After my divorce in the early 1990’s I made the decision to move from the inner city of Cleveland to a sleepy suburb two cities away. At first glance the higher rent seemed untouchable but turned out to be less overall. Here were some of the invisible costs that I uncovered. You may find similar rationale to any seemingly unreachable goal on your list…
The car insurance costs for suburbs are usually less than inner city and in my case, the suburb was closer to my employer’s location which saved over $20 a month in gasoline. The city income taxes in “the Heights” were slightly less. The apartment I chose in the suburbs were all-electric so there was no need for a gas bill which was quite a bit during the Ohio winters in an apartment not as well insulated. As a high security building there was no need for an alarm monitoring system. When I added those perks together the higher rent of the suburbs and the priceless peace and quiet sealed the deal in overall reducing my housing costs.
Another example of invisible costs was uncovered after three years of working a part-time job at the corner of Happy and Healthy around ten or twelve years ago. While the increase from $8 to $10 per hour appeared to offer a nice budget boosting income for sixteen to twenty hours a week (and an employee discount) the hidden costs zapped into the income’s bottom line impact on my budget when I considered the income taxes off the top and then again at year end after adding the W2 form to my full time job’s income. With every shift requiring a few bucks for gasoline and the on-the-go meals and beverages, the store’s collections and potlucks, and that employee discount often justified buying things that I didn’t really need. The job itself took away time that could have been better used with menu planning and comparison shopping. What about the many “too tired to cook” nights? Aha… invisible costs.
I went through a divorce back in 1997 and the best thing my lawyer did for me was to make my ex pay for my children’s health insurance. As a single parent getting $107 a month for two children saving the cost of their health insurance was a huge help both financially and mentally. So my advice to anyone going through a divorce with children remember the premiums for healthcare go up and up.
I am going through a separation now. In trying to ensure my children are taken care of, it is difficult to add the cost of the hidden things involved. I’m trying to keep the house hold up for my wife and children while also trying keep living myself. Being debt free would be a blessing right now but unfortunately I’m not. The mental drain is tough and I have to step back to keep from impulse buying at the grocery store and also remake a budget to keep the necessities at hand such as shelter and food. All else is a distant 2nd. The kids well-being is the foremost important item on my list. Prayers are always appreciated.
There is an organization called Retrouvaille (ReDiscovery) Searching for this name also goes to www.helpourmarriage.org (same non profit organization). My wife and I went on this program (a weekend in a hotel) and a follow up of 8 meetings. Its really a great program and they don’t speak to you about your problems . Three couples share their stories in areas of marriage, you just sit and listen and then do a method of non threatening communication about the topic. We were a hopeless case, had more than 1 separation - on this weekend I realized that I did not know how to be married, and learned what it took to have a good relationship. I realized my wife was in grade 9 and I was at grade 3. It was an eye opening and learning experience. Its available in 48 states if not all 50 and in 27 countries. Hope it helps you, please spread the word. Too many marriages are falling by the wayside and quite unnecessarily.