Financial considerations – working at or outside home
When talking to mothers who have decided to go back to paid work, it seems that the biggest factor for most modern families is money. Paying that mortgage, servicing credit card debt, or just keeping some spare for the unexpected expense can be a real struggle. It is a huge change for most families going from two incomes to one. But you’d be surprised at what you can live on. If you are considering returning to work out of financial necessity, but don’t otherwise want to, see if you can downsize your outgoings in some of these ways:
- Downsize the big items – pay less rent or mortgage by shifting to a cheaper area or smaller place. Stretch your mortgage back out to 25 or 30 years to lower weekly repayments. Get a smaller, more fuel efficient car.
- Reduce expenditure on ‘luxuries’. This will be an individual thing, but for us it meant CDs and DVDs, going out to dinner, and expensive clothes. That’s not to say we don’t occasionally splash out – just not on a regular basis.
- Use the car less and car pool if you can (most capsules can be strapped into another car). Petrol and running costs for cars is constantly increasing, so taking public transport or walking can help reduce costs (good exercise too!).
- Take a good look at your expenditure on food. Now, we’re not suggesting eating less! But many of us these days spend a lot of our grocery money on convenience foods. Whether it’s pasta sauce, tortillas, or baby food, the pre-made packaged foods are priced at a premium. There are some really good ‘from scratch’ recipe books out there (I love the “Destitute Gourmet” series) that give good advice on how to cut your grocery bill and still provide your family with yummy, nutritious food. Meal planning can help a lot too!
- Buy second hand. Kids clothes, furniture, books, you name it, there’s a second hand market out there. Try online auction websites, local Plunket jumble sales, or just ask around if anyone is selling stuff. Some of my daughter’s favourite toys have been at bargain prices at a local bring and buy sale for around 10% of the original price – you can’t beat that! End of season sales are great if you buy ahead for next year too.
And finally, make sure you take into account the costs of going back to paid work – childcare, transport, clothes etc – when you are weighing up what you will bring home at the end of the day.
Next post considers what kind of assistance you may be entitled to as a family and where to get assistance with budgeting.