying at home....they say that my college degree and brain smarts will go to waste if I do. Same thing for my husband...."being a teacher is so rewarding"....yeah, yeah. My question is then why is it okay for my sister-in-law to be a SAHM for the past 6 years with 3 kids??? Talk about treating us differently...>> It sounds as though you are finding feminism not to be as liberating as it's cracked up to be. It sounds as though you are a victim of female chauvinists! Seattle Pioneer
"Plus, it might not be the thing for you and it is your own personal decision, but I would like to think your kids would be better off being raised by you than spending forty hours a week in daycare."Strange how times have changed, isn't it? I agree, IF it works for you. It sure worked for many others for a LONG time! :-)BC
1. One of you should stay home with your children, at least for the first five years of their lives. No one can give your children the love and care that you can. If you don't believe that's true then you shouldn't be having babies anyway.While I agree that for some people stay at home is best, it's not right in all situations and I really bristle at blanket statements like this.Some of us don't have a choice.Ishtar
"I had every intention of being a stay-at-home mom when this baby comes along but then the promotion issue came up...also, both sides of the family will not even listen to the idea of me staying at home....they say that my college degree and brain smarts will go to waste if I do. Same thing for my husband...."being a teacher is so rewarding"....yeah, yeah. My question is then why is it okay for my sister-in-law to be a SAHM for the past 6 years with 3 kids??? Talk about treating us differently..."Why, why, why do you care or ask what your in-laws or parents think about you staying home? They are your children and it is your decision. Are the grandparents willing to take care of the children, or are they only willing to have you pay childcare? Are they providing any assistance for their great advice? Probably not.It's too late now, but selling your home to save $200 a month was, well, not your best financial move.Brain smarts don't go to waste being home. I had a high level management position with the state when I quit and I use my thinking cap a great deal more at home. Use your brains to figure out how to save some cash and fix your financial quagmire. Your raise will be an extra $400 a month. If you are able to reduce your childcare by $700 a month, you will acually make around $1,200 take home a month rather than the projected $100 a month.Make your decision as a couple for what is best for you financially and for the kids. Working parents all will tell you about how great their kids have turned out in childcare, but being home with your children is still better than having someone else raise your kids for 50+ hours a week out of 100 waking hours. Argue about it all you want, but it's true. No one will care for your children as well as you.If you are able to get the raise and reduce your childcare by half, then I would do the following:1. Reduce expenses (cloth diapers at home, increase deductibles, no eating out, pumping at work...)2. Dh works summers teaching or whatever and gets a part-time job during the year.3. Stop using cc4. Sell one car and get a beater. Better yet, sell one car and use public transportation and don't buy another car.5. Don't ask for advice from your parents or his. They have different criteria for you than the other kids and will be biased to have you work and the others stay at home.6. Don't lose sight of the goal to stay home if that is what you want. Maybe you will only have to work for 2 more years. Just get out of debt and save some cash so that you can live on dh income if that is what your goals are. Remember, they are your goals, not someone elses.L
>There is a promising center that will watch both kids for the same amount as I am paying for one right now...and the bonus is that the center is right across the street from where I work! I just never knew it was there. That may be a viable option cutting costs from $1,400 to $700 per monthOne item I didn't see mentioned was the $5,000 child care Section 125 election you can make with your employer before the beginning of next year. It helped us a lot to have daycare paid pre-tax rather than after-tax.
> 1. One of you should stay home with your children, at least for the first five years of their lives. No one can give your children the love and care that you can. If you don't believe that's true then you shouldn't be having babies anyway.> While I agree that for some people stay at home is best, it's not right in all situations and I really bristle at blanket statements like this.> Some of us don't have a choice.Ah yes, but somewhere along the line perhaps you *had* a choice, and made a bad decision? The point here is to convey wisdom to those who are in a position to make the best choice, and avoid less desirable "situations". There is no doubt whatsoever that staying home and actively raising children is best.
JnM >>However I would sell both and get an older mini-van...they are GREAT for kids! The other car that I would get would be an older Honda or Toyota....then find a good TRUSTWORTHY mechanic. I love my Honda Odyssey (minivan) but I would avoid the 1999 model year. That was the year they completely redesigned it and there were an unusual number of problems with it. Check out www.cartalk.com in the reader survey comments section. However, 1999 wasn't as bad as nearly every year for the Dodge Caravan or Ford Windstar. Minivan gas mileage stinks though for all of them. I'd stick with a Honda Civic (four door) or the Toyota equivalent. You can fit four adults or two adults and two car seats in a Civic in reasonable comfort.Debora
A problem you probably have with the family, and maybe with other people, about being a stay at home mom is one of perception. To most of them you are giving up work and therefore aren't bringing in an income of $30+k. They look at it as if you aren't making it on $60k how can you make it on $30k???? They just don't see that the costs to earn that extra money could be more than the income itself. Even if it's not, in your situation you are working at a $30k job for minimum wage or less just because of those costs. But it is hard to convince some people, especially older ones and hubbies, of this because all they see is the paycheck coming in and can't seem to relate the money going out to enable that money to come in. To them 30k is 30k. Like someone in our company once said in a meeting, "it doesn't matter if you sell a million pounds of hamburger, if you lose a penny a pound then you have lost $10k" when someone pointed out that sales were up over the previous year without taking into account increased costs. This seems to be the situation you are in. Just have to try and connect the dots for them and hope you succeed, especially with the hubby. Lots of luckWolfshead
and the support for the interrnet access is not good (e.g., it does support MS Outlook Express, but not MS outlook for email), but it's still a pretty good deal. How is that possible? Outlook supports the same email protocols Outlook Express does, plus a couple. You have to tell Outlook to use internet protocols; it tends to prefer Exchange (the MS email server).
I had every intention of being a stay-at-home mom when this baby comes along but then the promotion issue came up...also, both sides of the family will not even listen to the idea of me staying at home....they say that my college degree and brain smarts will go to waste if I do. This is one line of thinking I >really< don't understand."All those brains will go to waste on your kids - go to the office and write a report no one will read."Off hand, I can't think of a better thing to use your talents and skills on than your children, if that's your choice. I'm not militant about folks staying home with their kids, but I do think it's worthy of serious consideration.I also don't like the implication in that statement - you don't have to be too bright to raise kids. Well, if you do it right, raising kids can be very challenging for both the parents and the child. It's not just a matter of taping the kid to the couch and flipping on Barney for 6 hours...Children are the key to immortality. Fifty years from now, no one will remember your excellent third quarter budget, or the presentation you gave at the November staff meeting. They'll see your influence, good or bad, reflected in your children and grandchildren.
<Fifty years from now, no one will remember your excellent third quarter budget, or the presentation you gave at the November staff meeting. They'll see your influence, good or bad, reflected in your children and grandchildren.>Very well put! I'll make sure my family members see it from that point of view....no, they don't have the final say as to us staying at home or working, nor do they offer to pay for the daycare costs...however, family is very important to us and we value their opinions. This is one idea that I will pass on to them. Thanks, bstroh.
Get rid of the cars. Buy some older models that run for a couple of thousand each or use public transportation. Insurance on used cars is usually cheaper also. Put extra money on credit cards. Child care and one car are costing you 21,600 per year. Have you looked at some other form of child care? In your home or a relative? At 21,600 per year it may be cheaper for one of you to stay home and take care of the kids. Have you looked at this? Good luck. You might look for an apartment that is cheaper, or a management position you could trade for an apartment.
I had every intention of being a stay-at-home mom when this baby comes along but then the promotion issue came up...also, both sides of the family will not even listen to the idea of me staying at home....they say that my college degree and brain smarts will go to waste if I do.Excuse me, but it is SO not any of the family's business!! This is why I don't discuss financial issues with anyone but my husband. And if the parents or in-laws start to butt in, I smile sweetly and say "Thanks for your concern, but we're happy with our choices." Then I repeat as necessary until they get bored.As for your husband, he is probably worried about the money. If you do the math and show him how little financial impact it will have if you stay home, he will orobably come around.
This is my first time at posting, I normally just read them, but I have to agree with most people....Stay home with your kids. Mine are now 25 and 27 years old and they always tell me that they loved having me home while they were growing up while a lot of their friends went to babysitters and as they got older they had to go home to empty houses. The best thing you can do for your children is to raise them yourselves.Jan
Very well put! I'll make sure my family members see it from that point of view....no, they don't have the final say as to us staying at home or working, nor do they offer to pay for the daycare costs...however, family is very important to us and we value their opinions. This is one idea that I will pass on to them. Thanks, bstroh. You're very welcome.I'm the grandchild, the child, and now the parent, and it's amazing how much of my grandparents and parents I can see in myself. Most of my better qualities were inherited. Oddly enough, my parents seem to be getting smarter as I get older, too. :)Seriously, though, I had the same thought everyone else posted - you're working for chump change after subtracting day care and taxes. If you decide not to stay home, please do something about those day care fees - spending 40-50 hours a week away from your kids for $100/week is a pretty awful trade.If you decide to stay home, look around for a mom's club, or find other mothers in your area. Being a SAHM doesn't mean you lock yourself in your home with your kids. Join a playgroup. Go to the park with another mother and her kids. Adult conversation is still allowed, even outside the workplace.If you start looking for evening/weekend work, keep in mind that it will greatly limit time with your husband. It might be acceptable for a short term debt payoff, but don't let debt destroy your relationship.Just a few more random thoughts...
Very well put! I'll make sure my family members see it from that point of view....no, they don't have the final say as to us staying at home or working, nor do they offer to pay for the daycare costs...however, family is very important to us and we value their opinions. I can respect your valuing your parents' opinions, but if family is very important to you, you need to concentrate on what is best for your IMMEDIATE family -- you, your husband, and those sweet babies!If you are trying to get the others to come around, you are probably fighting a losing battle.
Wow! It would have been good to get credit counseling sooner. But, go get it now. You are perhaps in the same dilemma as many young families. I am not an expert by any means, but I have seen most of the younger generation (I am over 50 with 3 adult kids) try to live at the standards they were provided when they left their parent's nest. It is rare that this is possible in your early career and I think it is a misperception that it is common. Personal bankruptcies are at all time highs. Society keeps sending signals that you can have your own career, raise kids, and have plenty of money to have electronic gadgets, new cars, and live the good life. Two career households sound great but come with high costs as well, both financial and emotional. Staying home and raising your children has great emotional benefit for the sacrifices you make. By staying home you can sell one car, let one of you use mass transit most days. Who needs a car if you don't have to deliver kids to daycare? As a matter of fact, next time, buy only a depreciated vehicle and then keep it until the monthly maintenance cost is closing in on a car payment amount. License tags and insurance costs are also lower. (I make over $100K/year and have bought only one new car in the last 30 years, and I still feel the pressure of debt coming from all directions. The cost of kids is always there, don't think it is going away soon). By staying home, you eliminate $1400 of AFTER TAX payments for daycare. It will actually cost you nearly $20,000 per year in wages. By staying home, you reduce many other costs, such as clothing (for you and the kids), meals, gasoline, fast foods for dinner, etc. With your new cars, cell phone, long distance calls (let them call you), and credit card debt, it doesn't sound like you have done without enough and lived within your means. Stop using your credit cards and live on cash only. I know it is tough, but it forces you to make choices. You have made the big decision of selling your house, thus losing your tax benefits for interest write-offs. I hope you thought this one through before you committed to an apt. for only a $200 savings. Talk to the doctor and hospital about a payment plan prior to the delivery, some may even right part of the fee off if you talk to them. Please go get credit counseling ASAP. P.S. Don't invest in mutual funds outside of an IRA since they can result in extra taxes on capital gains when you least expect it. You do not control when they buy and sell within the fund.GOOD LUCK and I wish you the best.
#1. One can't give any real answer without knowing where you live. I live in Oh, the Cost of Living in Ca is 3.4 times what it is here.#2. It seems obvious to me that you don't need 24,000$ in cars. I have 3 and between them the total cost was less than 12K. Then, when you drive cheaper cars, you save big time on insurance. I don't carry collision or comp on any of mine.#3 Seriously, you need to look at every expense and decide if can be lowered.
There are a lot of not-for-profit organizations that will help you reduce your credit card debt. They contact your creditors and reduce your interest rates so you can pay off your debt faster. In some cases they can even reduce your minumum payments to make it easier on your budget. The one I used was Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). For the past four years my husband and I mailed them a money order for $400 every month and they paid our creditors for us. The only catch is you are not allowed to acquire any more credit--but you do not want that right now anyway. Right???I just sent my last payment this month and it is such a good feeling to be out from under that 13,000 of credit card debt. Since you indicated you have an internet, use it to find the right organization for you. Just stay away from the ones who want to charge you a monthly fee for their services. And, when the new little one comes, you can add that debt in and they will take care of that too.
8/15/01My hat goes off to you and what you've been able to do. Many if not most of your suggestions are very well done. I hope the original writer takes heed.wi
Dear E: As I wrote in my other post to you and as others have said, you really are on the brink of financial disaster. I don't know how you've managed to maintain an "A+ credit rating", but it's almost gone. At a NEGATIVE $500 PER MONTH which is $6000 per year, you will eventually lose everything. Think of the dot-com disaster and over 500 companies going bankrupt: eventually, Wall Street and investors said we gotta have companies that make money, not just eat up capital and lose money every quarter. That's where you are right now. And let me just say from knowledge, once your credit worthiness goes it is exceedingly difficult to get it back--kind of like doing a bad thing to the IRS--they never forget it.As to stay at home mom vs. working, that's a choice thing. There are a lot of "ifs" here and with that issue: if your husband wants to either work more, or change jobs and earn more; if you can do things from home or while the kids are in school to earn money; if there are relatives or others who will watch your kids for free or almost nothing. I won't go into the other ones, but you know them very well now: if you hadn't gotten into debt to begin with; if you had a budget that you stuck to; if (as one poster said) you'd had a good accountant to counsel you on what you might do before selling the house; and finally, the worst one of all, if you'd planned the kids as part of the family's financial picture. That sounds cruel, but believe me, it isn't meant to be. Be well and do keep up the good work!wi
Hi, I have never posted before....I work for a Child Care Resource and Referral, I work with child care providers to increase the availablity and quality of child care and work with parents regarding early childhood issues, including child care issues. First of all- understand that child care prices vary GREATLY accross the country. So what is the market rate in one area may be MUCH lower than a city across the country. Plus the education requirements of the teachers and licensing regulations affect the price also. Having also been a child care provider myself, it is also a business with extreme overhead, turnover, lack of respect, etc. But that is a whole different set of issues. I also believe that price shopping is not the way to go, but there is also a matter of if your budget CAN NOT afford it, then look around. Contact your local Resource and Referral to inquire about child care in your area and market rates for your area. Center based and homes daycare obviously have their own advantages and disadvantages and varying quality in both types. I do agree that having one parent staying home with the children is an option worth looking into, but obviously that is a personal decision. If you do not want to get rid of one of your cars, then how about selling one and buying a cheaper, little bit older car.
Ah yes, but somewhere along the line perhaps you *had* a choice, and made a bad decision? The point here is to convey wisdom to those who are in a position to make the best choice, and avoid less desirable "situations". There is no doubt whatsoever that staying home and actively raising children is best. You arrogant, self-righteous so and so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Have you never done anything your life that was "wrong"? Have you never made a bad decision? This, I believe, comes under the heading of "let he who has no sin cast the first stone." (and me, not even Christian!)I had sex. That was my bad decision. 24 years old, working on a divorce, I took comfort from a friend. Yes, it was a bad choice.But, I have the most wonderful little girl from it, and I have to support her. I COULD not work and stay at home with her. Besides being on welfare, that would also turn me in to an eccectric lady who never left her house due to issues I have with depression, hypomania and agoraphobia (sp?) My daughter would be an undisciplined wreck if I was the only adult she had contact with, and if I wasn't working, I'd probably be the only adult she had contact with. You know Andrea Yates? That would be me if I was home with her with no help. I know this, without doubt. Instead, my daughter is social, fairly well adjusted and artistic, and when I'm with her, I'm able to concentrate on being with her.Parents have NEVER in history raised their own children without help. Pick a time-frame. Even in the "glorious" fifties, you had extended families, grand-parents, aunts, etc helping out. You had neighbors you felt comfortable leaving the kids with while you did errands. You had "coffee klatches" where you could spend time with other adults while the children played. You start looking 50 years earlier and if you're looking at middle-class, you had a nanny until the kid was old enough to ship off to boarding school (boys) or helping run the household (girls). Poor families raised their own kids, sort of, but they usually had extended family helping, too. Daycare is an "assist" along the lines of using extended families or nannies to help raise children. They don't do it all, they simply help with some issues. It's not right for all families, and if a parent wants to stay at home and has the temperment for it, great. If I had stayed married, my husband probably would have been the stay at home parent, having more patience and less mental health issues than I have. But I didn't stay married, and my daughter's sperm donor isn't around to help.Ishtar
There are many out there that can probably give better advice than I, but the first thing you might want to do is lose the cars. It was made clear to me at an early age, that as soon as you drive a new car off the lot, it devalues by $2,000, to $5,000. Bummer.... Used can be a much better deal. Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, yet?Any home based business can give you tax breaks. Sell widgets, if you have to. Or widget adjusters. :) MLM businesses are looked down upon, but a good one helps with tax strategies and other financial advice.Read the MF advice about paying down debt before investing? Interest paid out is usually higher than interest earned. Ooops. Gotta hate it when that happens.Good luck, and bless you.
also, both sides of the family will not even listen to the idea of me staying at home....they say that my college degree and brain smarts will go to waste if I do. Same thing for my husband...."being a teacher is so rewarding"....yeah, yeah. My question is then why is it okay for my sister-in-law to be a SAHM for the past 6 years with 3 kids??? Talk about treating us differently.Do what's right for YOU! They are not living your life. You are. If you would like to continue to work, do so if you can afford it. If you'd rather stay home for a while with your children, do that. Perhaps it was *ok* for SIL to be a SAHM because she does not have your education and skills???? Just a guess, mind you....Good Luck with whatever you decide to do.Louise
Check into tutoring in the evenings after your husband gets home and can help with your children. I have been paying $20 an hour once a week (which I understand is a bargain!) for my son to be tutored in math for an entire school year. I have taught art classes in my home with small groups of children (no more than 6) and made an average of $30 an hour. Six students per class, $50 a month per student, classes last 2 hours each. I had no problem bringing in $800 a month, staying home with my young child, putting in a few hours a week doing something I completely enjoyed! If I had needed to make more money I could have easily added another class or two. Think about your talents and what you have to offer others. There are lots of ways to get out of the box! "If you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've been getting."Take the time you have during your maternity leave and see what kind of ideas you can come up with. And you don't have to stay home watching soap operas and losing your sanity in order to stop working a traditional job! Good luck!
Hi!I posted a rather long reply to your email. One of my suggestions was about the cars and now that I know what cars you have, do consider trading that Toyota down, if you are anxious to keep your van!! It is a sad commentary that the teachers need to drive smaller, less expensive cars, while the student lot saround me in Fl. are loaded with expensive cars!. On the other hand, though times have changed a lot, I managed 3 kids with just a 4 door sedan; the xtra effort might be worth it, sounds as if it's your van that is most of the car payment. You could also consider taling to your finance co. and see if you can extend the term(be sure you are keping up the van well) to lower your payments.again Good Luckjt
Clarification please.i read your original that you(the pregnant Mom) work for the state and your husband is the teacher. Is this correct? It also would be helpful to at least know what state you live in-some suggestions are climate based.thanxjt
Very well written post! I was a single mother for 8 years and I couldn't have said it better.
I know that there are some well adjusted kids out there who were raised in a day care. I'm also certain that day care is better for some kids than their own parents (it's sad to say). I just think that in this couples situation with expensive day care, the option of staying at home is "almost" perfect. There are other issues to consider but staying at home with your children (mother or father) has more positives than negatives for both parent and child.I think that a child's parents are able to give them the most love and care. If a couple thinks that someone else can do a better job than they can then they should have thought of this before conceiving a child. Many couples have babies without thinking about it and even those that are planned can cause some problems in the parents lives. If a couple wants something cute and cuddly that will disrupt their lives as little as possible, get a puppy (or kitty). In the perfect world we would have children and make them our highest priority. I know that it's not a perfect world but that doesn't mean we can't strive harder.Good luck,Tim
You want to work full time and let someone else raise your babies for less than $1,400 a year in compensation? Sell your car, get on your husbands insurance plan, and stay home to raise your children.Or...consider having your husband stay home. Given the promise of your raise if you come back to work and the current shortage of teachers, it might make a lot more sense for you to continue working. You will get the benefits of having one of you staying home(both financially and mentally), your raise, and your husband will have an arguably easier time finding a new job in 1, 3, 5 years as long as he maintains his credentials. Good luck with your decision. GandalfTheGrey
I know that there are some well adjusted kids out there who were raised in a day care. There is a fallacy in your statement. My daughter is raised by ME, but she spends time in daycare. The daycare people aren't having discussions with her about moral decisions, I am. The daycare people aren't there when she's sick, I am. The daycare people don't supplement her elementary school education with carefully picked material, I do. They aren't teaching her to ride a bike and swim, I am. They aren't chasing away the monsters in the closet at night, I am.My daughter is my highest priority. Without the need to support her and show her what an independent adult is capable of, I might be mooching off family working at minimum wage jobs. Instead, I'm making pretty good money for someone that doesn't have a formal education, and I'm constantly seeking better opportunities. I probably would have resisted the medications I need more if I didn't have my daughter. After all, it would only be MY life I'd be screwing up (my mother's line of thinking for not taking her meds.) (I did not understand my condition at the point where I got pregnant. You might even say that I got pregnant and decided to have the baby as a result of my condition.)I do think that having one parent stay home would be good for the family that started this thread, but I still bristle when people make statements like "if you don't want to stay home with them, don't have them."Would the Andrea Yates situation have turned out a little different if her two older kids were in school, even a private school, and the younger kids were in daycare for half a day, or maybe two days a week? Would it have turned out differently if she knew there was another parent that she could trade off with once a week or so? She thought her kids were "irreversibly damaged" because she was a "bad" mother. But she was doing what everyone says you're supposed to do, staying home with her kids, home schooling her kids. She needed help, especially since she had a history of borderline psychotic behavior. But, being able to have a little break, or to have a nanny present, when she was really stressed may have moderated what happened.Ishtar
If you decide to stay home, look around for a mom's club, or find other mothers in your area. Being a SAHM doesn't mean you lock yourself in your home with your kids. Join a playgroup. Go to the park with another mother and her kids. Adult conversation is still allowed, even outside the workplace.http://www.momsclub.org/ is a great organization.
1) Depending on how much you're making, it may make sense for you to stay at home with the kids for a while. If doing so would enable you to sell a car, then you could save $1800/mo. in day care and car payments. That's the equivilant of a $27,000-$30,000 salary.I agree.. A co-worker of mine decided it was better for him to stop working during the day. So he can stay at home and take care of his child. His wife works during the day. He still works.. he just works part time in the evenings. Maybe one of you can move to a second shift job so that you wouldn't have to pay for the child care.Caliban
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