I’m 33, I Make $48.4k & Childcare Costs More Than My Mortgage

I’m 33, I Make $48.4k & Childcare Costs More Than My Mortgage

Occupation: Project director
Industry: Non-profit
Age: 33
Location: Indiana
My Salary: $48,500 (I’m hourly, and I took home $37,000 last year, but my projection for this year is closer to $48,500. My husband’s salary is ~$63,000. We own our home together and have a joint checking account that we use for a few expenses, but I submitted a single-income diary because we keep most of our expenses separate.)
Net Worth: $58,200 ($300 in regular savings; $900 in an HYSA; ~$34,000 in retirement; ~$90,000 for half of my home value; minus debt)
Debt: $67,000 ($5,000 in credit card debt; $17,000 for an auto loan; $45,000 in medical debt)
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $1,600 (This for full-time hours. The amount can vary depending on my hours.)
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $863 (for the whole mortgage)
Car Loan: $499
Childcare: $1,200 (for my two kids, S. and R.)
Phone: $25 (I pay this to my parents — yay family plan!)
Energy & Gas: $30–120
Electricity: $84–190
Trash: $23 (my half, paid out of our joint account)
Water: $27.50 (my half, paid out of our joint account)
Health, Dental & Eye Insurance: $0 ($794 comes out of my husband’s paycheck)
Car Insurance: $73 (my half, paid out of our joint account)
Netflix: $10
Disney+: $10
Chewy: $50 (every six weeks)

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes. Both of my parents were the first in their families to earn degrees, and they also earned master’s degrees in their respective fields. My mother worked at a college before she had kids and then again once my youngest brother was in elementary school. After my freshman year, I transferred to the university my mom works at, and my tuition was paid due to her employment. However, I still took out loans for housing for three years, then lived at home for my senior year to save money.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
I cannot recall any specific conversations, but I remember being taken to the bank at a young age to set up a savings account. We got toy dinosaurs for making deposits — as a kid, who could ask for a better incentive? I also remember participating in a club that ran a mock stock market while I was homeschooled in elementary school, although I remember almost nothing from it. I learned more through watching my parents manage their money from afar.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started babysitting at the age of 12 and became a certified babysitter by the time I was 14. My first tax-paying job was at a local T-shirt shop in town when I was a senior in high school. I got that job because I had dropped out of all my extra-curricular activities during senior year, and my parents said I had to do something. I loved the job and ended up working there for several summers.

Did you worry about money growing up?
We were comfortably middle class, and if there were family money struggles, I did not know about them. Now, I have a general idea of what my dad made when I was younger. I know as he climbed through a few companies, he was able to leverage his skills for higher pay. My mother stayed home with us kids after my first brother was born and she homeschooled us (I went to school in sixth grade). We were blessed enough to have more than we needed on my dad’s salary alone during those times.

Do you worry about money now?
Constantly. I have anxiety and a lot of it manifests around money. I have always been thrifty and am a big planner — I keep a spreadsheet for each and every paycheck to track expected expenditures. I also like to control most of those expenditures and have only recently put our utilities on autopay. And, with a new kiddo, my anxiety about our financial situation has stayed high. I’ve talked to my therapist about my need for control and have taken steps to share more info with my husband about our family bills, so he’s not caught in the dark if something happened to me.  

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I moved out on my own and handled all of my own bills by age 23, but was on my parents’ insurance until I was 26. Our financial safety net is our parents, especially right now since maternity leave pretty much drained our savings. Thankfully, the three sets of parents we have are more than willing to step in and help us.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes. My parents paid for our wedding, and they typically give us around $1,500 for Christmas each year. We get varying amounts of cash from my husband’s parents for holidays and birthdays. We ran into a huge plumbing issue at the beginning of 2023 and received loans from our parents to help us pay off the work (the plumber wouldn’t do payment plans). My parents forgave their loan immediately, and my husband paid his parents back and traded some heavy yard work for his mom to pay her back. My parents also gifted me around $1,400 to help keep my head from popping off as I wait out the horribly slow process that has been my short-term disability claim. I asked for a loan, but my parents would not let me think of paying them back.

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