The Costs of Working


Money. It’s a hot button, hot topic, source of stress, source of motivation, something we need to have. How does money fit into your need or motivation to work? How have the costs of working factored into your decisions around how much or how little to work or whether or not to work in a paid position? 


Not Having an Income is Tough

I don’t have an income right now because I don’t have a job right now. I have a teaching position at one of our local universities coming up in January but I didn’t get any classes for fall semester. Emotionally, when I found this out, I felt really sorry for myself. I had positive reviews from the other classes that I had taught and I had worked incredibly hard to do the best job that I could. It was deflating to know that it wasn’t enough or I just wasn’t the right person or I just didn’t have the skill set or experience for the fall courses that they were looking for. Rejection is not an easy pill to swallow. Financially, this meant me not contributing to our family’s budget. Yes – I could apply for other jobs – but finding a job that is 4 months in duration, part-time, and allows me to get kids to 4 PM hockey practices is a challenge! Applying for a different job and giving up the university job could also be an option but… I love the job. It brings in a decent income. It fits our family life and our juggle. It fills my soul. It allows me to be a part of a passion area of mine which is supporting and mentoring soon to be teachers.


When I Make Money…It Helps

My husband is amazing. He has not once made me feel badly about not working right now. He has not once made me feel guilty for not contributing financially. However, September is a particularly expensive month with school fees and extracurricular activities starting up. Our kids keep growing in both size and appetite. We already have the Costco Executive membership! I know that me working takes the financial pressure off of our family. It gives us some breathing room. Don’t get me wrong – I am always approaching things from a deal seeking and money-saving perspective. We think about our purchases (especially the big ones). We value experiences more than things. At the end of the day,  though, it helps to have more money than less.


Does Our Family Actually Come Out Ahead When I Work Part-Time?

One of the first jobs that I had after our third child was born was teaching a high school upgrading science class to adults two evenings a week. In my past life, I was a high school science teacher! 🙂 I didn’t make much doing this job but it was something for me, I was earning some money, and I was out in the world (hopefully) making a difference for my students. My husband one day noted that me working the little I bit I was meant that he could no longer claim my spouse dependent credit on his income taxes. In essence, my income totalled what would have been his tax savings with me not working so in fact, I was actually “volunteering” at my job…


Part-Time Income Insight From Our Accountant

I love my husband deeply and he is an amazing principal but he is not an accountant so I recently decided to consult an expert! I asked our incredible tax accountant about whether it is actually financially worth it for me to work part-time. Obviously, there are many other reasons for working but MONEY is a biggie.

  • If I am working part-time, tax credits are not in fact lost. They just would transfer from my husband to me.
  • Me working means that I create more RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) room. This is a financial positive.
  • The financial benefit comes down to the amount of income I make MINUS the costs of working.
    • Potential “costs” of working include: child care, gas, take out meals, and work clothing
  • Our accountant also pointed out the non-monetary potential costs of working including reduced time with our kiddos and as a family and less time for exercise and personal wellness (This BIG picture approach is one of the many reasons we find our accountant so fantastic!)


The Verdict: My Part-Time Work Is a Financial Plus For Our Family!

In essence, me working part-time does help our family financially and me working part-time (versus full-time) helps us manage the non-monetary costs in a way that works best for our family’s juggle. I am appreciative of having a financial expert to touch base with as we make our financial plans. Now – if I could just feel less guilty about not having a job right now – because the guilt is only coming from me – that would be a win!

The financial jungle is a wild one, but in the midst of the chaos I am going to try to keep my eyes on the big picture, the opportunities, and the adventures ahead!


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