Tim and I are still adjusting to my new schedule, and its implications for our budget.
My cooking has dwindled to almost non-existent. Of course, it wasn’t exactly going like gangbusters before. Mainly, it’s a matter of getting organized. If I can manage that, I can just sit down each week — probably Wednesday, with the food ads — and plan out meals.
The problem is, I feel scattered. Some of it is just my natural rhythm — super-organized, somewhat paralyzed, repeat. But some of it is having a new focus for eight hours a day.
I haven’t clipped coupons in weeks, so that is something I need to buckle down on. I’m trying not to make it into a big deal, though, since that will just make it even harder to get accomplished. That said, I’m acutely aware of my lack of coupons each time I enter the grocery store. I almost feel naked.
What’s weird is that, despite a hike in our fast-food consumption, our expenses haven’t gone up that much. I think part of it is fewer trips to the grocery store. We’ve been buying enough junk food at the fast food joints, I’ve been trying to buy less at the grocery store.
I think we’re also getting better at living on a cash system — or, more correctly, a debit system. We stick to what’s in the checking account and, as it dwindles, get increasingly creative with our convenience food options. (This week, unfortunately, we did put a couple of things on the credit card for a total of about $30. I’m actually not beating myself up about it. Who knew I could be reasonable?)
I’m also aware that we’ve dodged some bullets by my working at home. Those bullets, though, may come zinging back toward us when Tim finds work.
Right now, Tim can help me by either running errands for me, or by driving me to the errands. It’s not clear how much a job will drain him. Yeah, he’s ADHD, but work is psychologically draining, in addition to the physical aspect.
In addition, I won’t be able to run errands as my energy dictates, but will have to wait for Tim to be home. We’ll just have to wait and see how that plays out on our finances.
Then there are the more obvious expenses that working people deal with.
One of the biggest, of course, is wardrobe. I don’t have to worry about business casual or business formal. Depending on what job Tim gets, though, he may need some new threads. He’ll need at least five shirts and pairs of pants, since he can’t wear clothes more than once between washings. And he’ll need a couple ties, too.
We can mitigate costs by going to places like Marshall’s, but we’re still looking at $150-200, easily. Maybe as much as $300 for an initial outlay.
Then there was the cost of gas. Right now, we only fill up about once every two weeks. If Tim gets a job, though, the transit system probably won’t be an option. And Phoenix is so spread out, he could easily use up a gallon of gas on his commute each day. We’re joining Costco, which will help the expenses. Still, that’s going to be a pretty big hike in car expense.
Things may get even more interesting starting this next month. A colleague is taking maternity leave, and I’ve been given the option of some overtime. My boss is happy to work with me, as we discover what I’m comfortable with. But it looks like, at least, my earnings will increase significantly for the three months she’s gone. That’ll help to cover the costs that come with my working more. I hope.
So what am I forgetting? What other costs of employment are there?