Friday, September 15, 2006

Want to stay home with baby?

A friend emailed me. She's dealing with a struggle that a lot of working moms do - wanting to stay home with her baby but afraid to not have the paycheck.

I think if a lot of moms would 'crunch the numbers,' they might find that it actually makes more sense to be home. You may be seeing a paycheck, but such a large portion is disappearing with taxes and childcare it may not be worth it.. a big thing that I think a lot of people miss is that although you're not seeing the paycheck, your expenses drop down really low , so that helps balance it out a bit - here's my list LOL

# 1: of course you care more about your kids more than even the most loving child care provider on earth, just because you're their mom, and that's not a small thing.
From birth to kindergarten age is really a very small stretch of time.

# 2: IRS taxes the 2nd income heavily (if the Fair Tax ever passes, this might not be an issue anymore - ).

# 3: Working at home, I hardly need to buy gas.

# 4: Super low wardrobe expense: Jeans and Tshirts are mostly all I need. Occasionally I need to wear something nicer for a networking meeting or to meet a client, but that's only about once a month so who knows or cares if I wear the same nicer outfit? Paying $5-$10 for pantyhose that get a snag in them within 10 seconds of putting them on is mostly a thing of the past. My feet are enjoying my cheap Payless tennis shoes.

# 5: Gifts for co-workers or having to pay into the job 'gift pool' is a thing of the past.
(also no more co-worker's kids fundraiser expenses).

# 6 Lunch expense goes down...well even working at home, I need to eat...but there isn't as much expense as the daily or weekly lunch out a restaurant. What I eat at home for lunch is probably $1-$3 per day (x7=$7-$21/week) versus 7 days eating out at $6 (if I was lucky and got a cheap lunch) = $42/week. I always had the fantasy that I'd take my lunch and eat at work, and sometimes I did, but the reality was, I just had to get out of that place - (no matter how nice the place was).

There might be some more benefits to working at home if you think about it. I'm not getting rich over here, but business is definitely doing better and it's much less stressful. But for our family, it was a lifestyle choice. Be prepared for change and to be more frugal.

Just watch out for work-at-home jobs that are doomed to failure - can help you separate what might be a real work at home opportunity from dangerous pyramid schemes.

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