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This month is my first month as a part time working mum. After my maternity leave ended I decided to that going back full time (like I did after I had my first) was just not going to work for me this time. Therefore I did was I always do in these situations and crunched the numbers. The result was that with both my husband and I working part time we would only be about £100 per month worse off than with just me working full time. I was more than happy with that. Thus, I became part time teacher and part time stay at home mum.
Although, I had scrutinised our income, making sure that I knew exactly how much we had coming in. I had neglected to look as carefully at our outgoings. Not only that but I hadn’t looked at the other opportunities that would open up to us when both working part time.
I went down to a 40% role. However, my take home pay is 55% of my full time income. This is thanks to paying less tax and making lower pensions contributions (don’t worry, there’s a plan for this). Essentially this means that by working less I get to keep more of my money.
I only work two days a week. Consequently I only have to travel to work twice now. For us, this meant that we could get by with only needing one car rather than two. So that’s what we did. This is on top of the savings on fuel and car maintenance with only 40% of the costs there.
Our childcare costs are ZERO! We have never paid for childcare and don’t ever intend to. This is not because we are privileged to be surrounded by helpful family. In reality, it is the opposite. We made the decision early on that we would keep our kids at home until they were at least three. With both of us working part time we are able to have our kids at home with either one of us at any time.
Now that I only work two days a week I need far fewer work clothes. These are typically more expensive than my normal clothes as they need to look smart and professional. I have about three outfits now on a rotation which is significantly less than the 7/8 I had before.
With at least one of us at home all the time it means that we are available to do things around the house more and are far less reliant on convenience products. For example, we can cook fresh meals from scratch every day. We can also do lots of little DIY jobs that we would otherwise have had to pay someone else to do.
Being at home more means that we have more freedom to chase other money sources. We have the time to get our side hustle on and bring more money into the house that way. I am now able to spend more time on my blog as well do some tutoring too.
It is not just financially that we are better off too. It seems that we all benefit when we work less.
Although we only get one day together as a family each week, our children do get to spend every day with at least one of their parents. Plus when I am on school holidays we get even more days together.
I found being away from eldest really hard when I returned from my maternity leave full time. That’s why I knew that I couldn’t do it again when I went back after my youngest. I find that I am much less stressed and more able to cope with the busyness of life when I am not at work as much.
Whether I’m at work being a teacher or at home being mummy, I feel that I am able to fully commit to each role rather than having one creeping into the other. With only a couple of days out of the house I know that I am going to have time to do all the things that need doing at home during the rest of the week. This means that I am able to focus on teaching and doing the best I can whilst I am there.
When I was working fully time, I felt that there were a million and one things that I wanted to do or achieve but that there was never enough time to do any of them. Now I work less, it feels as though I am able to nurture other interests in my life. Again this makes me healthier and happier and improves things for the whole family.
If you are then I would urge you to look at the whole picture. Yes, it might lead to a drop in income but likely it will lead to a drop in outgoings too. And what about all the other things you will be able to do? Maybe you could start that business that you’ve been thinking about. Or perhaps you could start studying part time too. Or maybe you’ll be able to spend some real quality time with your family. Whatever it is make sure it factors into your calculations. It may be the best thing you ever do!
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.
Looking After Your Pennies is an eco-friendly personal finance blog written and managed by Charlotte Jessop.
I write on a variety of topics including frugal lifestyle, eco-friendly living, money making ideas and generally how to make your money go further.