I love lists. I don’t like boring budgets. But in trying to plan a life, somehow I had to incorporate the two.
I needed to make a choice. This summer is creeping up out of nowhere and we have to plan jobs around kids on break, etc. We don’t make tons of money (we are in the under $50,000 range) but somehow we could go two different routes this summer. Also as a little note, we have a seven year old, almost six year old and almost two year old. You know that childcare gets expensive. I also don’t want to dole them out to relatives as this is a big summer for someone quite special (my little sister is graduating high school).
The choice is whether to work my regular part-time job or not. I work on average 24 hours a week and bring home, on average, $225 a week. Now I have another part-time job that will not be changing and also transcribe a little for a pretty cool psychologist I just happen to know. I am also receiving a commission check in May.
I wanted to basically do a pro/con type list to see which one would be more beneficial. I started off with the income I knew wouldn’t change. Then I added expenses. With working the part-time job, I had the childcare expense. With not working the part-time job, I did not have childcare expenses. I could get detailed and put in all of our expenses but that really wasn’t necessary in making this decision.
I know there will be 12 weeks of break for the children, starting with a short week the last week of May, due to Memorial Day. I lose one day of daycare for William for the holiday. This actually is factored into my decision making. Why pay the entire week when the actual daycare is not even open for the entire week. I guess it is all figured in somehow, but we have limited resources so I have to think about this minor detail.
At this point, I come to the financial answer. Basically the income I would receive from the part-time job would exactly cover child-care costs each week. I could stay home with the kids and it would be no different in income. Unless, I had a good week of 29 hours and had lots of help with the kids. This is part of what I am trying to avoid, though.
Now to the decision making. How will either choice affect our future? If I don’t work, then I don’t have a job in the fall. How will we do that? What’s the point in working only to pay for childcare, though? That just doesn’t seem like a good enough trade-off. I thought my little list would give me more insight into what the better “financial” choice would be, but alas, it did not. They were identical financial outcomes. Go figure.
Now here’s the kicker. There might be a potential third choice. More on that, later.