How much does child care cost?

Girl Ninja and I just got back from a glorious 10 day San Diego / Palm Desert vacation. I ate many a California Burritos (9 total), Baby Ninja ate a gratuitous amount of sand at the beach, and Girl Ninja consumed her body weight in Starbucks. We spent time with old friends, visited our Alma Mater’s campus, and reminisced on all the memories Girl Ninja and I have from our time living there.

While Girl Ninja and I made the 2.5 hour car trip from San Diego to Palm Desert we talked about a whole slew of things, one of which was her role as a stay at home mom.

We’re fortunate to be in a position where Girl Ninja can stay at home with Baby Ninja full-time and even more-so because my job allows me to spend about half of my work day at home (I’m out in the field the other half). Baby Ninja is kind of growing up with two stay-at-home parents.

Leaving teaching was hard for Girl Ninja. She loved her job and loved the school she worked at. About twice a month, Girl Ninja’s mom will babysit and GN will take a substitute job at a local school. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

  • Girl Ninja’s mom gets quality time with her grandson.
  • Girl Ninja gets to relieve herself of her motherly duties for a day
  • She still gets to dabble in the profession that she loves
  • She makes $150 each day she subs.
  • The school she teaches at gets a Substitute that legitimately loves teaching.

Next fall year, Baby Ninja will be 15 months old. Which also means he will be significantly less dependent on “mom”. If GN isn’t pregnant by summer (we aren’t trying, but we’re not preventing… was that too much information?), we started toying with the idea of her working more consistently next school year.

I doubt that would mean her taking a full-time teaching position, but she could start subbing two to four days per week instead of once every two weeks like she has been. If she substitute taught three days per week next school year, she would make $16,200 in additional income for our family. It’s nowhere near the $45,000 she would make if she took a full-time job, but every little bit helps.

The only problem with this idea is we have no clue how much child care costs. Sure Girl Ninja might make $16,000 more next year, but if it costs us $10,000 to put Baby Ninja in to child care during the school year is it really worth it?

No way. 

From what I’ve learned from friends is it seems full-time childcare runs about $1,200-ish per month. If we used child care three days per week, I’m guesstimating it would cost about $600 to $800 per month. She would be earning about $2,000/mo subbing at this rate.

The way I see it there are two ways to look at this…

Extra money is extra money

Sweet! We net a little over $1,000/mo in additional income. This could be used to further advance our taxable investment account. Perhaps open a college savings plan for Baby Ninja. Or allow us the freedom to spend a little more frivolously (meaning travel a bit more, or do some work on the house. not meaning buy a new tv just for the sake of buying a new tv). It would be a welcome addition in deed.

Extra money is extra money, but at what cost

Sure we would bring home $1,000 a month more than we do now, but Girl Ninja would also be away from Baby Ninja much more than she is now. Is $1,000 really worth missing out on some significant milestones or entrusting a large chunk of our child’s development to a stranger? I’m not too sure.

I guess what I’m really getting at is I would love to hear from a few of you who have dealt with a similar decision.

  • Did you pay for childcare (if so, how often and how much)?
  • Did you forfeit an income so one parent could stay at home (if so how much did you give up)?
  • How does one have their cake and eat it too (get to be with their child while make a ton of money) 🙂 ?

Did I die?

In the five-year history of Punch Debt In The Face, I have never taken a two-week hiatus from blogging. I think a handful of my readers were legitimately concerned for my health, fearing that I was dead.

Unfortunately for you all, I’m not dead.

And neither is Punch Debt In The Face.

As many of you have guessed, I’ve spent the last two months attempting to be a not-sucky dad. For the most part, I’d say I’m pretty much kicking butt at #dadlife.

But every time I let myself think I’ve got everything figured out, I’m reminded I don’t.

Like the time I let my son pee in to his own mouth while I was getting him a new diaper.

Note to future parents of boys: always have a clean diaper immediately accessible prior to removing soiled diaper. Little dudes can easily pee five+ feet.

We are finally settling in to a groove and I expect that over the next few weeks, posts around here will start trickling in every couple of days. I have some fun things to write about, including but not limited to…

My new hobby flipping scooters on Craigslist

What life is like going from dual income to one income

Why we decided to sell my sexy Scion tC and take a stab at being a one car family


A kitchen makeover reveal post (featuring our new quartz counters and subway tile backsplash)

It’s been busy around here, hence the lack of posting, but I’m looking forward to getting back in to the habit of neglecting my wife from 9pm to 10pm so I can sit down and write a blog post for a bunch of strangers.

Any of those four blog post ideas above tickle your fancy? Or is there anything specifically you’d like to see me write about? I’m always looking for insight so drop me a comment and let me know.

And before you go, check out how cute my kid is…

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Do your work benefits rock?

With the arrival of Baby Ninja in the rear view mirror, Girl Ninja and I are starting to receive a hefty amount of mail from my insurance company. All the hospital visits, the labor and delivery, the lactation consultations, the pediatric appointments, and medications; are looking for their cut of pie. Every time I check the mail a little part of me dies inside.

I think to myself, “Ah crap, how much is Baby Ninja gonna cost us.”

The answer…

Ten dollars. 

Yup, just ten George Washington’s is all it took to bring Baby Ninja in to this world.

Your income is more than just your income.

While I may never earn a six figure salary in my government job, sometimes I have to remind myself that my total compensation package is MORE than just the salary I receive.

Like having access to great health insurance. While many of my friends have had to shell out thousands of dollars in medical costs for their labor and delivery, Girl Ninja and I have been able to rest easy the last nine months knowing that $10 was all we would have to pay.

Why $10 you ask?

Well, when Girl Ninja found out she was pregnant back in October she scheduled a maternity appointment with her OB/GYN. That first appointment had a $10 co-pay. Every other appointment since then has been 100% covered by my health insurance. No copays or out-of-pockets for anything.

Do you know how awesome it was to see a $4,000 medical bill indicate my financial obligation was $0.00?!

It felt like this..

Today I’m not only thankful for having a sweet job, but benefits that rock my world. 

Do you have any sweet work benefits? I know the tech industry is infamous for crazy perks.

Oh and here are a few more shots of Baby Ninja now that he doesn’t look quite so weird…

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Turn your audio up 😉

An open letter to my fetus.

Barring an unexpected tragedy, this is the last week of my life as a non-dad. Girl Ninja’s due date is this Wednesday, but if little dude decides to camp out a bit longer, she’ll be induced eight days from now. Inspired by one of my friends who did the same thing, I’ve decided to write a letter to my unborn son.

Dear Fetus,

Your mom and I are so excited to meet you. Every night before we go to bed I tell your mom that I’ll see her when she wakes me up to tell me it’s time to go to the hospital. Unfortunately, no such thing has happened. Before you make your grand entrance I thought there were a few things you should know.

1. Your mom is a great woman. The best actually. A few years after dating her, I remember thinking to myself, is this The One? I didn’t know how to answer that question since I had never been in love before. But when I caught my first few glimpses of her heart, and saw the way she loved the Lord, I knew I couldn’t let her go. When the time comes for you to consider marriage, my only prayer is that you wait patiently for someone like your mom. Someone that will put you second, and Jesus first. It’s worth the wait, I promise. 

2. Honey bunches of oats is the best cereal ever made.

3. Life just keeps getting better and better. I remember being in high school, thinking that those four years would be the best of my life. They were… until I went to college. And my four years in college were the best of my life, until I graduated, got a job, and married your mom. And now here I am, pushing 30, thinking to myself, this is the best season of life yet. Have hope. Think the best of people. Forgive quickly. Believe in yourself. If you do that, you too will find yourself loving each new day, more than the one that preceded it.

4. Don’t ever go in to credit card debt. Seriously, ever. If you need to learn more, I’ve heard there is a really great blog out there called Punch Debt In The Face that can help you out.

5. There is a difference between, your/you’re and their/there/they’re. Your mom is a teacher by trade so I’m sure she’ll be teaching you how to properly use these words before you can even walk.

6. Technology is cool, but there is something even cooler. Outside. Spend a lot of time there. Disconnect and explore. You’ll be better for it.

7. Above all else, know that you are loved. Your mom and I haven’t had the privilege of meeting you yet (although I have talked to you quite a bit through her tummy), but I love you in a way that I can’t really describe. Normally it’s crazy to love something you’ve never experienced, but you, my dude, are the exception to the rule. You’re bound to make many mistakes over the course of your life, and although I may provide correction at times, know that you can never lose my love. I am your biggest fan. 

See you soon,



Goodbye $30,000/yr, we won’t miss you.

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We are about two months away from welcoming Baby Ninja to the family and in case you were wondering, no I do not feel prepared to be a dad. I mean, I frequently forget to bathe and feed myself, how am I expected to take care of another human being? While I may be in way over my head, I can not wait to meet my little dude. What will he look like? How fat will he be (I was 10lbs)? What will it be like to come home from work and see him smile at his first sight of me?

During our premarital counseling, Girl Ninja expressed her desire to one day be a stay-at-home mom. Since then, we have been working and saving diligently. Trying to stabilize ourselves financially, so that when the time came for kiddos, we’d be ready to forfeit an income.

That time is now. 

I’d be lying if I said part of me wasn’t mourning the loss of $30,000 a year in cold hard cash. We could do a lot of great things with that money. Max out our retirement accounts. Go on a half-dozen nice vacations. Send an entire bus of kids to summer camp.

As nice as it would be to keep that income around a bit longer, I’m excited to drop down to a one income household because it means Girl Ninja and I are literally living our dream.

Four years ago we created a plan that would allow Girl Ninja to one day be a stay-at-home mom, and here we are just a few months shy of seeing that plan come to fruition.

If that’s not financial freedom, I don’t know what is. 



And just for clarification this is not a knock against dual income families. If Girl Ninja told me she wanted to continue working I’d be all for it.

25 going on 60

One of my buddies, who works in finance for a major bank, told me he recently attended a small group with a few of his good friends from college. During the small group, one of the members began reflecting on his life. He has a good job. He and his wife bought a house in a nice part of Seattle. I think they have a dog. And my understanding is they both have relatively stable employment. They are living the dream. Or as my friend’s friend put it the night of their small group, they are living the life they want to have when they are 35, nearly ten years away.

Can I get an amen?

As new homeowners and expectant parents I can definitely confirm that, sometimes I don’t want to play grown-up anymore. I only get to be in my twenties for two more years. Why am I not living it up? Or in the words of our high school kids, Why am I not YOLOing? Oh that’s right, mortgages and babies mean I have to be…


Retirement wont pay for itself. And last time I checked, my savings account only increases if I show up for work and bank roll our discretionary income. The life I want for my family five, ten, and forty years, limits my ability to live the life I want right now.

I don’t know about you, but that kinda depresses me. 

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know I love my job. That said, it is also the thing that is holding me back the most. If I got fired tomorrow, I wouldn’t go look for a similar position somewhere else. You wanna know what I would do?


Girl Ninja and I would live the dream for the next two months before baby comes. We would be challenged in ways our currently safe, secure, and predictable life isn’t. We’d be sporadic. Spontaneous. Scared. And Excited. We’d be living the dream. A 25 year old’s dream.

As with anything, our journey will have to be about balance. We wont be quitting our jobs and sacrificing our long-term goals anytime soon, but I’ll be damned if I catch my 35-year-old self wondering what the heck happened to my twenties. (pardon my french)