My Mother Never Left The House. It’s Not The Same For You.

Mom was prisoner in a tiny one-bedroom apartment.

She rarely left the house. She was afraid of the world. We were on welfare. It embarrassed the hell out of me.

I was sent out to buy the stuff we needed to survive in the 1970’s.

Tampons, beer, vodka.

tampons and beer

I’m sure I was sent out for food. All I remember was the embarrassment of waiting in a grocery line holding tampons and Old Milwaukee. Trying not to make eye contact.

Back then, when I was ten, the owners of the small stores knew us so I was given permission to purchase items that stole my childhood and emasculated me for a decade. I believe my mother granted “favors” to some of the shop owners based on the looks she got when we entered but I don’t have proof.

Mr. Mangini allowed me to pay for alcohol with food stamps.

Like he was doing me a big favor.

Moms today can’t afford to stay home. They don’t send their kids to liquor stores to stock up either. Well, some do. I know them.

Most don’t.

Childcare expenses can motivate people to drink.

Several facts about child care expenses will shock you; the costs weigh heavy on American households.

Child care is a major expense in family budgets, often exceeding the costs of housing, food and even college tuition.

For middle-class families, the cost of center-based child care is 15-30% of gross income. For a family of three living at the poverty level, annual center-based child care costs can take up nearly half of family income. The average cost of center-based daycare in the U.S. is $11,666 annually (or $972 a month), according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.

No wonder couples are waiting to have children.

bratty kid

The U.S. birth rate reached an all-time low in 2013 according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control.

Although the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression is considered history, for the majority of Americans the financial strain of underemployment, sub-par wage growth and over indebtedness remains a part of daily life.

Unfortunately, most of the burden of child-care costs fall on the family. There’s little public assistance available and the benefits are fragmented.

So what to do?

Random Thoughts:

Get a handle on offsite child-care costs for your household at least two years before having a child. The Child Care Aware Calculator allows families to examine their financial situation both with and without the cost of child care. Factors such as cost of child care, work related expenses, monthly bills, and savings or retirement contributions are all included in the calculator.

Families will be able to get an idea of their monthly budget and how child care will impact that budget.

Bolster savings, cut expenses. I’m not saying it’s easy, but if you need to come up with another $300-$500 a month for offsite child care, mind the gap early and investigate methods to save more cash now. Meet with a certified financial professional who can help you devise a strategy.

Investigate work-related benefits as soon as possible. For example, a Dependent Care FSA lets you use pretax dollars to pay for eligible expenses related to care for your child, disabled spouse, elderly parent, or other dependent who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care, so you can work, or if you’re married, for your spouse to work, look for work or attend school full time. It’s time to do homework and contact your employer’s human resource department to understand benefits available.
The annual dollar limit on employee contributions to employer-sponsored health care FSAs is $2,550 in 2015.

The annual limit for dependent care FSAs or dependent care assistance plans (DCAPs) remains at $5,000 for qualifying individuals and those who are married and file a joint return, and will remain at $2,500 for those who are married and file separate returns.

Maximize available tax credits. If your employer doesn’t offer a flexible spending account, you can take full advantage of the child care tax credit. This credit allows you to itemize up to $3,000 in expenses per child per year, up to a $6,000 annual cap per family.

Once you’ve itemized the expenses, you can take a percentage of that and apply the tax credit.

You can use an FSA and a tax credit, however, any FSA money is applied to the tax credit cap first. If you withdraw $5,000 from an FSA, you can then itemize only $1,000 for the child care tax credit.

The percentage of expenses a family can claim steadily decreases as income rises, until families with AGI of $43,000 or more reach the minimum claim rate of 20 percent, qualifying for a maximum potential credit of $1,200. The credit is worth between 20 percent and 35 percent of child care expenses, depending on your family’s income. Meet with a tax professional early on to determine if tax credit are available to you.

Explore whether it’s beneficial for one party to remain at home. Crunch numbers using the Stay-At-Home Calculator available at www.parents.com.

After considering monthly incomes, expenses, childcare expenses, monthly work expenses and other annual expenses including federal income taxes paid, perhaps it’s a financially good idea for one party to remain at home instead of paying for professional child care. You may be surprised.

There’s no doubt child-care costs, which increase at 7% a year are a financial burden.

Research suggests investing in child care is good for the economy. Children are an investment in the future prosperity of a country. Studies show that increased access to quality, affordable child care raises employee morale and company loyalty, and can even save businesses as much as $3 billion a year, according to Child Care Aware.

Forget having kids. Why bother? It’s expensive. They won’t take care of you when you get old.

They’ll live with you until they’re 35.

People who possess zero parental instinct no longer feel pressured to have children.

Thank god.

Please don’t feel obligated.

I think my mother did and turned me into a tampon delivery service.

Never send boys for feminine hygiene products.

It can damage them for life.

boys buying kotex

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