Mrs. Zen and I have long been battling the decision of a dual income, or having her be a stay at home mom. As much as I’d love to be a stay at home dad, I’m the main bread winner – her income is basically pure profit, free to spend as we desire (and mind you, it’s going towards debt reduction). We recently traded in my 1996 Honda Civic for a 2005 Honda CRV – mainly because we had the extra income to do a large down payment, and trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s with packed bags, stroller, and dog in tow. Once in the Civic was enough – and with a dual income we could more than afford a new(er) car.
As was pointed out – the after tax and childcare income is about 13k. But let’s make some adjustments:
Our childcare is about $2,340 due to our baby-sitter service. We only use them for one day a week – for now. If Mrs. Zen becomes full-time salaried, that will change, but no matter how you look at it – her additional income is after all bills are paid.
Let’s tackle their considerations:
- Career Advancement Goals – There is *always* more to a career than money! What about happiness? Mrs. Zen desires a career in paramedicine – she enjoys staying at home, but she also loves her work (as do I!)
- How to Return To Work? – I can’t really argue this one – leaving for eyars ad coming back in – that’s potentially ‘resetting’ your career unless you continue your work part-time.
- Extra Expenses – I’ve got to agree – working has expenses, just as staying at home. If no one is home, the heater/AC is off, less electricity, and at work you may have “job functions’ – happy hours, lunches and the like (I *DO* consider these essential – I owe my current job due to lunch-time networking! And pizza.)
- Breadwinner May Become Workaholic Career Freak – C’mon, really? This is a personal thing, and if you can’t balance your career and life, you need to reassess your values.
- Coupon Clipping – I’ve got mixed feelings here. My brother-in-law works from home (ebay business) and is an excellent father and cooks, while also shopping at night. He’s thrifty and is business than some other people I know. Coupon clip, regardless, I say.
- Schools – This is something I’m still looking into. I moved into a certain area for its reknowned public schools – you can send your kids to a private school so that by the age of six they know three languages and a head start on other students. Do you really want to make your kid go through that? You’ve got to focus on your kids being kids and not being “intellectual geniuses” or “young athletes” – they’re not here to live out your dreams. Do what you can to provide, but don’t force your kids to be something other than children.
Now the stay-at-home parent conundrum is an interesting one – I’ve talked to work-at-home, stay-at-home and day-care parents, with plenty of pros and cons. Your children need you to be their parent, but htey also need to develop social skills and learn to go out on their own – not developing an attachment on you, needing you for everything. I’m a parent, and the wife and I are working on him not developing separation anxiety, but I’m still reading on the psychology of it all (which is a never ending quest!)
posted in baby, budget, education, employment, frugality, life, wealth, work, zen |
In the midst of the whole work/school/parenting/marriage gig, my wife loves to check out the second hand shops. Our son, now 8 weeks old, has gone through so many clothes!
Luckily, there is a Second-Hand child store down the road – where we’ve bought nearly all of his clothes (and, owned by the same company, a store for expecting mothers!) Instead of shelling out the big bucks for baby Gap, we shelled out a few bucks for used Baby Gap, used name-brand maternity apparel, and, after spending (roughly) $180 (I’m talking maternity clothes and baby clothes over the pregnancy period to the past couple weeks) we’ve turned around and sold them back – not at a profit mind you, but enough to make it worthwhile to continue buying used clothing from these stores!
Of course, they only buy “in-style” or “in-season” clothing, but if you can hang on to a few items for a couple months and sell them back then – if they don’t end up in the Goodwill pile.
That of course, is where all our other clothes end up – the clothes we (or I) have stockpiled over the years, and I finally parted with a large chunk, and together we’ve accumulated five bags and three boxes of clothes that were dropped to Goodwill – cleaning out our closets has been a very nice experience, getting rid of those items we’ve not worn in many years… this way, someone else can find our old goods, and use them, wear them, and enjoy them in the ways we haven’t been able to in a long time.
(I know, I’ve been gone awhile, but that’s life for you!)
posted in baby, bargains, brands |
I’ve found the strangest thing about having a child is that everything in child size costs ten times what I’d pay for the same thing in my size, and I’d get longer use out of it!
Fortunately, there are a plethora of used children’s stores around (like Once Upon a Child) that rake in the dough by selling (and buying) gently used baby clothing, toys, and other needed baby items. A new crib? A couple hundred. A used crib? $60. Even better, is when friends (and friends friends) hear you’re having children, they pass on their old child’s clothing/toys/stuff to you!
We’ve saved a mint by buying used, and saved even more through the generosity of friends and family. A lady who knew we were having a baby contacted my wife’s parents and gave them a couple grand worth of baby stuff – including a real wooden bassinet, a car seat/stroller combo (one of the high end ones, to boot!). It’s nice that people still think of helping out other people and not just making a buck.
The biggest complaint I’ve had about baby items is people always want to make their money back. I’ve read a number of blogs where people talk about buying a crib for $300 and then have a garage sale and get offended by offers for less than $150 or even $200 – that’s just insane on the seller’s part. People go to garage sales for deals not to help you get your money back. What I also love is they are offended because “they take great care of their items – why shouldn’t they ask for more?” That’s fine when you’re selling to a friend or someone that knows you are meticulous with cleanliness – but to a stranger they’re going to assume you wiped it down once to make it look good on the sales floor – and that’s it. Unless they approach you while you are polishing it down with disinfectant, I’d say you might as well drop that card.
But then how do you get a good deal? Point out flaws (you missed the milk spot, the wood is chipped, it’s missing pieces/manuals). Of course, you won’t always be able to land a deal, but it never hurts to ask.
What’s the best deals you’ve landed?
posted in baby, bargains, second hand |