Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Whatever works... with money.
I may have mentioned in passing that D works 2 jobs. He has your typical 8-to-5 (1 hour lunch) day job, and then he works a night job 4 nights per week. With one child in daycare and another in after school, our day jobs alone don't make enough for us to pay the bills (including child care). If I were to become a stay-at-home mom (something I would love to do but don't see happening anytime soon), he would have to work both jobs for me to do so. And we'd be living paycheck to paycheck, with very little savings. I've been in the midst of arguments before (with others, not D) about how you can never get back these years, you can't put a price tag on quality time, etc. What people don't realize is that we KNOW these things. And it's not like we haven't questioned our lives, where we live (which has a high cost-of-living and is very far from all family), etc. We've done plenty of that. But in the end we come around full-circle. We realize that while it feels like we've been doing this for eternity (that is, D working 2 jobs and me working 1), we know that in the grand scheme of things it's only temporary. It's not going to be forever.
We don't usually track our expenses, and we don't have a budget. Every month we're able to put money into savings at the end of the month, so that's all we cared about. As we've been talking more and more about buying a home, we decided "just for fun" to track our expenses for a few months. We started in April, and yesterday I was REALLY excited to take a look at our budget and see how we did. We went quite a bit over what we budgeted for gas and groceries, but that was because we actually had no idea what we spent. The best surprise, though, was seeing that D brings home a considerable amount more per month from job #2 than we had figured.
So if we make an effort to live more frugally (it's not like we're big spenders at all--we cloth diaper, don't purchase many paper/disposable products, rarely eat out, etc.) then we can manage for D to drop a shift or two at his second job and still be able to save quite a bit monthly... while getting in some extra "daddy time."
It was very eye-opening and in a way very liberating to see what was happening down to the last cent. I'm curious what May will look like!