By: Revanche

Pre-parenting: budgeting adjustments

October 8, 2014

Planning soothes my soul, even if we’re not ready to really share this with family and friends offline, so I’ve retreated into making lists, plotting and planning.

My initial conclusion: This is going to be $$$.

The truth is, we know we’re going to have to throw money at the problem(s); it’s a matter of figuring out which problems can be creatively solved and which require money.  I used to tough everything out to save money; that’s not a viable solution anymore. I’ve used up my allotment of tough and now it’s going to have to be accommodations and thinking ahead. I’d already been thinking along these lines when we were just becoming a dual-dog household, it’s even more important now!

Childcare: We know that we’ll need a lot of help around here, my health isn’t awesome, ever, and a little one will require care no matter how good (or not) I feel. The cost of childcare, even just to help during the day, is rather daunting from my initial research. We don’t have good family and friends nearby to rely on in a pinch, it’s all on us.
Unfortunately we aren’t close to any colleges so we can’t really steal a page from Nicole & Maggie’s book of hiring college age mother’s helpers but I will still look for any such possibilities.

Housekeeping:  I only clean when my body isn’t too pained AND when I have energy. Those two rarely coincide, I’m sorry to say. I do bits and pieces of cleaning as and when. We’re not terribly picky but I do like a reasonably clean house so I’ve been thinking more and more about that robot vacuum. PiC is skeptical I have $100 saved for this extra expense so far. $400ish more to go! Or, we could use that money for semi-regular housecleaning, I’ve gotten a couple of quotes that are nearly reasonable.

Housing: We’ve enjoyed having an extra room but since we’re nowhere near being able to afford a bigger place in the Bay Area, we’re going to have to give up that luxury. I’m also eyeballing things for The Purge and we’ll likely start to Tetris for maximum utility.

Transportation: To date, our cars have been all about the Doggle. He was our first baby. We never anticipated getting anything that didn’t also have his comfort and safety in mind so we hit the research into minivans that we both like (safe, roomy enough for the family, automated enough for my level of use) and it was a bit scary. Good gravy but they are expensive.

I’m not yet prepared to sell one of our current cars and pony up something on the order of $30K for a new to us vehicle. And now that Doggle’s not around, sadly, it’s just Seamus and Little Bean to consider so it’s less pressing to move forward with the bigger family size option.

Healthcare: For now, we are lucky enough to have solid healthcare providers but they are job dependent. Neither of us are particularly worried at the moment about job loss but you know me: never assume you’re safe.

I’m not in love with some of our end-game options (y’know, actual childbirthy related things) but overall everything routine (checkups, labwork, radiology related stuff) is covered by our insurance for now at no extra cost. I still need to see what adding LB to the insurance as a full human will cost monthly and for actual visits.


14 Responses to “Pre-parenting: budgeting adjustments”

  1. Child care is the big headache, I think. One advantage of waiting till you’re a little older to spawn your first kiddie is that at least you CAN afford child care. Well. To the degree that anyone outside the 1 percent can…

    There are some alternatives to day care centers, and in some cases the cost is no more than a commercial day care. It may even be less, after you factor in the cost of doctor visits and prescriptions incurred by keeping your child in commercial day care.

    * Get to know the neighbors. Sometimes you’ll find an older woman (who’s not a nut case! important…) who would be thrilled to babysit while you’re at work. I had two ladies in the neighborhood who took my son in, one on MWF and the other TTh. It was great! He was in a home environment with just two or three other kids, he loved it, and they loved him. We paid minimum wage and lots of doting appreciation.

    * Look at co-op arrangements. Dunno if these still exist, but if they do, San Francisco is the place where you’d find them. The deal there is you trade off time watching other people’s kids in exchange for the daycare (often in a church, most famously the Unitarians). If you don’t mind this kind of give and take, it can be very successful and economical (I always was too selfish for it, myself).

    * Find women who do day care in their homes. Trust me: if the woman’s not nuts, this is SO much better than a commercial day-care operation!!!!!!!!!!!!! You often can find them through churches or through parochial and private schools. The blessed Mormon women are so into this. Many stay-at-home moms, regardless of their religious persuasion, help finance the privilege by watching two or three other kids in their homes during school and work hours.

    * For about 50% of what you or PiC earns, you can hire a full-time housekeeper/sitter. The deal here is she not only watches the kid, she does the cleaning. You find these women through agencies. I hired one after my son started grade school; she was supposed to show up in the morning, clean the house, run the laundry, start the dinner, pick up the kid from school, do the ironing, and lurk until I got home from work. It is damned expensive…but child care is tax deductible.

    If you choose this latter route, be very careful. Get lots and lots of references. Some of these women are…well…they wouldn’t be doing cleaning and babysitting if they had the wherewithal to land better-paying, less mind-numbing work. Ditto with in-home daycare, of course.

    You won’t need a minivan (or something along those lines) until you start to car-pool (heaven help you!). While it’s just you and PiC and the kid and the pooch, you can make do with a sedan. Probably. Look at crossover vehicles — some accomplish what you need, give you plenty of room, and don’t cost what a Toyota Sienna will run.
    Funny about Money recently posted…A Historic Moment in Gasoline Pricing?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Sadly, we have wacko neighbors, mostly, none I’d trust with either my kid or my dog, so I’m going to be beating the bushes for a good someone to hire.

      A lot of the car considerations will come down to ease of use for me, more than the kid’s comfort. I can’t do all the twisting and turning and lifting that “normal” people can do anymore, the more cramped quarters of a sedan MAY drive us out to a minivan sort of thing.

  2. Matt says:

    You’ve got a good starting list, something to also consider is saving for education. I’m not sure what exactly the plans are called in the US but if you want send your child to college now is the time to think about it.

    Then there is additional cost with a child, again not sure how much diapers are in the Bay area, but I was quite happy when my Daughter stopped wearing them.

    Good Luck and Congrats
    Matt recently posted…Life Throws Curve BallsMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Ooof, we kicked around the idea of a diaper service (since my energy’s so incredibly limited, it’s daunting to add the extra work of cloth diapers) and it’s not at all cheap either! But we’ll figure out some compromise, I think. I like the idea of cloth much better but it’ll do us no good to be up in our elbows in dirty stinky diapers that need washing when I’m flat on my back.

  3. Lauren says:

    I second the idea of nanny-shares depending on your needs.

    Another thing we did – once we figured out how much childcare was going to cost us we started saving that amount each month to both get used to the extra cost and to create a pillow. It worked out really well, to the point where we were kicking ourselves for not setting that rule many moons before.
    Lauren recently posted…The Power of The PhaseMy Profile

  4. No community colleges either? How about high schoolers?
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…Let’s Get This Link-Love Started!My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Possibly community colleges – I’m searching them now. I’d rather not go to high schoolers because they *ought* to be in school during the daytimes when I’d need them 🙂

  5. Michael Martin says:

    One tip that just came to mind (bearing in mind I process medical claims): Call your insurance as soon as is possible after Little Bean is born to add them to your plans. Most insurance companies allow newborns to be added at any time, not just during open enrollment. It will save you a LOT of hassle in getting those claims processed quickly. Just thought I’d offer that tip. 🙂

    • Revanche says:

      Extremely good point, that was in the back of my mind but I want to know exactly when I can get LB on the insurance so it doesn’t fall through the cracks.

  6. […] Bean Money: Lauren reminded me of a thing I’d managed to let slip. Little Bean’s officially got a dedicated chunk of […]

  7. SP says:

    Any updates / decision on the robot vacuum? I’m also dying for one, but I”m skeptical at the same time. 🙂

    Considering a costco purchase, as I want sa solid return policy!
    SP recently posted…The library isn’t freeMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I’m still on the fence. I saved about $200 for it and I haven’t made any extra just yet so I’m holding off for a bit. I’ve heard mixed reviews, some love it and some don’t, but I think I might go for it once I’ve saved a bit more extra.

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