Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Not exactly encouraging…

Remember how I ranted a couple weeks ago about how I thought I was losing money by working?

I now have an actual number. After a great deal of lying to myself about just how much less I could actually spend if I would only apply myself careful consideration, I have determined that I am losing roughly $511 a month by working.

Give or take $500.

It’s no wonder I’m suddenly on a rampage about simplifying and blah blah blah. Our lives took an exponential curve on the Complication-o-Meter when I went back to work. And while I didn’t have a line-by-line accounting for it, I knew that the bottom line wasn’t looking good.

Still, I was a bit surprised when I took my income, and all the stuff that would change without it (like train tickets, daycare, and so forth), subtracted the former from the latter and came up negative. It was almost $1,200 negative at first. I had to do a lot of “naaaaaaw, this one doesn’t count!” and “well, but I’m sure I wouldn’t change that particular thing THAT much!” before I wrestled it down to a mere <$511>.

I had hoped there would be more in the ‘fluff’ department than there is. I had hoped for, I don’t know, “we spent $6,028 on eating out!” or “did we really spend $650 on pillows?”

But it just wasn’t there. There was a slightly higher grocery bill, $570 a month compared to a norm of around $500, and a lot more pizza nights…but the number one offender is the one thing I can’t really get around while working: daycare.

The daycare is eating up 65% of my gross salary. Gross, not net. Throw in 28% going to taxes, and I’m left with 7%. Buy a couple trains tickets and a tank of gas, and I’m flat broke. And just to make sure I felt fully sick to my stomach, I got a rate increase notice last week. Instead of going down by almost $200 a week in August, it’ll be going down by a total of $67.

That hurt. That hurt a lot. I know all about rising costs blah blah blah, but can I just point out that your parents are not likely to have gotten a 20% pay raise lately? Which is the amount that Center #1 just raised its rates? And as I went past the office at Center #2 today, I overheard the director and her assistant discussing the ‘coming rate increases’.


(Jesus-Mary-an’-Joseph, for you non-fallen-away-Catholic-types.) (But you hafta say it like this: JAY-sus, Mah-ree and Joe-siff.)

I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do. I’m really not. From a cold hard numbers perspective, it just isn’t working and I should bow out ASAP.

I can’t even claim that I love my job and can’t imagine life without it. I half love it, and half hate it. Which works out to an overall ‘eh’. Given that one of the joys is getting the paycheck…and the paycheck is promptly slashed to ribbons before I even get it into the bank…


I won’t be able to put anything into the 401k; I’m not due a raise for a long, long time (and even when it comes around, it won’t be for much); the $300 bill for fall registration fees is coming up soon…ick.

Well, I have a couple things I can explore. There is some fluff in there; and given that I’ve gone to a 75% telecommute schedule, everything from the commute to dress socks should cost me less. And I’ve contemplated bringing Eldest and Danger Mouse home from daycare – they’re only there a few hours in the afternoon as it is, I don’t see why they couldn’t just come home after school. They’re old enough not to need constant supervision; or at least to understand the phrase, “If you don’t stop pestering me while I’m trying to finish this, I will end you…”

Still. Feh. And, thanks to the @*^@&ing diet, there is no chocolate currently in this house. Except the cocoa powder. Which I suppose I could work into a batch of brownies or something, which means I’ll have dirty dishes to clean up…argh, will the torment never end?!?!


Very Herodotus said...

$511 in the red??? Good lawd!! That really really sucks. I'm surprised that you're $500 in the hole every month, given that your salary is probably pretty good. I figured that once you ran the numbers, you'd find something in there that could be eliminated or reduced, and then in August the daycare bill would go down, and all would be well. Oy.

Honestly, I don't know how much you can possibly trim and simplify to squeeze an extra $500 a month out of the bills. Really, you'd need to squeeze more to make it worth your while to work. There's be no point to working if you're not getting ahead financially! There's got to be a better way to generate income.

21st Century Mom said...

That's The Great American SAHM Debate these days, non? Yes. And are you sort of having deja vu all over again? I think maybe you have walked this path before.

If you can limit trips to work and limit daycare you will definitely be better off but how much better off?

What a horrible Catch-22. I wish you luck figuring this out and coming to terms.

ps - having a 'come to the house' person really saved my bacon when my kids were little. With as much telecommuting flexibility as you have it isn't that hard to withstand the flakiness of in-home care. If you put 2 girls in one room and could have a live-in it might really work out for you. Just a thought.

Mother of Chaos said...

Yes, this is a path well traveled for sure around here. It drives me *mental* every single time, too.

But somehow, things always work out. I've never really decided whether they work out because we're clever or because they just, uh, do. Or maybe it's just that I always seem to think that however it works out, it works out great.

Moira said...

the problem truly is that you live toooo far away from work... so your commute costs/daycare costs are high... :)