Wow, it's been so long since I've posted on MDC (though I've been doing my fair share of lurking). Too bad I'm speaking up again for less-than-awesome reasons. I apologize in advance for the length. If you don't want to read it, please don't. :) I guess I'll get right to it:
Spouse has an interview for University of Calgary Med School on Saturday. He wasn't invited to interview at UofA so UofC is his only chance. :( If he doesn't get in this year we still need to move to Calgary so he can transfer as a regular student because our local college has no more classes to offer him. Main point: we're moving from our current city to more expensive Calgary in about May/June.
I'd planned on being a SAHM for years. But I recently went back to work part time to pay my student loans. I make <$800 a month. I'm desperate to SAH again but can't figure out in our budget where on earth to find $800 a month (budget below). I read a lot of frugality books and blogs so I'm familiar with all the usual cost-cutting ideas. My current job is great work but I got lucky getting it. I'm not super qualified so I have serious doubts that I would find a job that pays as well (which isn't saying a lot, as I'm paid $10 p/h) and that was anywhere near as enjoyable (I like my boss, the work is nice, etc.). But, then, I don't want to be working anyhow. Main Point: How the h*#$ can I make it possible to be a SAHM again...and if I can't, how do I deal with the grief?
Our car recently died and is likely not fixable. We're looking into an interest-only LOC (that my in-laws had to co-sign *shudder*) but haven't heard back from the bank yet. I was recently informed that I probably qualify for income-based student loan payments (which the office rep told me would probably be $0 p/month) and I'm applying for that now (though I probably wouldn't qualify anymore if I did the SAHM thing again). But I recently learned that the university I went to screwed up my financial aid several years ago and I have to pay them $200 a month for 24 months starting in March. Hopefully things will go OK with the bank and we can use part of the LOC to pay for a new-to-us car and part to make payments to the university. It's stressful. And while I would say "well, this year we won't go visit Grandma" I'm fairly sure she is dying and this year will be my last ever chance to see her/take my daughter to see her. Main point: When it rains it pours.
Spouse works part time, attends school full time. Main Point: We're living on a mix of income/grants/loans, but mostly student loans.
I just hate our situation. I don't like wracking up all this debt due to school. I think, if we're smart, we'll be able to pay off the loans fairly quickly once spouse is done with school/residency. But it's super stressful now while we're still not even sure if he'll get in this year or next or, you know? The uncertainty is killing us. I never finished my degree because I didn't have something I wanted to study/do and I wanted to start a family and be a SAHM. I've been wracking my brain for weeks and weeks and weeks trying to figure out how on earth I can make that happen again (especially because I want to homeschool when the time comes). But I can't think of any at-home income generators that I could depend on for $800 a month. Anyhow, here's our current monthly budget (this doesn't include all our periodic expenses such as moving truck rental, but it does include some, such as travel costs, which we put aside a little at a time for).
utilities: $40 (we're lucky to only pay electric right now, this likely will change when we move)
coin-op laundry: $16 (average 1 load p/week)
phone: $19 (this is an internet phone that comes with free long distance, useful for calling my very ill mom- we have no cell phones)
groceries: $370 (we're in Canada, so our food prices aren't the greatest...but our health care sure is! I'm making every effort to bring this down, using a price book, meal planning, no eating out, almost no prepared foods except when it's on sale for cheaper than whole ingredients, that sort of thing - very receptive to more ideas)
car insurance: $80
gas: $100 (obviously, not paying that ATM since we have no car - but when we do it's mostly used for errands, taking DD to the sitter, and spouse working as he is required to provide transportation for his client, he rides the bus for school)
body care: $10 (haircuts, grooming supplies, that sort of thing - spouse usually cuts his own hair unless it's important he look good for pictures or interviews or something)
clothing: $100 (I am so, totally willing to slash this, we bumped it up because I lost a lot of weight and nothing fit)
gifts: $20 (this is for all occasions other than Christmas - I think it would be quite doable to slash this lower as I sew and craft and have a lot of supplies on hand already for making homemade gifts)
date night: $30 (we are happy doing cheap/free dates, but still need to pay a babysitter as it will be a while before we make friends with whom we can trade babysitting when we move - open to ideas on getting around this)
allowance: $40 (twenty for spouse, twenty for me)
debt: $200 (student loans and a loan from my parents - about to another $200 a month)
bank fees: $13
life insurance for spouse: $27
emergency fund saving: $150
travel: $200 (cost of daughter and myself getting from Alberta to Ohio using the cheapest airfare I've been able to find and flying during non-peak season/days - have considered pricing out cost of driving, which will be moot if we can't replace our dead station wagon)
hobbies: $15 (this could be dropped completely)
childcare: $35 (we're low income so it is subsidized)
other: $325 any and all other expenses (we went over budget on this last year and are getting back on track...I think now that I'm doing a better job with our budget/receipts I'll be able to bring this down)
Anybody see $800 hiding in there somewhere? Seriously though, I'm open to pretty much any idea that is legal/ethical if it means being at home.