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Full-time employment may be driving mothers to spend, according to the latest Consumer Expenditure Survey released by the U.S. Dept. of labour. Not only do working mothers spend more on childcare expenses compared to their unemployed counterparts ($6,864 vs. $2,962), they spend more on eating out ($3,092 vs. $2,606) and on household maintenance and repairs ($3,427 vs. to $2,300).
The Bureau also found that working mothers shell out more for transpiration and car repairs ($3,094 compared to $2,652), because they’re clearly commuters. The only place where things evened out among both groups was at the dry cleaners, where working mothers spend a mere $8 more than unemployed mothers.
While most working parents would agree that having a career puts a real time-constraint on being a parent, the findings prove that America still has a way to go in helping women achieve some semblance of financial stability. Still, experts remain divided on how to best solve the issue.
Anne-Marie Slaughter famously argued in the August issue of The Atlantic that an infrastructure should be put in place to help working mothers balance their frenetic home and work lives—on-site child care, working hours that mirror school schedules, satellite offices. On the other end of the spectrum, Will Bonner, author of “Family Fortunes,” says the dual-income model should be ditched altogether. In fact, he believes it’s making families even poorer.
“When both family members work, neither works hard enough at his task to succeed,” he writes. “If both adult family members are working, it adds to family expenses in terms of child care, transportation, clothing for work, meals, tutoring, and other necessary expenses that come with holding two full-time jobs.”
See the Bureau’s stats in the table below:
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