Here is a math lesson:
A parent makes 25,240 a year. (We’re not even going into taxes…so this number is already cushioned).
So, our starting point is 25,240.
But we have to pay rent for the year. Minus 8,220 for a two bedroom apartment.
Now we’re at 17,020 for the year.
Deduct 1,500 a year for Cable and Internet. This is probably a luxury to many people. Seeing as I use the internet for my writing and to stay connected to my family back home – I don’t regret it. The cable…yeah, we could probably do without that – I’ll be honest.
Now we’re looking at 15,520 for the year.
1,500 a year on Gas Utilities (that’s averaging for the entire year).
14,020 is our dwindling number.
Electric is a much kinder bill at 720 a year.
We’re at 13,300.
Renters insurance drops us down 180 bucks to 13120.
Childcare is a big one, taking us from 13,120 down to 9,520.
Gas for the car for the year – we’re guestimating here – is about 1,500.
Now we’re at 8,020.
Groceries/diapers…if you shop off brands and only buy what you need when you need it – 2,080 for the year.
We’re down to 5,940.
But we are still trying to pay off medical/school debts which is about 1,200 a year.
So that leaves us at 4,740.
Now, divided by 52 weeks…that’s about 91 dollars in pocket every week.
91 dollars covers emergencies, car issues, birthday celebrations, holidays, clothes, medicine, and anything else that just so happens to be needed in any given week.
Take into account that the starting amount INCLUDES child support (which we are very grateful for) and all expenses DO NOT include taxes (which we pay), car insurance and cell phone.
It’s a tight number. Very. And some days, I’m not sure if I can make it. Some days, I’m looking at my house wondering what exactly I can sell off to make sure we don’t hit a speed bump.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Today, I took my son to buy his birthday presents. I decided to stick with clothes because he needs them and because he did the toy thing just a few weeks ago for Christmas. In taking him shopping, I stopped into a local clothing store that most would define as “cheap.” Inexpensive, trendy clothes. I looked around, thinking how cute a top was and how adorable those jeans were and damn…they were only 18 bucks. I could afford that.
And then I thought about my 91 dollars for the week. I thought about my sons birthday. One pair of jeans for me is two shirts for him. One pair of shoes for me is an entire outfit for him. One entire outfit for me is a weeks worth of food for him. And so, I left the store, empty handed. I took my son to a clothing store and picked out several items to celebrate his big day.
I wish I could do more. But I’m doing what I can. I admit, sometimes I slip. I spend too much on take-out. I buy cigarettes when I know it’s just money leaking from my pocket. I buy books when I should be at the library. I put luxury in the place of necessity. I always regret it.
I’m sharing this because it’s hard. But – it is possible. I’m sharing this because I doubt myself so much on whether I’m going to make it and yet I have, for the past 10 months. I’m sharing this because I have a list of IOU’s to those people who have helped me, from a place of pure kindness. I’m sharing this because it is only through the daily support of those who love my son and I that we survive. I’m sharing this because without my son – these numbers would make me wave the white flag. I’m sharing this…for me. Because, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how much I panic, no matter how it feels like it’s all going to crumble at the drop of a hat…I’m still okay. We’re still okay.
With 91 bucks to our name.