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Oh yes, another financial worry - Help me think outside the box?

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
My Dad calls me up this morning with this ephiphany that came to him that once DS is here, he'd be home in the mornings with a toddler and an infant until my Mom gets home from work. He doesn't think he can handle it, and he says we really need to figure out what will happen when it's time for me to go back to work after DS is born.

Full time daycare will kill me. I was going to be just barely getting by on part time daycare costs, and even that was going to be a miracle.

And yes, this was factoring in an optimistic CS amount. Which was only having STBX pay for half of part time daycare costs, and that amounts to a lot, and since he has to pay CS to his older DD as well, I'm not even sure I could get that full amount. And full time care amounts to another $264/month total.

I still find it amazing that I do not qualify for any help. (And yes I am absolutely certain on this as I have been screened by domestics and my lawyer, I just "make too much" HA!)

Because JUST after daycare costs (at full time) I'm left with $536/month. I have to pay rent, buy groceries, cloth my kids, pay for my car, etc... all on $500?! Yeah, it's not going to happen.


So far my ideas are, look for a lesser paying job... which doesn't sound appealing to me. Because, I've worked hard at this job, and am finally out of an entry level position! What will it look like a few years from now when I likely changed careers to take a lesser job?

Plus jobs to get in this area period are ridiculously hard right now. There isn't even a garantee I could get another job. Especially as I absolutely cannot work retail or anything that would require me to lift or stand for any period of time.


The other idea was go to school and somehow get tons of loans to survive? But I have no idea how this works. I only ever qualified for student loans to cover the cost of tuition. Books I had to buy on my own. And my credit is very poor right now. Plus... I have no idea what to go to school for. And I can't forsee having time/energy/thought power to do well in classes while juggling care for a newborn and a toddler on my own?


I'm in this crack... and I don't know what to do.
post #2 of 86
I'm not sure what you mean by domestics, but if you haven't actually gone down to social services/income maintenance/whatever they call it in your area and filled out the application and gotten turned down, I would strongly encourage you to go do that ASAP. IME, no one but the case workers really know if you qualify for help or not, as there are several different programs. I know some people who qualify for just day care assistance, for example.
post #3 of 86
That sounds like such a tough situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
The other idea was go to school and somehow get tons of loans to survive? But I have no idea how this works. I only ever qualified for student loans to cover the cost of tuition. Books I had to buy on my own. And my credit is very poor right now. Plus... I have no idea what to go to school for. And I can't forsee having time/energy/thought power to do well in classes while juggling care for a newborn and a toddler on my own?(
I really don't suggest going to college and surviving on loans. This sounds like a recipe for disaster when you get done with college and have to start paying them all back! But I hate debt

Right now I'm in college full time but I qualify for the full Pell Grant (plus a couple other grants). It covers all my tuition, books, etc plus a little leftover to live on. Not enough to survive on, don't get me wrong. I don't take out any loans, and probably won't. Maybe my last year II'll consider it (dp and I will be married before then so I won't qualify for the Pell Grant).

Can you find someone to trade childcare with? What about an older person (retired) who would do it for cheap?

How far above the income limit are you? Is it super close? If it is, can you ask work to cut down on a couple hours a week so you get to the limit and qualify for aid?
post #4 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KempsMama View Post
I'm not sure what you mean by domestics, but if you haven't actually gone down to social services/income maintenance/whatever they call it in your area and filled out the application and gotten turned down, I would strongly encourage you to go do that ASAP. IME, no one but the case workers really know if you qualify for help or not, as there are several different programs. I know some people who qualify for just day care assistance, for example.
It was a case worker I talked to in domestics, who screened me specifically for child care aide, as that is all I cared about. There is a specific income guideline for PA, and CS puts me over it.

http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/ServicesP.../003670906.htm

For my family of three I need to make less than $36,620/year. Which I do with my salary. The issue comes, as they factor in CS as part of my income which pushes me over.
post #5 of 86
Do you have anything you can sell for a decent amount? Non-sentimental jewelry? Electronics? Sell your car and get a cheaper (but still dependable and safe) one?

Just throwing out ideas here! Have you posted a budget in Frugality and Finances? That might be helpful, too. I'm with Steph about not taking out student loans. IMO, it's a short-term fix that comes back to bite you in the a$$ in the long run. Found that out the hard way...

Is there a hobby or anything you're interested in that could become a source of income? Photography, crafting, tutoring...

Or is there anything you're interested in...or maybe at least could tolerate...that has a 1 or 2-yr. program, maybe even night school or something online? I'm not sure, but I think a lot of medical-related fields like nursing (LPN's?), x-ray tech, veterinary tech, etc. have shorter degree programs.

Hugs, mama. I know it's a tough situation.
post #6 of 86
That stinks.

I think there's something so wrong with the income guidelines. Especially when you figure if you quit your job and went on welfare, they'd pay for daycare while you looked for a job...but yet, when you already HAVE a job, no help. Rar.

Venting for you. Sorry I don't have any actual useful advice Mama.
post #7 of 86
And if you are not getting any CS, do you qualify? And for what/how much?

Because you could probably wait on CS if not getting CS works out better financially for you. Or accept less CS temporarily.

CS can be reviewed every few years, so taking less CS now will not prevent you from getting more later. And if you can make it seem like your ex is "winning" when you "give in to" his request that you guys keep CS between the two of you, then he might go for giving you less.

Have you posted your budget in the frugality forum?

Because unless there's an insanely high cost of living in PA, or you have insanely high loan repayments, if you're that close to the cut-off, there's got to be a way to bring your expenses down to something manageable.
post #8 of 86
Can you get your cost of living any lower? Maybe living with your parents? Or getting a roommate? Perhaps even a college student who could watch your kids in the morning for lower rent?

Is there any way to trade childcare with someone? Like they would watch your babies in the mornings and you could do weekend care for them?
post #9 of 86
Thread Starter 
I have a very high car loan payment that I cannot get rid of and will not be done with for another two years. There is not public transportation where I live, I need a car. Trading it in would do no good as I owe more than the car is worth. I love depreciation.

To get any aide, I have to go through domestics, and domestics will not change the amount STBX should pay to help me qualify for aide. The philosophy is if you are receiving CS your likelihood of needing aide should become non-exisitent.

I could post in finance, but the only things on my budget are priority. Nothing that can be changed. Just daycare cuts away 3/4 of my pay. That's a pretty good chunk of change. I don't know anyone who can live on a week's pay.
post #10 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
I have a very high car loan payment that I cannot get rid of and will not be done with for another two years. There is not public transportation where I live, I need a car. Trading it in would do no good as I owe more than the car is worth. I love depreciation.

To get any aide, I have to go through domestics, and domestics will not change the amount STBX should pay to help me qualify for aide. The philosophy is if you are receiving CS your likelihood of needing aide should become non-exisitent.

I could post in finance, but the only things on my budget are priority. Nothing that can be changed. Just daycare cuts away 3/4 of my pay. That's a pretty good chunk of change. I don't know anyone who can live on a week's pay.
I make a wicked salary, but if I had to pay for f/t care for my two - I'd be in serious trouble. At this point in time I'm subsidized by the city for the next year (since it's based on my last years income as a student) but as of next spring, things are going to get a LOT tighter around here.

No advice mama, just that I feel your pain.
post #11 of 86
Are you currently receiving child support? They shouldn't be factoring it in if you aren't receiving it. My ex has been very sporadic at paying support so they take an average which amounts to maybe $50 a month depending on the year, one year he hadn't paid at all. Have you looked into a nanny. If you can stand living with another person you may be able to include the price of the room in your house as part of the salary, especially if you go with a student who goes to school at night. You will probably have to change nannies a lot, but it may help until you can pay off the car loan. Since your ex isn't going to be paying much support I think you should put that you get the tax child tax credit every year in your divorce decree, if it isn't too late. Using that money to pay off some of the car or to pay up on daycare may help you make ends meet. Have you been to WIC. They are run out of another division and the food they provide can help a lot. They cover kids until they are five and they have different income requirements.

Also, look into Head Start and Early Head Start to see if you qualify. Head Start has programs that range from part day to full day preschool depending on the company that runs the program. Early Head Start sometimes only offers education in the home and parenting groups, but sometimes they also offer part of full day care. Because it is a free program any little bit may help. They also often provide transportation to and from the program and will pick up and drop off from home or another daycare (though I doubt that Early Head Start would.
post #12 of 86
I have a theory, but you may have already gone down this road.

What are you claiming as dependents on your paycheck? WHne my husband started his new job, I changed mine from Married 0 to married 3. My husband was already doing 0, so this increased my take home pay on a weekly basis. Also, I use the FSA to the max, therefore, I am paying for 5,000.00 of childcare expenses with tax free money, it saves me like 1350 a year, plus I can still write off the rest when I do my taxes, and wich helps BIG TIME when we file. I wont post what we got back for 2009, but it was PRETTY.

Just some ideas if you havent thought of them. Since I am guessing you will have sole custody, you will be able to claim both children.
post #13 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MistyD View Post
Can you get your cost of living any lower? Maybe living with your parents? Or getting a roommate? Perhaps even a college student who could watch your kids in the morning for lower rent?

Is there any way to trade childcare with someone? Like they would watch your babies in the mornings and you could do weekend care for them?
I'm already living with my parents. I only pay $300/month in rent to them, and they pretty much cover groceries for dinners. It's lunches, and anything specific for me and my children that I need to cover, such as shampoo, DD's milk, EBM storage bags, etc.

I had a college student as a sitter once before, and the amount I paid her isn't far off from what I am paying the center, and college students just are not that reliable because of needing time off for finals, etc.

And not to sound like a pain in the ass or like I'm shutting down every example... because I'm not meaning too... but I need to be realistic for my own health and physical capabilities as well. I don't think trading childcare would help me because it's hard enough for me to work full time and take care of my own kids, weekends I try to be as low key as possible to rest up for the next week. (I have fibromyalgia) I don't think I could take on more than my two for weekends. I'm already scared of what my exhaustion/pain levels are going to look like once DS gets here.

Budget Breakdown:
$1920 - my take home
$560 - possible child support amount (I won't know for certain until after DS is born when he can be added, this is rough estimate based off of lots of calculations and trying to determine what will go to STBX's first child)
$175 - what STBX is paying for half of the bills he is responsible for (he has actually been doing this!)

--> Gives me $2,655 to work with a month, which seems like a lot! Until...

$1,384 - full time daycare for both kids
$65 - loan payment
$125 - 2nd loan payment
$123 - car insurance
$75 - cell phone (this is already the minimum, no internet or anything like that)
$415 - car loan
$120 - gas for car
$300 - rent

--> $2,607 total monthly expenses

But that only leaves $48 for groceries, doctor visits if something happens, clothes, God forbid if something breaks on the car... See, bare minimum...

And I didn't even add on the student loan payment that I'm supposed to start paying again next month because even after I cried and told this budget to AES, they informed me I don't qualify for another deferement. So add another $50/month bill up there, which now leaves me in the negative dollars and I still haven't fed my kids or taken them to the doctor.
post #14 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbie64g View Post
I have a theory, but you may have already gone down this road.

What are you claiming as dependents on your paycheck? WHne my husband started his new job, I changed mine from Married 0 to married 3. My husband was already doing 0, so this increased my take home pay on a weekly basis. Also, I use the FSA to the max, therefore, I am paying for 5,000.00 of childcare expenses with tax free money, it saves me like 1350 a year, plus I can still write off the rest when I do my taxes, and wich helps BIG TIME when we file. I wont post what we got back for 2009, but it was PRETTY.

Just some ideas if you havent thought of them. Since I am guessing you will have sole custody, you will be able to claim both children.
Yes, I had already adjusted my dependents back when I was getting ready to leave STBX. So I'm already bringing home as much as possible.

My work doesn't offer the FSA.

And yes... STBX has been paying me CS already as well as his half of the loans that are in both our names.
post #15 of 86
You need to see a different caseworker, or see the same one again and make sure she is counting you as a family of 3 or can give you information on what you WILL qualify for after the birth.

Because if my calculator is correct, you should qualify.

The link you posted puts the income cut-off at $36,620. But if you add up your monthly income (including the $175 for STBX's half of bills) and multiply by 12, that only comes to $31,860.

WELL UNDER THE CUTOFF.
post #16 of 86
Thread Starter 
They go by gross amount, not net, Ione. It's all BS. My gross is 34,320 something. With CS, it puts me well over.
post #17 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Budget Breakdown:
$1920 - my take home
$560 - possible child support amount (I won't know for certain until after DS is born when he can be added, this is rough estimate based off of lots of calculations and trying to determine what will go to STBX's first child)
$175 - what STBX is paying for half of the bills he is responsible for (he has actually been doing this!)

--> Gives me $2,655 to work with a month, which seems like a lot! Until...

$1,384 - full time daycare for both kids
$65 - loan payment
$125 - 2nd loan payment
$123 - car insurance
$75 - cell phone (this is already the minimum, no internet or anything like that)
$415 - car loan
$120 - gas for car
$300 - rent

--> $2,607 total monthly expenses

JSMa: The big thing I see here is a high car payment. Yes, I know you said you're upside-down on the car. I hear you. So if you trade it in, you'd still be paying on the first car. True. But, if you don't trade it in, you'll be paying $415/mo until it's paid off. No need to do that. Trade in for a used car, you'll still make some payments on this, but it'll go away much quicker, freeing up a lot of cash per month. Plus, your car insurance might go down a bit as well.

Also, $75/mo seems high for a cell phone. I'm not sure what company you use or your contract length, but mine's only $50/mo and I have unlimited minutes. You might shop around on that one if you aren't locked in.

Good luck!
post #18 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
JSMa: The big thing I see here is a high car payment. Yes, I know you said you're upside-down on the car. I hear you. So if you trade it in, you'd still be paying on the first car. True. But, if you don't trade it in, you'll be paying $415/mo until it's paid off. No need to do that. Trade in for a used car, you'll still make some payments on this, but it'll go away much quicker, freeing up a lot of cash per month. Plus, your car insurance might go down a bit as well.

Also, $75/mo seems high for a cell phone. I'm not sure what company you use or your contract length, but mine's only $50/mo and I have unlimited minutes. You might shop around on that one if you aren't locked in.

Good luck!
I hear you... but in reality... is a used car really helping me out? A used car has much more percentage of having something go on it that would cost maintenance fees, etc. So say I can save $100/month on a car payment. (The insurance won't change because I'd sill have a loan, and therefore still need to carry collision)...

Okay, say the transmission goes and now I'm looking at $1200 repair bill.

I just don't know if it's worth it to trade in my car for something used that could potentially die on me in the next month. And the way my luck has been on used cars this past year with STBX and in my own past... they haven't lasted me long. And the car payments were still at least $200 some/month, but that was back when I had better credit, too.

And I still have 1.5 years on my cell phone contract. It's the only phone I have, so it really is neccessary for emergencies, so daycare and doc offices can reach me, etc.
post #19 of 86
I don't know where you live but i'm guess that car has something to do with it. I assume it is fairly new with a car payment like that. In CA if your vehicle is valued over $2500 then it is an asset that puts you over the limit for a lot of state help. You are paying over $700/mo on you car in terms of payment/gas/insurance. I get the whole depreciation thing and needing transportation but that's ridiculous. You do make a good salary, you pay hardly any rent, have a new car, get decent child support you have alot to work with. State help is truly for those who have far less to work with and far less assets. You need a huge overhaul with your finances and work soemthing out in terms of childcare with your ex and the kids and your family. Maybe there can be rotating shifts, neighborhood teens, grandmothers needing extra income. Here in CA you wouldn't qualify for subsidized child care with your assets and income.
post #20 of 86
You will need to downgrade and look at things differently. Sorry but that's the reality that many single moms have to deal with.
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