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Back-to-School: The Hidden Financial Bonus For Parents

Providing for elementary-aged children's care during the summer is a messy, expensive business for which many people I know build complex spreadsheets of camps (with early sign-up deadlines and deposit fees and limit-seeking equations built in) and others beg grandparents to come in for the summer. Summer is not relaxing for the two-income family. It's an endless juggle of lunch-packing and sunscreen-stocking and transitions and lots and lots of driving.

Thank you, Federal government, for your public schools

While I was writing this post, I was half-listening to an NPR piece on why we might be thankful for government. One of the really obvious things government does for us: it educates our citizenry. Without this, we'd be in an even more disparate social structure than we are now, with only the wealthy able to educate their children. Worst of all, the lower classes wouldn't even be able to afford child care to work. Whatever are your feelings about “entitlements” like education, many families would be single-income by necessity if public schools weren't in the picture.

We're getting a big gift from the government; not only are they teaching our children in a way that will hopefully increase their earning power down the road, they're also relieving us from what would be crippling (and, in most cases, mom's-career-ending) child care costs.

Using the windfall wisely

I'll be using my “windfall” of time to focus more on my writing, setting daily goals for the book project I think I can sell most easily, and working to increase the public image of the magazine so that our income will be enough to pay salaries for myself and the other editors. The money I'll save won't be enough to do anything other than pay a bit of debt; my big impact is just on alone time, and I'll cherish it.

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