my last 2-cents. literally.

16 June 2008

I didn’t know it was possible to only have 99 cents in your bank account. The other day, I got an email from my bank warning me that my “account balance is below the specified amount.” It’s a service to remind clients that they’re broke, basically. So I opened the email and much to my chagrin, I found out I only have 99 cents in my bank account. Ninety-nine. Cents.  Really.  If I knew how to take a screen shot, I would’ve. And if it weren’t so darn sad, I would be laughing out loud.

Man, how did it come to this? Well actually, I know exactly why. No work = no money. I’m still on maternity leave after all, therefore I have no income. Unlike European countries whose governments subsidize parents on maternity and paternity leave, I don’t get paid. My short-term disability money ran out a long time ago and my job doesn’t pay me anything.  Therefore, my current situation.  And no I don’t have any major savings either.  What little I did have already went to paying off bills.  So it’s time to break open my piggy bank. Literally.

Well one may ask, “if you’re on leave, what kind of expenses do you really have?” Well there’s gas, car payments, credit card payments, blah, blah, blah.  So it’s not like I’m just frittering away cash. For the most part, I had no credit card balance when I left my job.  Yet charging coffee, lunch, and that cute baby outfit here and there surprisingly add up! I’m also paying for Li’l C’s upcoming baptism and charged a plane ticket which resulted in an all-new balance on my American Express. Egads.

I hate being unemployed and not contributing to the household income.  I mooch $20 off the hubs here and there to help me out with my Starbucks addiction and miscellaneous stuff, but I hate sponging off him.   I also sponge off my parents who generously offered to take over my car payments while I’m on leave (not to mention buy diapers and clothes for the kids). Sad huh? Here I am, on the verge of turning thirty-two years old and I have yet to financially support myself! I know, I know…I go on this rant every year.

I am determined to start anew once I go back to work though. From now on, I will really live well below my means. I am not going out (although with 2 kids now, how could I anyway?), I am not buying anything for me (not that I have since going on leave).  Absolutely no new books, clothes, shoes or anything for myself.  My only source of entertainment will be cable and the occasional movie. I won’t even go see bands!

It’ll be hard to return to work with two kids in daycare. First of all, I won’t have money to put them in daycare in order to go to work (so hello credit card!).  And when I do go back to work, I will not have any money left over for anything. It’ll be like I’m going to work strictly just to pay for childcare. How lovely. But I’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, I will tell my bank to stop sending me reminders that I have no money in my bank account.



  1. wow…that was brutally honest!!! i hear you though…i pretty much work to pay for daycare…and only shop for the kids…AND am also mooching off the parents!!! but i figure that this will only go on for at least 3 more years…until miles & julia go into public school!!! so hang in there…you’re not alone!!!

    Hey Karen! You and me both! Counting the days till they can go to public school! I’m glad to know that I’m not in the same boat, so thanks so much! It’s really tough to balance it all out in terms of costs. But I know being an SAHM is not for me at this point, and that Jakey is better off at daycare where he can play with others and learn and not be cooped up in a house with mom all day watching TV!

  2. same here — mooching off the parents for 6.5 years now (since I became an SAHM). believe me, if your parents are like mine, they would rather support us than have their grandchildren go off to daycare. still, i miss the financial independence like being able to buy frivolous things anytime. but i’m used to it now.

    Hey Chloe! Glad to know I”m not the only one mooching of the parents! LOL! My parents don’t have a problem with daycare since they see how much my son benefits from it, but they do help me out while I’m out of work. I’d love to stay home until Jakey starts kindergarten, but I like my job and his daycare so it’s best for me to go to work. Are you planning to go back to work?

  3. Girl, you know we’re on the same boat. It makes it even more challenging for us because we live with the ‘rents. Last night we went out for Father’s Day dinner and my parents wouldn’t take my money. They know I’m broke. 😦 Man I felt shitty for pocketing the $$ let me tell you but I have to buy books for the upcoming sem. I just bought 2 of the 3 required books and I’m out $115. So I here ya, and here you go ((HUGS)).

    Hey Tin! I know right! I can’t even take my dad out to dinner –boo! We lived with my in-laws for a while too while saving up to buy our house. It’s a precarious situation, but it’s great that we both have the family support that we need while trying to achieve our goals. What nursing school are you going too? You know I’m actually thinking about it as well? It seems like it’s a good career with great hours and great pay! So good luck to you!

  4. damn, i hear you man. i just sorted out our mail and got notice from the bank that our escrow payments will go up $140 bucks more per month (because of school taxes, and my kid’s not even born yet!), and here i am seriously contemplating staying home for a while after i give birth. haaay. 😦 i wanted to stay home temporarily so i won’t have to work my ass off to pay for childcare but at this point, i’m still on the fence about it.

    signs of the times, kat. good luck to us!

    Thanks Abs! Good luck to you too! The whole SAHM is such a big issue for women. And daycare also gets a bad rap. I really like my daycare; I could certainly find a much cheaper daycare center but I don’t want to, so I have to suck it up until at least J starts going to school! But I think if you can afford it, it’s really good to stay at home at least until school starts!

  5. ahhh… sorry to hear that, kat! i remember being on that boat a long ass time ago. i felt like such a loser back then. i still say you – and some of the commenters – are lucky to have parents that can support you when needed. with the hubs and i, our parents can’t really do that… we’re pretty much on our own which is why we don’t mind so much all the hours we spend working – i know i bitch about it when i really shouldn’t coz, hey, it pays the bills.

    so, when you’re on extended maternity leave, unemployment benefits do not kick in? hmmm… that blows big nuts. you would think that they’d give you a little bit, but i guess it’s really a choice between taking longer maternity leave versus going back to work right away. still, you’d think the government will help out a little bit.

    Well you’re one of my personal heroes Girlie because of the fact that you’ve made it in life –financially, emotionally, etc. I want to be like you –the kind of daughter that treats her parents to dinner and not the other way around. The kind of person who buys her own house, car, etc. For me, I’m still on the road to doing that and it’s taking one step at a time. My mistake was not getting into a more lucrative field. I’m the dumbass who picks public service as a career! LOL!

    As for maternity leave, like I said, our government sucks in that dept. At least with FMLA they allow you to take up to 6 months off and guarantee your job (mine will let me take off for even a year). I haven’t really tried to file for unemployment but I highly doubt you can get it because for one thing, I’m not unemployed –I’m just on leave. You should feel lucky that your work will pay you for a certain number of weeks!

    anyway, hang in there!

  6. thank you kat for taking us back to reality! you know most bloggers (including this person writing this comment) write only about fun stuff and readers would think that life is just perfect. i applaud you for your humility and honesty.

    Thanks Evi. When I was writing this I was wondering what people would think, but really I’m just being honest. And it helps to just vent too. I think we all worry about money at some point in time, but it’s such a taboo topic for some folks.

  7. hang in there kat. know what, i want to hug France just this very minute. well, i know that they have a lot of benefits here that’s why it always make me smile and just shake my head when they complain a lot, they just dont know the luck they’ve got. here, i’ve got 4 months maternity leave, paid of course, since i’ve got a higher salary than what social security could give me, the company will pay the difference.. promise, i will never complain about it.. oh, of course, some people still thinks that 4 months is too short!!!

  8. its going to be close to five years since i became unemployed, errr, a sahm and sometimes it really makes me feel sad and guilty and helpless that i don’t contribute financially to our family. pero like you said, its better that i stay home and take care of ninna than work just to pay for her daycare. ganyan na lang ako mag-justify ng aking useless existence, hehe.

    also, at least, you’re very lucky your parents are helping you out, kami we’re the ones who send help back home (alam mo na typical ofw story). but now, with the recession and everything, the belts just got even tighter. good luck na lang sa atin. 🙂

  9. its going to be close to five years since i became unemployed, errr, a sahm and sometimes it really makes me feel sad and guilty and helpless that i don’t contribute financially to our family. pero like you said, its better that i stay home and take care of ninna than work just to pay for her daycare. ganyan na lang ako mag-justify ng aking useless existence, hehe.

    also, at least, you’re very lucky your parents are helping you out, kami we’re the ones who send help back home (alam mo na typical ofw story). but now, with the recession and everything, the belts just got even tighter. good luck na lang sa atin. 🙂

    I don’t know how you do it though Meeya! Half of me wants to be an SAHM, but the other half wants to be a financial contributor to the family. That, and I like my job despite the meager salary. I don’t like the fact that when I work it’ll just go to daycare but I’m just waiting till the day that one of the kids starts school and the budget will change. Yes I’m lucky my parents are more than willing to help, but still! I want to be the one to treat them to dinners and vacations if I want to! Siguro one day na lang…

  10. damn i think everyone here feels your pain! Because I do! We’ve all been there and hell, we’re there quite often sometimes…..but good for you for budgeting and maybe buying a can of folgers instead of a cup of starbucks. You want to move to Europe together???

    Yes Ms. Lainey..let’s go live in France! Or Sweden! I have many tricks I do at Starbucks that I can probably write a whole post about! And yes, I also have a can of Folgers for everyday use too!

  11. I hear ya on the daycare. I checked out a preschool near our home. Man, even if I go back to work, I’d still have to earn a good chunk of money just to break even every month. I hate to say it but it’s cheaper for me to stay at home at this point in time.

    Well of course Trish, you have three kids after all! I think the 3rd kid is when you have to rethink the whole stay-at-home or work issue. I’m hoping the raise will kick in in Sept so things won’t be so tight. And then of course, I’m waiting until J starts school too so there’s one less on daycare!

  12. i don’t have kids but on some levels i totally feel your pain. the regrets are there, the could’ve beens, arrgh! frustrating ‘no! you’ll get there, sweetie. you have a good support system, that’s a major plus. take care!

    Hi Toni! Thanks for relating! As for me, I don’t really have regrets per se…except maybe wishing I had a more lucrative career!

  13. whatevs, kat. there are many other reasons why i’d rather be you some days. and, you’ve done a lot of things on your own – you’ve raised a good kid, keep a nice house that you own, keep a respectable job you love, and you’re awesome enough to deal with your friends’ bullshit.

    the last part is a big reason why i wanna be like you when i grow up.

    Thanks! But I too feel I haven’t even grown up yet! Let’s stay un-adults together!

  14. Kat, I should also say that the cost of that preschool near my house? That was for 2 kids, 2 days a week (ack!). But yeah, did you say some time way back when that were you looking for a new job to ease the bills?

    Trish, yes I know! Costs are crazy! When I was first looking daycares for Jakey, there was one for $400 a week! Egads! At least the one he goes to is much more manageable and I really like the staff. For now, I’m sticking with the job especially since I know Calla will be sick at some point and they are understanding about that. Not sure if a new job would be ideal since she’s so little. I’m hoping our annual raise will alleviate things a bit.

  15. I’m going to go to Oklahoma University. They actually do have a program here in San Diego. As in, it’s based here. They’ve partnered with Sharp Hospitals here in SD. And it’s an online coursework program. I’ll still have to do clinicals and labs on site but at least I can choose my hours with the rest.

    Kat, what about that job with your Dad’s immigration practice? I thought you were thinking about it?

    Tin, let me know how on-line education goes! I can definitely see you as a nurse! As for me, I decided to stick to my job for now since the hours are good and they are understanding if I have to leave/take off if the kids are sick. Working with my dad is still an option, but for later on maybe…

  16. i admire your honesty, kat. i dislike the part where i spend hubby’s money to buy myself stuff either.

    now that amelie’s close to turning 2, i’m contemplating on sending her to daycare for a few days a week. good thing here in sydney, our line of work gives opportunity for part time (like 2-3 days a week) kind of arrangement.

    i don’t want to work full time anymore, i just want to fill the need to work again. hugs to you, kat!

    Thanks for your support Tin! Lucky for you, you’re able to work part-time! I think that would be an ideal situation for a lot of working moms. And I do recommend daycare for socialization. A lot of people say negative things about it, but it’s worked out for us so far. Rockstar baby’s learned so much from it already and comes home with new words, projects, and stories about his friends everyday. Good luck to you too Tin! Hope you find an ideal part-time job!

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