What a strange question, right?
I’ve been struggling with this one for years.
Feeling like I should be out there, holding down a full-time job, contributing to society (not to mention our chequing account!), etc.
This is what I’m told I’m supposed to be doing – especially once my kids are both in school – this is the norm in my world.
But I’ve tried it, tried just a part-time job, tried applying for job after job that might just work with our family schedule.
Only to realize it just doesn’t work for us.
Not if we want to keep our priorities in their current order.
So that’s it. Even with my newly-attained Bachelor’s Degree.
And it’s very frustrating at times.
Who would have thought? A person frustrated because they AREN’T holding down a full-time job…
Odd… isn’t it?
I do feel odd about it most days.
I am not the norm.
But I suppose it goes with the flow in my life – there are many things in our life that aren’t the norm.
And I really want to start choosing to see the good in it all, instead of constantly comparing myself to others or to society as a whole.
We all make our choices.
Josh and I have made ours.
I want to feel GREAT about them, not odd.
So here goes… a change in perspective is long-overdue.
A crazy change is needed in another area of life.
A “transform”ing and “renew”ing of my mind (as per Romans 12:2 – my verse for this year).
Instead of worrying about how much money I am missing out on by holding down a full-time job, I’m going to change it up in a crazy way and ponder on all the money I make (or save) by NOT having a full-time job.
I like that angle.
So… a little breakdown to get started…
- Save at least $600 per month by running only one vehicle in our household ($300 car payment, $100 insurance, $200 gas)
- Save at least $200 per month by not eating out very much (one meal for us WITH COUPONS is starting to cost about $25)
- Save at least $50 per month for professional clothing (guessing here…)
- Save at least $250 per month in after-school daycare and busing fees for the boys (then add some for PA days, school breaks, especially in the summer months, Christmas, March break – then it would cost WAY more for childcare)
Already I’m at about $1100 and I’m probably missing a bunch of things.
Taking the bus would cut the cost of vehicle way down to the price of a bus pass as well.
How much could I make if I was to work? Probably about $12/hour for an entry level position.
$12 x 160 (approx. full-time hours in a month) = $1920 – minus taxes, etc.
Leaves… not much.
So if I can’t make much by working a full-time job, then how much can I make by NOT having a full-time job (or a part-time job at this point)?
I have been learning the ropes of couponing, browsing the flyers, figuring out which stores have the best prices for different items.
Then there’s Value Village, Kijiji and different places to find what we need for less.
And things like volunteering at the YMCA and local children’s camps helps with having fun for less.
A strong family support line allows us to have time away for the price of gas to get there.
There are a few people who greatly bless us with the use of cottages, etc.
We are great with maximizing the potential with rewards programs like Aeroplan (Josh was able to get to his Master’s courses at Wheaton in Chicago through Aeroplan, plus all 4 Team Sklar members were able to attend his graduation for the cost of flight taxes – $600!!), Shopper’s Drug Mart (this year alone we gotten a laptop, TV, and awesome camera for minimal cost), PC Plus and Airmiles at Metro (free groceries).
And we price match and shop the sales, and buy whatever else we need at Food Basics, Costco, and Dollarama.
We’ve learned lots from the decade I stayed home while both boys were ready to go to school.
I look back and see how we managed to renovate our old house and keep a low mortgage, pay for a chunk of the Arrow Leadership and Masters of Leadership and Evangelism courses Josh completed, as well as my Bachelor’s Degree – with no outstanding debt to carry.
We run our vehicles until they drop, which keeps those expenses low.
We try to model a lifestyle of contentment and living within our means to our sons, which causes less problems in the “I want!” department – they really are amazing at not asking for much. And we work together to find good deals on the things they do want – I never want them to feel poor – we are not poor. I’ve seen poor. We are rich. Maybe not by North American standards, but compared to most of the people in the world, we are gushing with money, resources, food, entertainment, etc.
Sorry, no rants, I’m trying to stay focused…
So I tallied up what I saved on my last shopping trip – I try not to shop too much – plus I sort of hate it – that helps! (Again, not the norm, am I?)
This is just what I think I saved from shopping sales, etc. and using coupons on my shopping day this week:
- $75.00 saved from browsing flyers and reading the “deals” shopping list from MrsJanuary.com
- $47.00 saved from shopping at Costco
- $11.00 saved from using coupons
- $27.00 earned from using PC Plus and Shopper’s Optimum rewards programs (plus some Air Miles – can’t remember how much)
- $20.00 earned in mail-in rebates
Grant total = $182
That kind of take-home is about what I would be making at a full-time job at this point in my life.
Doing the math and writing it all out really helps me sort through things.
Thanks for sorting through this with me.
Now… as for the issue of contributing to society, etc. – NOT working allows me the time to do some freelance writing, help in church ministry, volunteer at the school, be available for the boys (for example, Elijah was sick and home from school most of the last two weeks!), and keep the household running as smooth as I can.
These are the jobs I love.
These are the jobs I want to be doing.
Looks like it’s still feasible to keep on doing them.
It’s good to re-evaluate every few months and see where it’s at.
I LOVED figuring out how much I can make by doing what I’m already doing.
I have loads of peace of mind now.
And lots more to share with you…