I saw a household budget calculator on Facebook and I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for these things. If it comes out as much more than what I spend, I feel like some sort of goddess for using money wisely. If it comes out as much less, I feel righteous indignation for the authors being so out of touch with reality. I win no matter what!
I’m kind of a one-hit wonder and that hit goes like this: “dear God kids are expensive.” It shouldn’t have come as a shock to me, I mean people literally say it every time the word “child” comes up, and yet, a decade into parenting, I’m still constantly shocked. I’m like that guy in Memento with no memory except I need to tattoo on my arm “kids = $$$$.” PS when I was watching Memento there is one scene where for just one split second they show the main character in the wheelchair instead of that other guy and I saw it as I was watching the movie for the first time and nobody else did and that’s how I know deep down that I’m special. Well, that and the huge brain tumor.
Anyway, when I put in my county, for two adults and three kids, for a modest life, I’m supposed to be spending $7,611 per month. It won’t let me add another adult but if I subtract an adult it takes off $700, so I’m assuming with my MIL, it should be about $8300. My MIL lives a very modest lifestyle, but she still eats and needs medical care, and when you factor in her plane tickets back to the motherland and remittances…$700 is not enough. That said, since she started working, she has taken on some of that burden. Even so, $500-$700 is probably accurate.
The calculator doesn’t include student loan payments, which is $1100. And there we are, the budget is about right.
I mean it’s not right. Our housing is cheaper, our health care is cheaper, our child care is cheaper, our other expenses are way more. And it’s also not right in that we live pretty great; I wouldn’t say we live modestly. Small house, don’t eat out much, but kid activities galore and Disney World and lake house trips. I nearly got kicked off the cheerleading team when I refused to pay 80 extra dollars to bedazzle Sonya’s sports bra for practice, but we were able to pay for her to have a $120 “practice wear” outfit (my wedding dress, which I wore twice, cost $225!), and any family that can fit $120 for sweating-in clothes into the budget can’t pretend like they are living modestly.
Good God. To live modestly with three kids and a parent in my area, which is not fancy, costs over $8,000 PER MONTH. No wonder I’m always feeling the pinch. If it weren’t for my side hustle, our two-income salary wouldn’t be enough.