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Emotions, Just My Thoughts

How Much Was I Worth in the 1990’s

Well, y’all the yard sale is over.  Sure did not get rich this time.  Some of the stuff I had left my daughter just haul off to goodw—l.  When we lived in North Carolina I donated my stuff to a center that taught skills to people who may not have been able to work in the normal work fields.  They learned to repair clothing and small electronics and were always supervised.  Then the items that were donated were given away, not sold!  I can not find a place like that in this area of Georgia.  That saddens me, because when I donate my items I feel like they should not be sold.

The weather men had promised us a day close to 77°.  When we ventured outside it was a bit chilly, maybe in the high 50’s.  We never reached that 77°.  Alas, the neighborhood had a rule that we were not supposed to open for ‘business’ until 8.  So, we head out at a little over 7.  Can I say, “mistake?”  There were cars combing the ‘hood.’  As soon as we tried to open boxes and set stuff out there were men going thru them.  It’s funny, all the yard sales I would have in NC, if you were not set up by 7 you were considered lazy.  But I spent a rather relaxing day altogether.  No personal stress to have to deal with.

Now that I have come home I can tell tomorrow will not be a fun day.  I refused to unload my car today and it may not get unloaded until Monday.  I have two canisters of propane in the back so that will get out, but the rest can just stay put.

I realized today how much my body appreciates the clean eating.  I ate one corn chip, one regular hot dog, and ketchup.  By 30 minutes my loving gut was threatening to give it all back.  No, I did not eat a bun with the hot dog; it had nitrates in it.  But heck, I did not have to cook lunch, and I was a guest.  The daughter’s fiancé  babysat the dog and keep her quiet while we sat  in the yard.  This dog is protective and a little bratty.  Gotta love her though, when you step into the house and she likes you, you get her special hug.  She ‘hugs’ by going between your legs and will do it several times.  With me, she pays attention to my hands to make sure I have nothing in them before she ‘hugs’ me.  She did it once when she learned to do it,  and it caused me a stumble in which I was not able to catch myself.  I almost went down on her.  It does not take this dog long to learn who needs special attention.  But if you are meeting her for the first time, do not even talk to her.  She is the princess and will ignore you or growl at you.  She watches you until she decides you are worthy of her attention.

When I got home I opened my fridge, not a thing in there I can eat.  I am hoping I can stand to get into a grocery store tomorrow.  I needed to go last week, but I was home alone.  I will not attempt the grocery by myself unless someone is home and can come rescue me if I need it.


Well, I did not make it to the store.  Personal reasons full of stress.  So, I went on my f-b private page and looked around for a while.  Something that caught my attention was from a few years back in the ‘memories’ area.  I had seen a post on a gentleman; where he talked about his wife staying home.  He went on to ‘value’ her stay home and what it would cost him for him to pay for her duties in the home.  So, I started thinking  of all those moms who are being pressured into providing for the family.  That made me think and wonder if when I worked full time, was it wise of me to do that?

I hope you can follow my chain of thought.  I hope you take the time to figure out what working is costing your family.  Maybe those hours away give you a few bucks, even some type of fulfillment.  But from looking at my history, it cost me too much.

Here is what I came up with:

Let us start with the house-work.  When I stayed home it was all my responsibility.  So, I got up each day and did not stop the chores until going to bed.  But for the argument’s sake let us say we spend 6 hours a day for 5 days a week.  (30 hours) At the time my children were being raised, the average, in the area we lived, was $40 an hour.  That was for just vacuum and dust.  [No toilets, nor dishes, and absolutely no laundry.]   That $40 did not include moving the what-knots off the furniture to dust.  And don’t expect the furniture to be moved to get those dust bunnies that like to hide under things and absolutely no base boards were cleaned for $40.  Therefore, my 6 hours/5 days  at $40 an hour comes to $1200 a week.  Since everyone should get two weeks off I will multiply that by 50 weeks.  To be replaced and do what I did for the house work it would cost $60,000 for a year.  If that is not an eye opener than I don’t know what else to call it.

For my house-work chores I will be nice and include the laundry.  Isn’t that sweet of me?  Also, the toilets and windows, sweeping porches,  just making the home pleasant.

Now let us go to the duties of chef.  Since at my home the husband never helped, unless he just warmed himself up something before I got home from my hour’s drive after work.  I will count the meals as one adult and two children.  And to make things simple, I will cost it out as a catered meal for three that I could have delivered during the time in the 1990’s.  In our area, there were three companies that would cook a meal and bring it to your home.  You could get one delivered to the home, as a full course, for between $30 and $40.  Yes, there were times I thought about it, just to not have to cook something.  We ate at home, 6 days, at least,  each week.  I was responsible for the breakfast for the children and myself.  But to make things easy I will say that was a house-chore.  But the dinners should be based on a chef’s cost, i.e., catering/delivery.  Think, 6 meals a week at $35 is $210 a week.  Multiply that by the 50 weeks per year we have $10,500.

Gosh, my worth has jumped from $60,000 to $70,500.

Now, we have to consider that if your gentleman did not have a wife for convenience, he would be out seeking it and more than likely paying for it.  So, I have no clue how much that cost today, but a lady I worked with did it on the side, in the 1990s.  She said she got a $100 for each ‘pop,’ as she called it.  So, let say an average of 3 times a week, that is $300 a week for that service, then for the year that is $15,000.

Wow, women we were worth $85,500, in the 1990’s.

Now, if you are working and you make $40,000 a year, good for you.  But, now from that $40,000 take out the cost of daycare.  With daycare do not forget the cost of any extras it might cost; i.e. diapers, extra clothing, transportation to the center and the time you spent to get there.  Also try to get a figure for all those ‘firsts’ that you are missing.  There is also cost of trust that your child will have with you, and all the tears that they needed to share with you that they could not.  If we take the figure of the daycare I used in the 1990’s;  it was $125 for the first child.  Then when the second child came I was paying $65 a week for her.  My total child care for the both was $190 a week, that was $9880 a year.  You paid even if the child was on vacation.

So, now take that $40,000 and subtract the $9880.  Your income just dropped to $30,120.  Now, we are not finished.  Let us talk about lunches at work.  Let us say you are a frugal gal and only eat out three times a week, the other two days are left overs for your lunch.  Well, at the time I worked I could get by with $6.00 for my lunches out.  So, I spent $18 a week on my lunches, times the 50 weeks; I reduced my income by another $900.  My income is now at $29,220.

Now how much did I spend on gas?  Let’s see, just driving straight to work or making a trip from home to daycare to work.  I know I was filling my gas tank once a week.  And that was a compact car.  I spent around $12 a week back then, lardy now that is maybe $30 to $40 a week.  So, just to be modest and to make it seem like you were bringing home a paycheck,  our $40,000 is now reduced another $600.  Today that would be $1200 plus.  So, the last math we did was at $29.220, but now it is looks like $28,620.

I had a semi-professional job, so I was expected to dress.  My clothing costs me $1000 a year.  Also, I had to pay parking myself.  That was $40 a week.  The parking fee was paid for the whole year (52 weeks) so I spent $2080 a year.  There went about $3080 just to show up at work.  Now that $40,000 has become $25,540.

Those are a few of the financial costs of working.  Remember those were the cost in the 1990’s.  So, if I were lucky and were paid the imaginary income of $40,000, [notice no taxes]  I would have brought home the $25,540.  Looks great right!  But my reality was: I was making under $20,000!   I think my last full-time job was a yearly salary of $18,500.

Let’s recap.  In 1990’s my costs were:

    • Childcare      $ 9,880
    • Lunch           $    900
    • Gas               $    600
    • Clothing       $  1,000
    • Parking         $ 2,080
    • Total costs:  $14,460

Since I am too lazy to see what the tax bracket we fell in, but I am sure it was well over 20% for all those things that they took out.  [Insurance included]  We will use the 20% and say at $18,500 my bring home was around $14800.  Wow, how smart is it to work for just $340 a year?

Now, I will admit that I was stupid for a few years.  I caused myself depression, stress, and made my children’s life miserable just for those ## $340!  Also, I caused our family to have a higher tax bracket during those years.  I did quit for a few years due to the stress and health.

When the kids both hit Kindergarten, I went to work part time.  I made $10 an hour for 20 hours a week, sometimes I worked 27 hours.  I never was able to work 30 hours.  Since the company would not carry insurance on me they gave me the threat of firing if I worked over 27 hours.  Now what did that small amount of income allow us to do?  Well, we put the kids in sports, scouts, and dance.  The summers were the worst for me, personally, because I had to put the kids in daycare.  My pre-tax $200 a week was reduced by $125 for child care and I have no idea how much the lunches cost me.  The closest and best daycare was also the worst.  They were very strict and the things I found out later about that place makes this mom sick at her stomach.  If you choose to be a mom, then choose to be a mom first and foremost.  That means, take care of your family first and your health.  Let no one talk you into working.  If you need to qualify yourself with the monetary figures then do it.


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