We've been doing some number crunching lately, and the bottom line is that money coming in is not equaling money going out. Even when we spend zero dollars on non-necessities, we still aren't making enough to cover all of our expenses. To be fair, we knew this was a possibility, and before I had Gabe and while I was on maternity leave, we saved as much as we could so that we could have a cushion to cover our expenses. Of course, now that we have the money saved up, it is painful to watch it be drained away by expenses like groceries or gasoline.
Don't get me wrong, Josh makes a good salary, but it is still less than half of what I was making at my law firm. We bought our house based on my salary, not his, so our mortgage takes up a monstrous chunk of our income. We've considered making all kinds of changes, like selling our house, moving to a less expensive suburb, getting rid of a car, or losing our cell phones or cable television. The housing market isn't what it used to be, so selling this house doesn't make much sense, and we really can't survive without both cars. Josh works long hours, and I'm responsible for the bulk of errand running, so I need a car to get around during the day. We're trying to cut our costs wherever possible, like eating only at home, not making unnecessary purchases, taking hand-me-downs for Gabe from friends where possible.
In the end, though, I really think I'm going to have to get a part-time job. Josh is adamantly against it, mainly because he sees that I hate the thought of having to leave Gabe. We're also hoping that this May, at the one year mark of employment for him, he'll receive a raise that will make all the difference. Once we make enough to cover our expenses, enough not to drain our savings, I'm more than happy to live like a pauper. Our parents are extraordinarily generous and are happy to cover our plane tickets to visit them, and all of our expenses once we are there. My mom bought me some new clothes and Gabe some new books while we were visiting. My in-laws help us out with household projects, including putting up new fencing when our old fencing fell over from the weight of a snowstorm. My mother-in-law also provides sporadic babysitting so we don't have to pay someone else to watch Gabe. In short, we are very very lucky, and living like a "pauper" is really not bad at all, even when I haven't been to Starbucks in months. Oh, the tragedy.
It feels so irresponsible to be pulling money from our savings, though, especially when I am perfectly able to work just a few hours a week and give us a little bit of protection on the money front. The problem is that every time I sit down in front of the computer to look up available jobs, I feel paralyzed with the prospect. I left work in such a bad state at the end of my maternity leave, and the idea of putting myself back into a situation like that, is enough to make me nauseous. Logically, of course, I know that not all jobs are the same, and I won't be working at a law firm, I won't be working 70 hours a week, it will be different. But that terrified part of me screams as I revamp my resume, what if it isn't?
Maybe the best thing for us is for me to jump back on the work horse and try something out. It could be good for me emotionally, it could help me face my demons, and it will definitely be good for our budget. The jobs I've been considering are far from full-time, and have flexible hours. I could try it for a while, and if it works, then great. If it doesn't work, we'll reconsider and readjust. Plus, maybe I'll love it. Maybe I'll realize that I've missed the interaction and stimulation of the work force. If I don't, well, let's keep our fingers crossed that May brings a huge raise for Josh.