Thursday, August 5, 2010

almost a wash...

I don't know how anyone makes the decision to stay home.  I know some who found it easy and others who struggled.  I know I was not made to work fulltime and be a mom.  I'm lucky, I don't have to.  But I do work part time and while I'm not raking in the dough, it's nice to have some extra money. 

Here's the thing.

While I'm at work, Cannon is at 'school'.  A 'school' we value tremendously and a school where I want him to stay.  So he will stay there even while I'm on leave.  It's not cheap.  Quality things never are.  It's worth every dollar.  But it's a lot of dollars.  But I maintain that the experience has no dollar amount.

So, today, we talked numbers.  Numbers of having two kids there part time.  I plan on taking every single second of 12 weeks of leave.  Once that's over, I plan on going back to my part time schedule (as long as they'll have me).  However, doing some quick math (not my strong suit) I realized that 81% of what I am making goes right to 'school'.  That's a lot. 

Another baby is a budget adjustment.  I suck at budgets.  Totally suck.  I can't make them, stick to them, or come in under one.  There is always something.  For instance, I can easily justify buying a swingset right now, while they're on sale, to put up in the spring.  It's not in the budget but if I was a betting person, I'd bet we'll buy one soon. 

So, ladies, spill it.  What's your budget?  How do you stick to it?  How do you resist the urges?  I mean I think I'm frugal.  Not superwoman frugal but frugal.  For instance, my latest victory... I've been resisting the urge to buy a Shark, a $60 Shark for my hardwood floors to make sure it's something I really want.  I still want it, three months later.  So, I suppose I should budget for it, right?  Ugh.

The Best part?  Trying to plan... oh and swingsets.


Becca said...

I don't know if we have a budget as I too also suck at all things budgets. But I can relate to your working arraingement.

I am also lucky enough to not to need to work (it's easy to justify not needing to work when ALL your paycheck goes to child care anyways!). But I'm also lucky enough to have a part time job.

Right now over 50% of my paycheck goes to childcare for my two girls. After the baby comes it will be 80-90%. Yah! But my rationalization is, it's only for a year then Cora will be in kindergarten. I don't want to lose my part-time gig!

My budgeting key is to "sleep on it." If I don't want/need it in the morning, then I won't buy it. And to stay out of Target.

I'm so looking forward to my 12 week (unpaid!) maternity leave while the girls will remain at "school." Ahhhhh.

Sherri and Andy said...

So my gross salary can be broken down to 1/3 to daycare, 1/3 to taxes and a 1/3 to the bank. Given I am in the highly underpaid profession of marketing, not a whole lot of extra cash in that scenario :-) And therefore I do my best to stay on budget by not being impulsive (spontaneity leads to over spending) and always thinking ahead (last minute shopping leads to over spending). Also key is prioritizing … for the big stuff and the small stuff. Like do I want a vacation or a dinning room table? Obviously a vacation keeps winning in that yearly budgeting battle. And another key is lowering your standards in areas where you can. Like I will still spend an obscene amount of money for adorable matching Ralph Lauren Christmas outfits, but will settle for a $10 lamp shade from Target (because my lamp will not be forever documented in a photo album).

The good news, day care is short term and the sacrifices are worth it for a balance of work / life. I am two years away from a full time kindergartner and already spending in my head every penny I gain back. Yes, that means we will have GC on my new dining room table in August 2012!

Lauren Stahl said...

I didn't have much choice since the girls came at one time and I wasn't making a lot of money at the time. I use coupons and shop sales and try to pay for the "wants" with cash instead of putting them on credit. You will always have the unplanned things which we put on credit and then just cut back on other things to pay it off. I also do a lot of non-food shopping online with sites that have free shipping, coupon codes or when things are on sale. I don't necessarily follow a budget, but I did put one together so I had a general idea of where the money was going. We were eating out a lot and spending a lot of money on groceries too, so we try to cut back on that and starbucks and stuff like that, it all adds up. I do agree with you school is important and I will pinch else where so the girls can do preschool and gymnastics or whatever other activities they want to do! Good Luck.

Jill said...

Budgeting is like being on a diet for me. I can stick to it really well in the morning but just before bed I'll feel famished and eat 4 oreos while I walk up the stairs.

I don't do well at sticking to a budget, but I do find that having little splurges built in make it feel more do-able. For instance, Shawn and I went out to dinner on Saturday. All week I looked forward to our big night out which made the pathetic-scraped together- bean burrito dinner we ate on Thursday seem not so terrible.

And I agree with Becca; staying out of Target is crucial.

Aly said...

I'm awful at budgeting, but I like Jill's analogy of looking at it like a diet. I don't like skipping donuts or brownies, but I do like the way my butt looks in skinny jeans, which gives me motivation.

For us, we've got a running list of financial priorities & we try to stick to them. School is a huge one for us, so there are corners cut & sacrifices made to make sure the tuition check is covered. I've even considered applying for a job at the boys' school to get a tuition break. (who knows what I'd do, but surely there's something a step above lunch-lady, right?) It's a priority, which makes avoiding splurges a tiny bit easier.

I also throw away the Pottery Barn (& other tempting) catalogs now. I'll flip through them to see what the latest trends are, but if I keep them I'll no doubt sink deeply into them & emerge with hundreds of dollars worth of "must haves".

Target is my guilty pleasure... which is the reason I buy Great Value butter. :) Those corners cut allow you the few splurges you do need every once in a while.