I am an early tax filer. As soon as that last W-2 in hand, I'm on it. The promise of a tax refund always drives me to get it done as soon as humanly possible. With heating fuel that needs refilling, a dryer who's heating coils have official bitten the dust, and all of the other expenses that pile up, I just can't afford to wait.
This year, my taxes reflected the changes in my life, last year's marriage, the move to Maine, etc. All of these new numbers forced me to take a closed look at all of the numbers. The result was a whopping anxiety attack.
This year's taxes brought to light that 1/4 of my husband's and mine combined income went to rent. This only reinforced my drive to start working on buying a house. I felt as if all of that money had been flushed down the toilet.
Another startling realization was that more than 1/4 of our combined income was being spent on daycare. This number staggered me. In previous years, my daycare was always broken up with care provided by my family, not to mention the fact that my Vermont daycare was far cheaper. Running the numbers again, I wondered how this was possible, if there was a way to fix it. Was I seriously spending that much of our household income in order to spend time away from my beloved children?
My husband and I have tentatively brought up switching daycares in the past. However, that seems to be an impossible option. For starters, I love our current daycare. I feel confident in all of the care providers. I know that K will have a full day, packed with learning, and socializing with her friends (vital). G gets a great place to go before and after school, with teachers he trusts and friends he enjoys. The indoor pool allows them both to have swimming lessons twice a week, something both of my little fish adore. I know that center is safe- all rooms are monitored with cameras, and non-parental pick-ups must be parent approved, and then photo ID'd by the staff. With my level of paranoia, this is a key element.
Another key element is not wanting to disrupt my children's lives again. The move was hard on them both, and they are finally comfortable in their daily ebb and flow. To take them from a place where they feel safe and comfortable would break their hearts, and mine too.
So, we will suck up the expense. When the tax refund comes, we will invest it in all of the important things we can't afford the rest of the year. Who knows, maybe we'll even have enough left over for a family outing to McDonald's. :)