There are two things I wish I’d understood when I first wanted to stay home with my children. One was how much it actually cost for me to work outside the home and second, how little I really needed to earn to stay home! This page will help you figure out both!
CAN YOU AFFORD TO WORK?
Would you send your children to childcare for 45 hours per week so that you could work 40 hours per week to make a measly $3.80 per hour? Of course not, you say. But how do you know you aren’t doing just that? I certainly never thought as a professional social worker that I would be making only $3.80 per hour. But that is exactly what I was doing.
When I worked as a social worker, I made about $28,000 per year. Not a great salary but, combined with my husband’s, was a decent income. So why was I always broke? Why did we have a good income but couldn’t afford to go on vacation? Worse, I couldn’t afford to take the full 12 weeks allotted for maternity leave when my second child was born. The reason was that I had no clue how much I spent to work outside the home.
Here is what I paid each year so that I could work:
- $3,000 for Federal and State government income tax, Social Security payments and Medicare tax.
- $6,000 for childcare
- $2,400 extra for car payments, car insurance, and personal property tax for a newer car.
- $1,700 for commuting 10 miles a day.
- $1,000 for clothes, dry cleaning and other items and services related to my professional appearance.
- $1,000 for lunches.
- $2,600 for convenience foods and dining out because I was too tired to cook.
- $2,400 for I-deserve-this-because-I-work-so-hard items and guilt treats (toys, special outings) for my kids.
Total cost of my job: $20,100!
I spent $20,100 to work! That equaled an income of $7,900 per year, $152 per week… a full $3.80 per hour!
How much do you pay to work outside the home?
Work-related Expenses (listed below):
- Federal Taxes:
- State Taxes:
- Local Taxes:
- Social Security:
- Medicare Tax:
- Child Care:
- Commuting (toll, parking, 2nd car):
- Gasoline and mileage:
- Car insurance (extra car, nicer car):
- Clothing expenses (cleaning, new):
- Gifts, special friends etc at work:
- Convenience food for meals:
- Eating Out:
- Housekeeping help:
- Grooming needs (hair, nails etc):
- Guilt items for kids and family:
- Extra cost related to lack of time to research cheaper prices:
- Extra cost related to hiring help instead of making repairs yourself:
Add all the items above and subtract from your GROSS income. This is the amount left over after you pay for work expenses. Depending on the results, you may find it much cheaper not to work or to work part- time from home. For many years I made significantly less than I did at my last traditional job, and yet we had more disposable income. Why? Because I didn’t have so many work related expenses, and I was able to save a lot of money by being home.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes "Supporting Contributor" posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.