I, like many parents, am relieved that school is back in session. But I’m not excited for every part of the back-to-school routine, however. One persistent pain in my budget is figuring out how to save money on school lunches.
That’s what I consistently spend on monthly groceries for our family of four.But I’m not always happy with that number.
I’ve written before about how I decided to take a step back from full-time work to take a career break and pursue my own projects and passions.
I wanted to focus on my own work, my personal life, and recovering from burnout. So I turned in my notice and resolved to spend 2019 doing all that, and maybe freelancing a little here and there.
Quitting my job was risky and I thought it would be the scariest part of this process. Hoo mama, I was so, so wrong.
“This car is pretty old,” my 6-year-old daughter said on our morning drive to school. She paused for a minute, and I could tell she was wondering if what she’d just said was rude. “I mean… it’s also a pretty car?”
Trying to improve ourselves is never an easy, comfortable, or pain-free path — and having the advice of experts to guide us can be invaluable. But it’s important to be careful what self-help and financial advice we choose to follow.
I looked into the bleary, unfocused eyes of a brand new person: my first child. My inner sense of the world recentered on this miniature being.
Oh shit, I thought. I am now fully responsible for another human for the next 18 years.
“Thanks for taking care of everything, I know it’s been so busy lately,” I said to my husband.
“I don’t take care of everything,” he joked “Just, like, 99% of it.”
I laughed in agreement because it was sort of true.
Yet today, his joke landed on my heart with a sting, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
“Um, so, don’t freak out but I think we might owe like… $10,000 in taxes this year?”
Surrounded by W-2s, 1098s, and myriad other tax documents, I texted this worry to my husband.
It’s my favorite time of day. The house is quiet after a morning rush to get the rest of my family out the door. Ahead of me is a fresh new day to be seized. But first, coffee.
I push the “brew now” button on my coffeemaker, anticipating the delightful “beep! Beep! Beep!” that means it’s done.
But when I remove the carafe, it feels suspiciously light. When tipped over, it pours out a measly ounce.
Oh, hell no.
I’m with a friend on a cold day in late November or early December. We’ve inexplicably agreed to meet at the local zoo, despite it being about 40 degrees, cloudy, and snowy. We sit bundled up, rub our arms for warmth and share a bag of gourmet popcorn while our kids run around the zoo’s playset.
“How did you decide to strike out on your own?” I ask. My friend is a talented designer and artist. She owns her own company, and is the creative director for another local business.
She talks about her decision: her desire for more ownership over her work, the freedom to do things the way she believes is best, the ability to devote her time where her passions are. It’s exactly what I’m hoping for.
But what about the financial side, I wonder aloud, worrying about how the loss of my steady income could affect my own family and our money management. Has that panned out?