Can You Afford Part-time Hours?

If you’re like most new working moms, you’re playing tug of war in your head about what type of return-to-work schedule would be best for you and your family. Back-and-forth, back-and-forth. Which way to go?

Maybe you like the idea of working less than full time, but you can’t help but think, “How could we afford it?”

Take time to explore whether “We can’t afford it” is an objective conclusion or an emotional response based on fear of the unknown.

Maybe You Can Afford It: Figure It Out

First, figure the approximate cut in your take-home pay that corresponds with your planned cut in hours.

For example, if you are planning a four-day workweek, (80% of full time), figure about 20% reduction in take-home pay; a three-day workweek (60% of full time), about a 40% reduction in take-home pay; and so forth. (It’s an approximate figure because of the income tax factor.)

Next, figure out what that dollar amount pay cut would be on a monthly basis. With that figure—call it your Monthly Savings Target—you can start to look at where you can trim your household budget.

Begin with the expenses that may drop when you cut your working hours: commuting costs (have you figured your daily gasoline expense?), lunches, wardrobe and/or dry cleaning, child/elder care, and so on.

Then, look at discretionary areas: club memberships, entertainment and recreational choices, holiday spending. Where can you trim your food, clothing or transportation budget?

Get Budget Help So You Can Work Part-time Hours

afford part-time hoursFinancial adjustments are not a quick and easy step, but a critical planning component beyond the scope of this website.

If budget planning and ways to reduce expenses are new topics for you, turn to the extensive resources at your library and bookstore to walk you through the process.

Online, I favor the debt-free living advice and resources found at Crown Financial Ministries and Debt-Proof Living.

Make the Trade-offs to Work Part-time Hours

In the end, you will probably find yourself making material tradeoffs in order to yield intangible, emotional benefits that cost mainly time and energy.

Isn’t that exactly what you are negotiating for with your new flexible work arrangement?

Others Have Done It; You Can, Too

“My proposal for [a combination of] part-time and telecommuting was approved! I doubted my chances of attaining my goal of staying home with my first child working 20-24 hour/week because of the employer culture where I work. But my manager stated that it was the best proposal he had ever read and he was going to give me a chance. Thanks for making this process so easy!” Kristin Scharfen, Project Manager, Lees Summit, MO

The Fastest Way to Get Approval of a Flexible Work Arrangement

Compressed Workweek Proposal Job Sharing ProposalPart-time ProposalTelecommuting Proposal

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)