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September 23, 2013, 5:00 am

Home Daycare – No Pain, No Gain

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Project $1500

 

home daycare

Exactly 20 days ago, my wife started a daycare at home. For most mothers who would like to stay at home a little longer with their kids, opening a home daycare seems logical. While you can stick around with your toddler, you are also bringing a few bucks home. No more rushing to the daycare; YOU are the daycare!

 

Well…it’s not that easy. While there are several steps you must follow before you open your daycare, there are several things to consider when you truly start as well. We took it on together as we realized we needed a little bit more of income if we wanted to reach financial freedom before the “normal age of retirement”. My wife also felt that our toddler started to run in around the house and get bored when she had to do household chores.

 

After 20 days living this new life, I’m ready to tell you what life looks like we have a daycare at home.

 

How It Works

 

You know by now that I’m fairly organized in all aspects of my life. This is why we looked at the “process” of having a daycare at home and see how we can maximize our time and not burn out. Opening this side business meant more work for my wife and more work for me too. Since she was at home, I used to not be so implicated in the household chores. It was somewhat part of “her job” to keep the house clean.

 

This is why I find myself participating more than I was before… and this is also why we ended-up hiring a cleaning lady! Hahaha! NO, seriously, cleaning the house over the weekend meant that we couldn’t spend quality family time and this was non-negotiable for us. It’s important that our children can do their activities and that we keep up with a social life.

 

The daycare is opened starting at 7am. This means I take care of my kids from 7 am to 7:30 (the time the two oldest go to school and the toddler goes “into the daycare”). Prior to 7 am, this time is mine. It’s why I wake up at 5 am, eat breakfast alone, do my workout, wake up the kids, take my shower and then it’s 7 am and time to make breakfast for the family.

 

The daycare is opened until 5 pm but my wife is lucky and most of her kids leave before that. My two oldest stay at school until 4:15 pm and then walk home. Homework is done when I come home around 5 pm.

 

My wife didn’t want to offer just a place where kids can play safely and eat during the day. She is providing a very high quality daycare including weekly themes, homemade, healthy food with several different play areas inside and outside the house. This requires more hours for planning and designing activities where kids will not only have fun but will learn and grow.

 

Funny enough, simple things get complicated: how do you prepare lunch when you need to head the kitchen while you have 5 kids in the daycare? Or where will they will sleep for their afternoon nap? How to you go outside thinking they have to use the stairs when you have 3 kids around 18 months of age? These are all questions you have to find answers for before you open your daycare at home.

 

The Revenues

 

Gross revenues are quite easy to calculate: $25 per kid per day, 5 days per week. She has 5 kids (plus our toddler) so it adds up to $125 per day or $625 per week. My wife takes 5 weeks vacations that are not charged to the parents so the total annual income is roughly $29,375. It doesnt look so bad when you think that she stays home, huh? Well… again… it’s a little bit more complicated than this. There is more on this later, but let’s go to the expenses first to see the net income.

 

The Expenses

 

I was happily surprised to discover that the daycare expenses weren’t as high as expected. We had to disburse a lump sum payment to open it (furniture, painting, materials, etc). After that, it becomes more affordable. So far, we show an increase of our grocery bill of roughly $50 to $75 per week. It’s hard to determine what is used by us or the daycare but this is probably within the ball range. Then, we decided to have a cleaning lady once a week to spare us the burnout. She charges $75/week.

 

Besides that, there will not be many additional expenses considering we have three kids and already have tons of toys ;-). So far, I can see a monthly expense of $600 at most. This is why I forecast to net $1,900 with the daycare.

The Hours Worked

 

When you think about it, the daycare is opened from 7am to 5pm. This makes 10 hours where my wife must remain accessible to kids. While there are breaks (the kids nap is roughly 1h30), there are no real and official break during the 10 hours. If one child doesn’t want to sleep one day (trust me, it happens often), the 1h30 pause just disappears! So working 50 hours per week to earn $625 makes an hourly wage of $12.50. But it’s more than 50 hours because you have to count time for planning, cooking, cleaning that is not within the 50 hours. So it’s more like 60 hours of work or $10.42/hours… and I didn’t count expenses and taxes. Gulp!  If I take the net income ($1,900), it comes down to $7.92 per hour minus taxes.

 

Taxes won’t be much so we can almost consider the $1,900 to be net income. Still, its not the Klondike when you look at all the hours worked.

 

What Truly Sucks…

 

As you can see, life with a home daycare is far from being perfect. What truly sucks with this job is the incredibly repetitive routine you have to follow:

#1 Wake up at the same hour

#2 Prepare everything before the children arrive

#3 Welcome the kids – free play

#4 Activity #1

#5 Eat some fruit

#6 Go outside

#7 Activity #2

#8 Prepare lunch – free play

#9 Eat lunch

#10 Nap time

#11 Activity #3 – free play

#12 Kids leave

#13 You Clean up / prepare supper

#14 Our kids’ homework

#15 Eat

#16 Wash the dishes, prepare things for the next morning

#17 free time… HAHAHA!

 

I’m well aware that this routine looks like a lot like any other job (just change the word Activity by client or another task and the word “outside and nap time” by taking a coffee ;-) ). The thing is that you can’t really skip it as we were able to before. We can’t skip the dishes as the children will be around the next morning so it can’t be done later. Same thing with everything else. This is also why my wife takes 5 weeks off!

 

Why It’s Still An Awesome Choice

 

Having a daycare at home is definitely a lot of work, but it brings a whole package of great things too:

 

#1 No transportation costs to get to work

#2 We eat healthier than ever

#3 5 weeks vacation

#4 Easy to find clients (it took my wife less than a week!)

#5 Stable income over time

 

And the most important: My toddler can stay at home with his mommy AND play with friends all day. Honestly, he just loves it! When we compare the other alternatives (finding a job elsewhere), we wouldn’t enjoy any of these advantages. When you consider the daycare cost, transportation and obviously more clothes, working outside the house wasn’t a good idea for her.

 

We will not buy a new BMW with this money but we will surely pay our debts pretty fast. Considering this additional income, I don’t need my year-end bonus to close my budget in the black. We will now be able to use the extra monthly cash flow to pay our debts along with my year-end bonus. So if I’m lucky, I will take less than three years to pay all my consumer debts other than my mortgage. If I only have my mortgage by the age of 35 to pay off, life will be great!

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June 12, 2013, 6:03 am

4 Must Do Steps Prior To Starting Your Own Business

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business,Project $1500

 

 

Two weeks ago, I announced that we were going to start a daycare at home. Since my wife has a a lot of experience in this field and we were looking to increase our income, starting our own business at home was the next logical step. Back in 2009, I finished what I called Project $1,500. This project goal was to generate an additional $1,500 to enable my wife to quit her day job and stay at home. Today, we are starting a new $1,500 project in order to pay off our debts faster and reach financial freedom at a young age.

 

Most of you have wanted to start a business at one point or another in your life. This article is a list of To Do’s we have identified prior to starting our daycare at home. It can be applied to any kind of business.

 

#1 Think About ALL the Possible Impacts on Your Life

 

Starting a business is fun, exciting and inspiring. But it also changes your life from the moment you step out of bed till you finish your day. This is why it is so important to write down you existing schedule and compare it to your future schedule. Don’t fall in the classic pitfall of “I can handle that” as your experience as an entrepreneur might not be as magical as you think.

 

For example, the fact that my wife opens a daycare at home will affect our weekly schedule.

-          I’ll have to take care of our two oldest kids from 7 to 7:30 am until they leave for school.

-          Lunches and dishes need to be done the night before, not the morning of.

-          Groceries and other chores will have to be done during evenings or on the weekend.

-          We will need to hire a cleaning lady to compensate for the fact that my wife can’t clean the house during the day anymore.

-          Vacation schedule must be fixed and determined in advance.

-          Our oldest kids will have to stay at school for an extra hour (until 4:30pm) and will do their homework there.

 

As you can see, there is a big advantage in our budget, but having a daycare won’t be an ideal situation either. We will have to adapt to our new life.

 

#2 Define Your Structure and How You Will Make Money

 

People often want to throw themselves into the entrepreneurship adventure without thinking. They are only excited about becoming their own boss and making money. This is not quite what is going to happen at first. It is important to determine how you will work and how much you can make.

 

For example, we have determined that the daycare will be opened from 7am till 5pm (with extra options to come at 6:30am and finish at 5:30pm). There will be 5 kids (plus our toddler) charged at $25/day to make $2,500 per month. There will be room for 1 kid part time (2-3 days) possible also. Assuming we spend $1,000 to run the daycare, we would make $1,500 in profit. The $1,000 includes the following:

 

-          Food

-          New toys / activities / equipments, etc.

-          Cleaning lady

-          Taxes

-          Insurance

-          Etc.

 

With such a budget, I’m expecting to be making the $1,500 without any surprises. So we know exactly what to expect in terms of revenues and expenses. Don’t forget to budget the taxes… they will come at the end of the year regardless if you have set money aside or not!

 

Along with our budgets, we also created several documents explaining how the daycare will work. It is important to provide such information to the parents prior to signing-up with you. We also made a list of things we needed to do prior to opening the daycare (furniture required, toys, facilities (we had to paint), etc). It’s important to have a clear and clean work environment in order to be productive.

 

If your business structure is complex, I suggest you do a complete marketing & financial plan where you identify where you are at and where you will be in 1, 3 and 5 years.

 

#3 Register Your Business – Open a Bank Account

 

Now that you know what the business will look like and the implications required by all members of the family, you are now ready for the first practical step of starting your business at home: registering your business. You can either incorporate it or register your business as being self employed.

 

If you don’t have multiple sources of income or don’t plan to make substantial revenues with your business, there is no point of creating a corporation. However, it is important to register your business name to make sure it doesn’t exist and open a business bank account. This makes your transactions and tax planning easier.

 

#4 Insurance, Insurance and… Insurance

 

I’ve seen so many people neglect their insurance coverage that it is scary. For any kind of business, you have to consider your protection… before operating! In our case, responsibility insurance for a daycare is definitely a must.

 

At one point, if we were to depend on this source of income, disability insurance would also be very important. This enables the owner to receive money while he/she can’t operate his business. Nobody is protected against an event that would jeopardize your ability to work for a short period of time. Three months is not that much to recover, but if you don’t make a penny during this period, you may pile-up some bigger problems.

 

4 Big Steps and You Haven’t Started Yet

 

As you can see, I’ve highlighted only four things you must do before starting a company and you are already stuck with a few weeks of work before making your first dollar.

 

I think one can surely succeed without completing these steps, but it will be a rocky road! What I like about our daycare project is the plan can’t really fail. On the other hand, this is not something you can scale; the goal here is to create a money making machine generating enough so we can use this money to do other things with it.

 

Oh and… good news! We already have 3 spots booked and we haven’t started to promote the business. Never underestimate the power of the word of mouth!

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May 29, 2013, 10:11 am

Another Project on the Table!

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Project $1500

 

 

Life is not interesting without risks and projects

 

Last Saturday, we packed our entire family for a 40 minutes drive for a race. My wife did a 5km, my son did a 1km and both my son and daughter did a 1km Xman race (with obstacles). It was an amazing day. We were freezing (it was 3 degrees!) and we were more soaked than when we hit the pool during a warm day (it has poured rain for the past 5 days!). But, it was one of the best weekends we had enjoyed for a long time! Why? Because we did something unusual. Because while most people were sitting on their coach thinking how this Saturday sucked, we were laughing and screaming to keep ourselves warm. Even my toddler had fun (what kid doesn’t have fun when they are allowed to jump in a puddle of mud?). From 8am till 1pm, we were outside having the time of our lives. I felt alive, truly alive.

 

I Feel Alive When I Have Projects… So Does My Wife!

 

It has been about 6 months that we started an ongoing discussion between my wife and I. Since this winter, she feels bored at home from time to time. She is darn occupied, that’s not the point; but she is constantly cleaning the house, going to get groceries and she doesn’t feel she has enough time to spend with our little toddler. She has been at home for the past four years now but I think she started to feel the routine burden on her back. Even worse: since we want to finally pay off our debts, she is limited with the amount of activities she can do throughout the week. This whole scheme sucks. We needed to find a solution.

 

She thought of going back to school, but doing a bachelor degree (even part time) is very time demanding considering we have three kids. I do have flexible hours but I couldn’t be home at 4pm to take care of my kids and help them do their homework either. I can take off from time to time, but I usually end-up just working longer hours the following day to catch-up. Therefore, if she goes back to school, it would draw money away from our account, it would complicate our schedule to a ridiculous point, she won’t spend more time with our youngest boy and she would complete a bachelor degree for a job she wouldn’t want to work 40 hours/week. So going back to school wasn’t a real solution.

 

Pursuing our discussion, we started to talk about opening a daycare at home. How cliché is that? How many mothers / stay-at-home wives do that? The answer is “a lot!!”. The difference for us is that my wife is qualified to operate a day care as she studied and worked in this field for several years. Kids would benefit from an awesome environment since our playroom was previously a daycare. The playroom is situated on our main floor and is way bigger than any daycare classroom you have ever seen. The job is known, the investment is minimal and the need is there. Oh! Did I mention that my wife has gotten over a dozen requests since we live in that house for a daycare?

 

Work Hard, Pay Debts, Enjoy Later

 

Half of me didn’t to get there. That half thought I could make it by simply making more money. However, if I want to retire early, I realize that I need to pay off my debts faster. Instead of becoming frugal (from the professional spender I am), we can make over $1,500 per month from the daycare that would directly go to our debt payment. The plan is to make roughly $2,500 per month from the daycare, use $1,000 to run the daycare and pay for a cleaning lady. The rest will be applied on our debts.

 

With this decision, it’s obvious that we are leaving our “comfort zone” where we spend 100% of our weekend to do activities where we will have to do some household chores to compensate the fact my wife is working. The point is not to run a daycare forever. But if we can concentrate on working very hard for the next 4 years (until my last kid goes to school), pay off our debts massively and then, finally retire (by the age of 35, remember?).

 

So what do you think? Would you leave your comfort zone for more money? Are you willing to work harder for a few years in exchange of financial freedom?

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June 26, 2012, 5:00 am

Single Income Household, The Best Kept Secret for Happiness

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Project $1500

 

 

If you are a long time reader, you have followed me through my $1,500 projects that started back in 2007 and concluded in 2009. The goal was to create or save the equivalent of $1,500 on a monthly basis so my wife can stop working. In May 2009, my wife quit her job and we became a single income household. I read this post again recently and found it interesting that I had 2 plans back in 2009 in order to cover my wife’s income:

 

#1 Make a lot of money online (currently at 10K/month of gross income with 50% participation in this amount)

 

#2 Work hard and earn a big pay check.

 sail

2007 Vs 2012

 

Back in 2007, my total income was at $63,000 (read how I went from 30K to 176K in 8 years). In 2009, my total income (not base income) was $103,000. It was then easy to make the decision to go with a single income household. In that year, my bonus was literally more than what my wife used to make in a year. Since then, I have never looked back. Today, my base income is at $79,000. That alone covers $1,333 of my $1,500 per month. I also have to add my bonus and online income to the equation in order to cover the $1,500/month my wife used to make.

 

When you only look at numbers, living on a single income appears quite easy as I make a lot more than I used to. Unfortunately, the expenses increased accordingly too! It is true that it requires sacrifices from time to time but it’s really worth. Let me tell you why…

 

Completely Focused on Making Money

 

My wife and I have a simple way of taking care of our household:

 

She takes care of the house and kids.

I take care of making money.

 

This seems quite simple and even stupid when you say it that way. But the key lies in simplicity. Since my wife takes care of our house and kids (this includes not only chores but everything), I can focus on one of the thing I do best: making money.

 

I don’t have to bother with when I need to bring that cat costume for my daughter’s presentation or when they go to the dentist or when the latest arrival has an appointment with the pediatrician. I don’t even have to wonder what we will eat at night! Mind you, I still cook, but everything is ready when I get home. This is why I can focus on being awesome at work and awesome in my business. This is probably how I can grow both my career and business at the same pace simultaneously without burning out! My brain power is focused on a very limited number of things. This is likely how I can become better and faster.

 

So while I was looking to make more money so my wife could stop working, the answer was in the goal. As soon as she had stopped working, we saw our household income increase significantly! Believe it or not – having my wife stop working was the fastest way to earn a stable 6 figure income.

 

More Free Time for Everybody

 

Another impact of having my wife at home is the free time that we all benefit from. Every weekend, we wonder which activities we will do as all the chores and boring stuff have been done during the week. Therefore, we are all set to enjoy the weekend the way it should be. We have enough time to work on landscaping or renovation, going to the park, inviting friends over for a nice lunch, etc.

 

It’s basically like having mini-vacation each week!

 

Other Advantages

 

There is a long list of advantages for having only one person work while the other takes care of the household. Among them, I would only list the *most* important:

 

-          More time with the kids

-          Quality time to help them to do their homework

-          Time for community volunteering

-          No more “gotta run to catch the daycare on time”

-          More time to start a garden and eat better food

-          More time to try new things (activities, recipes, hobbies, etc)

-          You save money on afterschool daycare

-          You save money on clothing (only 1 person needs to dress for work)

-          You save money on dining out (how many time you eat out because you’re too tired?)

-          More activities

-          More fun

-          Less stress

-          Less arguments with your better half

-          More energy… which leads to more S…..X (don’t laugh, it’s true!)

All right… I should have put the Energy advantage first… ;-)

 

I now look back at my previous life back in early 2009 and really don’t have any regrets today. In fact, if I had known this, I would have started on my $1,500 project before my wife gave birth to our first son! Life is just easier and more fun… in fact, life is now the way it should be!

 

 

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April 19, 2010, 5:00 am

Covering My Wife’s Income Within A Year

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Alternative Income,Career,Project $1500


We are hoping to sell our house pretty soon and we are already looking forward to buying our next one. We know where we want to go but we haven’t visited the properties we are comtemplating. Why? Because I made the “mistake” of making a conditional offer to purchase a house thinking I would sell mine quickly. In the end, I imagined myself in this new house for about 2 months and they finally sold it before I sold mine… result: I was left with a house to sell and nowhere to go!

So in the meantime, I play with my excel spreadsheet and figure what my new budget might look like. I love playing with numbers ;-). My wife and I were in a serious discussion about how much we can afford for our next mortgage. Since I am moving for bigger and better, we may have to pay more for our next property. The numbers seem too big which scared her a bit.

This is when I pulled out my previous budget from a year ago. She was working full time and we were comparing how much money we were making back then and how much money we are currently making now that she has quit her job and that I am working 4 days a week. Believe it or not, we are now fully covering her income! In fact, we are making much more money now, than when she was working!

Passive income is the key to money problems!

A year ago, I was struggling between my MBA, my new job as a financial planner and working on my online company. Today, I am done with my MBA, I have learned the financial planning game enough to succeed and my online company is generating a very interesting passive income.

Over the past 12 months, we have made several websites purchases, modifications and partnerships throughout the web. We are always thinking about how to make more with less effort and it is working perfectly.

Last week, I wrote about how cool it is to earn passive income. Well over the last weekend, I realized that my online company not only pays for gravy stuff like a Blackberry but also provides me with a better quality lifestyle (working 4 days a week) and is now compensating for my wife’s income. For the record, my wife was making about $25,000.

Fighting for your right to paaaarty!

Love this song from the Beastie Boys ;-). But seriously, this is how I was working to make a few more bucks at work; fighting for raises in my salary! I have written about how I got 3 raises in the span of 12 months and I am looking forward to getting another one in the upcoming months. These income increases were enough to allow me to keep the same net salary now that I was getting when I was working 5 days a week. It does put a lot of pressure as every Monday morning, I wake up thinking I have to bring more money in my book so I can get another raise. But you don’t get anything for free and I am willing to pay the price of pressure to make even more ;-).

Bonus is gravy

Last year, we took the decision of having my wife stay home based on my bonus forecast. I told her that I will be getting her salary as a bonus so she doesn’t have to work anymore. Today, the bonus is not necessary anymore. Therefore, I can plan other uses for it such as:

#1 paying my parents back this year!

#2 going on vacation next year

#3 improving our future house ;-)

I guess this is what makes my calculation so “interesting”. I have to figure out a way to buy the house I want while paying back my parents… I wouldn’t buy a bigger house and then tell my parents “sorry folks, I’ll have to postpone my debt for another 5 years!”

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