Quit Your Job and Don’t Cut Back

When women quit their jobs to stay at a home and care for their children, sometimes they need to cut back on their expenses. Sometimes this is easy stuff, like skipping a week of skiing in Colorado. But, sometimes it is big stuff, like moving to a smaller house.

But recently, a lot of women have been leaving their jobs for one reason or another, and they end up at home even somewhat unexpectedly. Maybe they got kicked out due to vaccine requirements, or maybe they had to stay at home because the children were attending public school remotely.

Either way, many women found that they quit their jobs, and … they didn’t have to cut back at all. The costs of working were actually more than their net income. They were working for nothing, and they didn’t even know it.

The income of a working wife is subject to payroll and income taxes. Then, with whatever is left over, the household has to pay for childcare expenses. This includes daycare, and it might include private schooling, if you don’t like public schools. Even if you do use public schools, it probably includes some kind of afterschool program. Then, a woman has to pay for the direct costs of working, which includes commuting — probably a second car — lunches, clothing, etc. Then, there is a long list of things that are not direct costs of working, but which tend to arise because a woman is too tired to do typical housewife tasks. This is often a lot of restaurants and takeout. It might include paid activities for the children. It might include babysitting or other expenses.

A big benefit for staying at home, today, is homeschooling. You face either public schools today, which are mediocre even in the best neighborhoods, or private schools which can become very expensive, and even then can be far less than ideal. There may be no good private school alternative in your neighborhood, at any price.

Another important item is food. If you don’t have someone at home preparing healthy meals from scratch, from healthy ingredients, the alternatives are only restaurant food (including fast food and takeout) and prepared foods from supermarkets. These are all bad alternatives. If you eat nothing but restaurant food/fast food/takeout/supermarket prepared foods all day every day, your health is going to suffer.

A stay-at-home Mother might also be involved in elder care. Probably, most women today don’t relish the idea of taking care of her own parents in their decline, or those of her husband, but it is something that women did in the past. This can save a ton of money — money that the family may eventually receive, in the form of an inheritance. But, even while the parents are still alive, let’s say that they are spending $40,000 a year to maintain their own household (with difficulty due to their age), forgetting for now the super-high expenses of assisted living or nursing homes. As part of a woman’s household, their additional costs may be little more than groceries — let’s say, $1000 a month for an elderly couple. If the elderly couple agrees to pay $3000 a month for their upkeep ($36,000 a year), that means an extra $2000 of tax-free cash for the household per month — enough for both house and car payments. Everybody wins.

Then there are the “soft” costs, which are, in many cases, the most important. An overworked woman is in a constant bad mood — as anyone would be, in that situation. This will affect her relationship with her husband and children.

But even if we set this aside, women should sit down and calculate whether they are getting any net monetary benefit at all from working full time. A lot of women weren’t, and had no idea.

Published by proprietor

Happily married, with children.

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