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to work...or not to work

Monday, September 29, 2008

Someone asked a few weeks ago how the whole stay-at-home mom thing was going...and if I was planning on making it permanent. I've been waiting to give you an answer because...I just don't know.

I really am enjoying my time at home.
The house has never been cleaner (or more organized).
Maddie and I are bonding (that's a whole other post).
The kids are getting their homework done.
We have a little bit of time for some extra fun stuff (like football - and hopefully soon, gymnastics)
We're eating real meals.
I'm even thinking about starting an exercise routine.
But I don't know if my own little version of Utopia can last.
The truth is...
This move, while the right thing to do for our extended family, was definitely not the right thing to do for our immediate family - on so many levels, but especially financially.
Not even close.
I'll have a better idea of the damage on Wednesday when Shad gets his first real paycheck. Yep. It's taken almost two months for us to get some cash flowing in. This clinic only does payroll once a month, which means the last two months we have been living off of Mr. Credit Card.
That didn't do a whole lot to help my cause.
And then there was the trip to the emergency room for Nick the first night we were in town. Shad took Alek to his first football practice, while I took Nick to the E.R. for x-rays on his elbow. Turns out he got a 'nurse-maids' elbow when his sister fell out of a wagon, onto his arm while they were horsing around in the back yard.
That was right in between health insurance coverages. We didn't have either the old insurance or the new one for that little visit.
The bills are starting to flood in.
Now we have a cruddy form of health insurance called a 'Heath Savings Account'. The insurance is pretty much just catastrophic stuff - a $3K family deductible. And since we haven't been paid yet, we don't have any money in the Health Savings Account.
We're supposed to use that money to pay the $3K deductible.
Yea. Like that's going to happen.
My last job was a full-time job so we could have good insurance.
I really don't want to go down that road again.
So as you can see there are a lot of factors going into this decision.
What I would really like to do is stay home and work as a freelance writer. Unfortunately, even with all of my experience, I don't know where to begin to find freelance jobs.
Can anyone can point me in the right direction?
I do have a little gig with my old women's magazine. I'm writing a story for them every month, but it's not going to be enough to pay even one bill.
In the meantime, I'm working on a plan to cut back on things around here.
I'm doing more meal planning to help save on the grocery bill...
I'm shutting off lights and turning down the heat (remember...we're in the mountains - its already chilly here).
And I'm looking at other areas where we can cut back.
Unfortunately, we already live pretty lean, there's not a whole lot of fat in our budget. Our only luxuries are my DSL, DirecT.V. and cell phones - and we're on the cheapest plans for each of them.
At least one of them may have to go.
Maybe two.
The sale of our Kansas house would be a step in the right direction.
But somehow I don't see it happening any time soon.
So the question remains...
To work...
Or not to work.
I'll let you know.
And in the meantime, if you have any great ideas, let me know.
I'm open to just about anything.

16 salty messages:

Tina in CT September 29, 2008 at 6:54 PM  

I wish I had some words of wisdom or knew the path to freelancing to help you out. Are there any PT jobs in your professional area where you live? Maybe that would be a compromise.

Elaine September 29, 2008 at 8:46 PM  

Oh, we have a health savings account, too. SUCKY. And McH works for a pretty major corporation, so you'd think we'd have some decent health insurance, but no. The best coverage we ever had came from the smallest company he worked for. Go figure. Good luck getting it all figured out. And let me know if you find any rocking free lance opportunities that you'd want to share ;o)

Suzanne September 29, 2008 at 11:04 PM  

Oh I feel for you. I had six months of no work and medical expenses right and left - surgery here and hospitalization there and breast biopsy for this one and heart surgery for that one and crowns for the little one and new glasses and so on and on and on.

I have work for the next 3 month and that is it for the year.

Sweaters. Lights out. Heat off. Pinto Beans.

However, even though it stinks to be SO BROKE, it is great for bonding. In hindsight, we benefited greatly from having me available for the kids 24/7, though we would not have chosen it.

The most useful advice I have is the Pinto Beans. Sorry. Lots of empathy though.

Christine September 29, 2008 at 11:37 PM  

What a dilemma. No advice here. Just pray about it, that's all I can encourage. :)

Ceeseelee September 30, 2008 at 12:48 AM  

I don't know if this will help you or not, but there is a man who lives in the Greel. area. His name is Gib Green, he wrote a column for the Eaton Herald for years, and also did some other journalistic work. He was also a pastor. I think he is retired now. Anyway, I am pretty sure that your Mom and Dad may know him. If they don't call my mom, she knows him well. He may have some contact information about opportunities in N. CO and S.WY I don't know if he can help or not, but I would think he might at least have some names for you.

Anonymous,  September 30, 2008 at 7:00 AM  

well,i know it seems tough now,but you are where you are supposed to be,and the lord will provide,but you may have to find a way to meet him halfway.like are you actively trying to sell your old house,or look on the internet for freelance jobs. he always provides an answer you just have to look for it.

Courtney September 30, 2008 at 7:30 AM  

I'm not much help on the employment side, but I highly recommend MoneySavingMom for help with the finances. They have a weekly household budget (for food and ALL other household items) of $40. $40! She has lots of great tips on work-at-home options as well as ways to save money. I've been doing Walgreens for a few months and am amazed that I actually used to pay for things like soap, shampoo, and other bathroom necessities. Now I get them all for free! :)

moneysavingmom.com

adoptedthree September 30, 2008 at 8:14 AM  

Oh goodness Tami if you had the remote option of even staying home a year- what a blessing!!!! BTW who says you can't do some part time work or even write from home :)

pearly1979 September 30, 2008 at 11:45 AM  

We use tracfones..... usually about $100 a year for 1000 minutes and service....totally fits the need for a cell phone for emergencies...without being the extravagence they can become.

http://www.tracfone.com/

Drew Michelle and Luke Paras September 30, 2008 at 1:18 PM  

I feel your pain, sista! We have gone from obese to anorexic in our budget and I am afraid before its all over we may be dead!!! This economy is killing us. Our home is for sale and if there aren't any mortgages nobody can buy it. I have been praying so often I am afraid the good man had tuned me out. For the first time in 13 years, I am looking for work. It is a great lesson I am being taught!

Good luck to you in your quest to find a job you can do at home.

Ashley September 30, 2008 at 3:35 PM  

Tammy, I will be praying for all of you. I know this is tough. I really hope you can find some freelance work. That would be awesome! I know all about the sacrifices. I am a stay at home mom and we FINALLY just got good health insurance when JC started working for Coca-Cola a year ago.

I really hope you can continue staying home. I know how important that is. God will give you the answer and I will intercede in prayer on your behalf as well. Big hugs to you!

Wishcrafter October 1, 2008 at 11:37 AM  

Try Guru.com. You can go the free route or the paid route, set up a profile, and go from there. Jenn H. got a permanent freelance job with a company she won several bids from. (I think she went the paid route). Worth a shot, anyway. They posted your old job at NPG. I had to send T an email saying it sounded like fun and I thought I'd be pretty good at it. He actually responded with, "But do you think you could learn DTI?" He didn't respond when I said I worked on DTI for more than a year before my unfortunate accident....
That being said, I'm sorry I missed the Expo. Heard it was a rousing success - congrats! kg

Christina October 1, 2008 at 2:56 PM  

Oh my goodness, we really are living parallel lives!! That's just a little freaky.
I'm thinking I need to do some serious research into the freelance thing because it's the only realistic way for me to make money right now.
We turned off our Tivo yesterday. :( Not all bad though - our machine has a "basic" tivo for free, it doesn't have "season pass" though, I have to program it like a VCR. I guess I can just think of it as "retro" or something.
Hope it works out for you to stay home somehow, it sounds like in non-financial ways it's very good for you and the family.

Brother John October 1, 2008 at 10:31 PM  

Oooh...I may have to do a whole post on my blog with different tips that I've found...
But you shouldn't beat yourself up if you do have to find a job. Sometimes the budget just won't squeeze another centimeter.

Ashley October 1, 2008 at 11:20 PM  

I just found this website that I am looking through at this very moment. There are a lot of jobs posted. Many of them are freelance work. Not sure if it is the kind you are looking for. Sending it your way in case there is anything that looks promising. :) Here is a link to some of the listings. I think they post new ones daily. http://www.wahm.com/jobs.html

nicwilson80 October 5, 2008 at 11:09 AM  

Don't know if you have realized, but there are a couple listings for bloggers on the website ashley posted. http://www.wahm.com/jobs.html

There is also a copy editing job. I know you hate it but you're good at it so why not right?

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