Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Since this appears to be happening...

Well, so far so good.

I'm currently 14w2d pregnant. Heard little babe on the doppler last night. Things are good.

I feel great, honestly. No migraines recently, no vomiting. I seem to have some energy back (I think that's what staying up until 10 pm all of the sudden means. No more 8:30 bedtime for this girl!).

So, as the days pass, the more I think this might really be it. Yes, I know I'm not anywhere close to being out of the woods, but I am allowing myself to get excited. And to prepare. Which leads us to the point of this post...

There are a lot of things to stress about when it comes to having a baby (insert Captain Obvious joke here).

Daycare
I'm fairly certain that I will only be able to take 6 weeks off from work when baby arrives. So, I'll be needing a daycare pretty quickly after giving birth. Apparently the waiting lists in my town are insane, so I've been calling around.

Looks like I'll be spending about 30% of my (just mine alone, Buster's not included) monthly take-home pay on a daycare. After googling, this seems normal. No less appalling, though.

Do I opt for the more affordable daycare that is across town, adding about 40 minutes to my daily commute (round trip)? Or do I choose the pricier one close to my work, so that I have the option to stop by on my lunch break to nurse or just give some kisses to my baby? And you see how I'm acting like I'm "in" already, right? Like I get to choose between the two? Well that's far from accurate. The waiting lists are so long, who knows if I'll get in ANYWHERE!

I've also been given the phone number of a lady who does in-home daycare, and she has come highly-recommended. The only problem is she won't return my calls. She is so popular that she apparently doesn't get back to everyone calling to inquire if she has any openings.


Debt
Buster and I had a big discussion this morning regarding credit card debt (about half of which is due to fertility treatments and travel-related expenses for said treatments). We need to get our cards paid down. We've stopped using our cards, but because of a busy summer (travel, weddings, etc), we have not made much progress.

Well, I want to be as debt-free as possible when the baby arrives. And by debt-free, I'm pretty much just meaning credit card debt, because there is no way we could pay off our auto loans or student loans by that time.

Paying off credit cards would free up money to spend on daycare. And that would be a huge help.

Buster insists on paying the highest interest rate cards first, as opposed to the snowball method. I personally like the snowball method, because I like to see fast results, but as long as we stick to one plan or another, I'll be happy.

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I had other things on my stress list, but I just don't feel like delving into them at this time. Those two are certainly enough to deal with!

Is anyone else dealing with similar things? What is your gameplan?


19 comments:

  1. Daycare is SO expensive. I nearly choked when my church gave us the cost sheet for infant care.

    We did our baby budget as well and I mean, I knew they cost a lot, but dang! We'll be watching our spending very, very closely.

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  2. We have one credit card that we want to just hurry up and pay off. DH's tax return usually all goes in to paying it off... and then yep.. we put more stuff right back on the card again. SIGH.
    That's the main one we want to get rid of.
    Then we want to refinance the house b/c we're totally overpaying on our mortgage right now. BUT that's not going to happen until we get rid of the CC debt. Awesome :\

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  3. Daycare is always the number one issue it seems and its sooooo expensive. In my area all of the daycares advice that you apply 14 months prior to the birth of your baby (which is actually ludicrous (like its written at the top of their application). How the hell is someone going through IVF supposed to plan for that. I'm glad you and Buster have a plan. And yaay on reaching 14wks.

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  4. Yay for 14w2d, you are chugging right along :) I am so glad things are going well.

    No advice/opinions from me, I decided to be a stay-at-home mom since daycare/babysitting would cost more than I was taking home anyway. Good luck finding a place! That's crazy how booked in advance they are... I can't wrap my head around people having to reserve places so early in advance! I'd probably opt for someplace closer if it were me and I had a choice.

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  5. Yay 14 weeks!

    There’s no two ways around it: child care is expensive. I know women who quit working not because they wanted to be stay-at-home moms but because that was the only way it worked financially. Look into whether you or Buster can get a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. The very big upside to a FSA is that you pay for child care with pre-tax dollars, thus reducing your tax liability. The minor down side is that your monthly take-home pay will be reduced, but since you will be paying fewer taxes, that’s actually a good thing. The FSA is federally capped at $5000 a year, so it can’t cover all of full time child care, but every little bit helps.

    The close, expensive daycare or the far, cheaper one: How much is your time worth? Will it be worth it to you to spend about 3.5 hours a week doing nothing but driving to or from day care? That’s time you can’t be working, playing with your kiddo, making dinner, or blogging, and money that you will be spending on fuel and maintenance of your vehicle.

    Debt: The good news is that you won’t be spending money trying to get pregnant. The bad news is that babies are expensive. (Two words: Consignment sales. Make them your friends.) As for which method to go with, you are both right. Usually (depends on the circumstances), paying the biggest interest first reduces how much you’ll spend in the long run. But psychologically, studies have found that people who see “small wins” are more likely to maintain their frugal behaviors.

    Is Buster still smoking? You could put that money directly to debt reduction.

    And I’m guessing you are going back to work after 6 weeks because of the money situation. But you are legally allowed more time. If there’s any way you can swing even 8 weeks, you might want to consider it. It’s amazing how much those extra 2 weeks can help your sanity.

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  6. Welcome to second tri and its "energy boost"! I use that phrase loosely. LOL

    Daycare is crazy expensive. Personally, if I could swing it, I'd do the one closer to work because that extra 40 min/day would piss me off. And I completely second efriess' sentiment. Take as much time off as you possibly can. I'd make saving for a couple/few extra weeks of nonpaid leave as much a priority as paying down debt. Youre doing so great!! 14 weeks! Man!

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  7. We are living the same life right now. I am visiting my 6th day care tomorrow and it is insanely expensive. We are also trying to find a place that will work with my teacher's schedule and summer vacation. Talk about a tall order. I'm figuring out that nothing will be perfect, so we should just go with the one that comes closest and that we can afford. It's sure been an education.

    We are also trying to pay off a chunk of debt before the baby comes. How do people afford all of this?

    Email me any time if you want to compare notes!

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  8. Yay for 14 weeks!

    Oh lawdy. I'm not even pregnant and whenever I read something like this I start to panic about daycare and preschools. Sending you lots of... daycare dust? Is that a thing?

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  9. Daycare is sooo expensive. We have looked into it several times and just can't do it - so I'm working part time evenings and weekends so my husband can watch her.

    I agree with a fellow commenter - if there is any way at all you can swing a week or two extra of maternity leave you should try--even 8 weeks would be so much more palatable.

    So happy you've made it to the 2n trimester!!! Here's to smooth sailing from here!

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  10. Yes, the daycare dilemma! JJ got called back to the railroad so we have been rushing around trying to find a daycare for Chloe and not only are we finding that they are expensive, the good ones have wait lists and we need one like, Monday! I have been super stressed about it, but I think we've finally found one and a huge weight has been lifted. And as far as the debt goes, I gave up on paying that off a while ago. It just wasn't happening and it was unnecessary stress I didn't want to deal with along with caring for a newborn. Seeing as how Chloe will be one in a few weeks, I guess I can't use her as an excuse anymore and need to buckle down. Good luck working through your stressors.

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  11. I'm so excited for you and your little peanut, woohoo! ok, so call the holder of your student loans and see what forbearance/deferment options you might be eligible for. It's a temporary fix but might help you pay down the cc's first which probably have much higher interest rates. You can work on the student loans later, just my 2 cents. Especially if they are Fed loans. Good luck!

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  12. It is a pity I live across an ocean, because I am about to set up as an at home childminder. I plan to start with one baby and one toddler. You go back much earlier in the US than we do in the UK though. I was quite surprised how little maternity you get.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, it's worse than you might think. All maternity leave is unpaid (except in a few select states, or a few generous employers, or if you pay for disability insurance). All maternity leave ensures is that you will still have a job when you return. And you must return no later than 3 months.

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  13. What about transferring the higher interest rate to a zero percent one and then do the snowball effect? I did a very big no-no and took out a loan against my 401k.. its the only way we've stopped using cc completely. We took a 2 yr loan but Im hoping to pay it off sooner. Im lucky, Im a nurse and work nights so I have a flexible schedule but honestly have no idea how people afford day care. I agree with others though.. saving money to stay home a couple more weeks over paying off debt right now. Also I would look more into home daycares.. if they are available near you, financially Im pretty sure they are SO much cheaper. Good luck. :)
    ~Squ

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  14. I'm always floored by how little time is given for maternity leave in other countries. Fortunately I will be off for an entire year so my daycare search doesn't have to start just yet. However, it is equally as expensive in Canada.

    As for budgeting our plan is to crush our credit card over the next two-three months, while still putting some money aside for the big items. All the while we'll continue to get some of the school loans out of the way. Feels like it's impossible to get ahead sometimes - even with both spouses working. However, I know we have it pretty good. Just a matter of watching how we spend our dollars.

    As far as how we're paying it off - we're starting with the highest interest rate first. Although I definitely see merit in the snowball method. Great blog post! Lots to think about!

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  15. I have a 9-month old and have some thoughts/experience on the daycare question. I chose the close to work option, this was fortunately the cheapest, but I woudl still HIGHLY recommend the close to work option. I LOVE being able to see my sweetie in the middle of the day when I have the time. Also, there are days like today, when I forgot her bottle of pumped milk and will go over to nurse her instead. Having the daycare close to work (or on the way to the commute) makes a crazy, difficult transition less hard. Plus, during those first few months when the baby isn't yet sleeping through the night, you will want as short a commute as possible. Unless the $ difference is HUGE, I would recomment going for the close to work option. Also it is nice to consider the location of the baby's pediatrician too if you get the chance. You make lots of visits in that first year, both for regular check-ups and just your general sickness. When considering the location, ask yourself if you woudl want to make that drive with a sick baby in the backseat. Both my daycare and pediatrician office are either close to work or on the way to/from work for me and I love it!

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  16. The financial guru, Dave Ramsey, advocates for the snowball method - for whatever that is worth.

    I'm not even looking for day cares yet but I see kids in them for work, and it is absolutely insane how much it costs. Ugh. Best of luck!

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  17. Finances are definately a hard thing. We will have to figure out the child care thing eventually. I am too hesitant to make plans even though I know it has to come.
    As for the debt...we have A LOT. It sucks that most people don't pay a single dime to conceive...
    We have a payment plan that we follow every month and it has worked out so far but we will have to refigure it once the baby is born. I hope to keep on track but I have no idea what we will be paying in diapers and such.
    You are doing great! Happy 14 weeks!

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  18. Daycare is RIDICULOUS!!! That's why when we found out we were expecting twins, my husband decided to quit his job. It was that or someone was getting a 2nd job to help cover the costs of daycare...

    Personally, I would go with the one that is closer if you can, it's SO nice to stop in the first few weeks back, and then whenever after :)

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