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Huge curveball smacks right into our budget

January 18th, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Whew. I'm so busy at work but I just had to take a break and write about the craziness that's been going on here.

Financial progress for all my goals was chugging along for the first part of the year. There was the small hiccup of our parking-spot renter passing away, but last night we got a new renter for $10 more per month, up to $85.

NT's UK flat suddenly needed several repairs, which is going to eat into our EF savings, but we're already ahead in that area so I wasn't too worried.

Then last night--Kablooey! Our wonderful daycare lady, who is in her 60s, said she got an out-of-the-blue offer on her house, which (unbeknownst to us) had been on the market for several months. She's taking the offer, moving, and retiring from daycare in mid-February!

We're trying not to panic or make too big a deal over it, but here are the facts that make this an extremely significant financial event in our lives:
- Finding a new daycare provider in less than a month will be nothing short of a miracle.
- At $110 per week ($477 a month), our daycare is BY FAR the cheapest I've heard of or seen advertised anywhere near us. The centers in downtown Minneapolis, by contrast, start at $1200 per month and run all the way up to $2500! NT's been doing some research, and most in-home providers charge about $1000 per month.
- We don't have a car, so this severely limits our options. We could consider getting a car if that would be a cheaper option, but besides the cost of the car, gas, insurance and maintenance, we'd also have to factor in losing $85 per month in parking-spot rental. So that plus whatever price we could find for a farther-out daycare provider equalling less than the cost of a downtown center is highly unlikely.
- We should look at the option of having one of us stay home; we shouldn't rule anything out. The person who brings in the least money by far is AS (I'm talking her full-time job; her freelance income brings her overall income up considerably). But we need her building her career for our eventual move to England. She'll need to get to the UK on some kind of employment visa, and her current job is adding to her resume in a very good field, plus she's making international contacts. Still, with the full-time job bringing in just over $1750 per month, and daycare possibly increasing to $1200 or more, it feels like a hard choice. Even though I'm sure it's best for us in the long run.
- I saw one ad for a $150-per-week provider -- but she mentioned having a PCA license, not a daycare provider license, so I'm not sure if it would be eligible for flex spending reimbursement. And she hasn't gotten back to me anyway.
- Oh yeah, any consideration does have to include thinking about the $5000 of money I'm setting aside in dependent-care flex spending. Would I be able to stop contributions if I stopped using daycare or didn't use someone specifically licensed for childcare? I have to check that out.
- All of this is moot if we can't find daycare in three weeks. At that point we go into damage control, I guess. Working from home? Trying to get friends to watch AA for reasonable amounts?

Whatever happens, we seem to be look at at least a $600 chunk (probably much more) being taken out of our current budget and reallocated into either childcare or due to lost wages or car purchase. So we'll need to go over the budget and come to some agreement on what we would choose to cut first. Luckily there are lots of "wants" as well as extra money going to saving and debt repayment in our budget, but it's not going to be easy deciding what to eliminate.

So the new year is already looking completely unpredictable. I am fairly optimistic that we'll be able to work out some solution that won't leave us broke and/or miserable, but I'm also stressed and a bit overwhelmed.

9 Responses to “Huge curveball smacks right into our budget”

  1. miclason Says:

    Ugh! Good luck finding a new daycare provider that is both good and affordable! ((hugs))

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Good luck, that definitely does add some uncertainty to your plans.

  3. laura Says:


    Sorry to hear it, but it is nice that you have three loving parents to chose from. If AS stays home, does that move up plans for Baby 2? And how long before you plan on making a move to the UK?

    Good luck figuring out what makes the best sense for you all!

  4. guppy Says:

    Good luck with finding another solution! I had a little one recently and figuring out daycare sure is a headache!!

  5. CB in the City Says:

    I'm so sorry. I remember the palpable relief I felt when my boys didn't need daycare anymore. It's really hard.

  6. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Wow, that sure is a kick in the pants! I hope you're able to figure something workable out quickly. It's too bad she didn't give you more of a notice.

  7. scfr Says:

    You will figure this out! For 10 seconds, stop & remind yourself how much better you are equipped to handle this hiccup than you would have been 3-1/2 years ago.

    It will be fine.

    Could AS increase her freelance work if she stayed home with the baby?

  8. MonkeyMama Says:

    Good Luck!

    Usually these things happen for the best. That said, I haven't found one good thing when our own daycare lady picked up and left. We didn't *need* her, but it was a really hard time for our family since we loved and trusted her (& was our second family). We never did find a proper replacement. I can relate!

  9. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. Okay - we saved money. So NOT worth it. Rolleyes

    I am sure it will work out though. I admit we had little motivation to look much. & I agree with scfr - just think how much better equipped you are to handle this now.

    Such is life - never goes as planned! Kids just add to the craziness of life.

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