Feeling the Pinch?
Regardless of occupation and location, everyone we know struggles with money to some degree. So I'm going to start a series of posts I'm calling Tightwad Tuesdays. (I'm sure it's not original but it was the best I could come up with these days!). My hope is that it will give us a chance to vent, yes, but more than that to share tips and ideas so we can all get by a little better on whatever we've got.
Today I'm just going to give a little background, but in the weeks to come I plan to tackle specific topics, posting questions and suggestions and hoping to get lots more ideas from all of you out there in blogland.
In an ideal world, we'd both be working part time, but that is beyond unrealistic where we live and in the occupations we have. We've been managing with me full time and Cait half time (which allows us to arrange free** childcare for Natalie) , but that model isn't sustainable with two kids - we couldn't make the free childcare work among other things. We've looked at the cost of fulltime daycare for one infant and one 2 y.o., and it's pretty close to Cait's take home - close enough that it's not worth it to us to have our children in bargain basement daycare and the added stress of trying to get all four of us out of the house each morning for chump change in return.
Our plan is that Cait will stay home F/T next year. I will be working, but I will take 12 weeks of maternity leave. Luckily, 6 weeks of that will be paid. Unfortunately, 6 weeks won't. So we are looking down the barrel of a VERY lean year, with a particularly thin patch around November/December (the lag time between when I resume working and when my paycheck picks up again). We have begun working on a budget and have already taken some steps to trim expenses, but we still have to figure out where to come up with money to do frivolous things like... eat.
Therefore, I welcome you to the inaugural issue of TIGHTWAD TUESDAYS!
So we don't all spend the next week gnashing our teeth in despair, I invite you to share some of your financial challenges in the comments, but also please tell us something in your life that is either 1) money very well spent, or 2) free and fabulous. Here are mine:
1) Money well spent: Sometimes, we are just so dead at the end of the week that it's really, really nice just to order a pizza. We wont' be able to do it as often as we do now next year, but I want to find a way in our budget that we can still get takeout or go out for burritos every once in a while. I know we can make pizza and burritos at home - and we do - but sometimes it's a really nice treat not to have to do ANYTHING but pick up the phone or get in the car.
2) Free & fabulous: The upside to both of us teaching is that we get more time together as a family than many families. I'm counting the days until June 20, when we get blissful family time together for weeks on end.
*ACCRA Cost of Living Index 2007
**Except for occasional psychological cost to us (not Natalie).... If you know who one of our caregivers is, you know what I mean.