‘I took a huge salary hit so I can make my daughters my priority’ | Money

‘I took a huge salary hit so I can make my daughters my priority’ | Money

Name: Sally Callaghan

Age: 44

Income: £18,000

Occupation: Chef

Before I had my two children, I worked as a head of advertising for a major news corporation, earning more than £50,000 a year with bonuses. At the time, I bought a one-bed flat in Lewisham, which was £48,900 and then I could more than cover the expenditure.

At the time, I’d think nothing of spending £30 or more on a top-of-the-range makeup item or about what clothes I could afford, hair treatments, regular holidays abroad, running a decent car and socialising whenever I wanted.

Motherhood totally changed things, as my girls became my priority. It definitely affected my decision-making financially, as what they needed came first.

We used to live in Kingston, Surrey, with an outstanding mortgage of £170,000, but we moved further out of London and have a bigger property but only £30,000 outstanding on our mortgage now.

I returned to work when the girls were of school age, and I decided to retrain as a chef. It was a big adjustment for me, and at first I worked at a YMCA and now I work as a chef at a sixth form college.

I earn £18,000 a year now and I work an 18-hour week compared with the 60 hours or more before the children, but I have a work-life balance. The most essential thing I can give them now is my time.

I used to shop in top-end supermarkets but now I save by going to Aldi. I am lucky that my husband gives me an allowance of £1,000 a month, which I spend on food, petrol, clothes for the girls, hair treatments, days out, books and parties. We spend £120 a month on a tutor for my youngest daughter and she has pocket money of about £50 a month.

I have a night out about once a month and my husband pays for the mortgage, utilities and insurances. I buy the odd item of clothing but most of my money goes on the girls. I spend considerably less on myself and I’ve changed to cheaper brands of makeup and clothes.

We now take our holidays mainly in the UK, which saves us money and we also have a dog, so we take her with us when we go away.

Motherhood also deeply changed my perception of climbing the career ladder and working long hours. I was happy to take a huge salary decrease to eventually work part-time, so that I have flexibility in my hours.

I never resented the sacrifices as my daughters’ needs came first – time cooking with them, reading to them, helping them, supporting them and being fully involved with their development. I think I gain so much having time, I know that I lose the luxuries but I don’t care.

I recently spent all my spare money on party decorations, food and drink for a normal teenage party, but my daughter had the best time and money I might have spent on myself I spend on them.

Would I return to a full-time career now? No, I never want the disconnection with too many hours away from my home. If I had to go back then I would but I “cut my cloth to suit my purse” as my mum would have said and adjust to what I need and not fritter money away.

I don’t waste money and am careful with what I spend and how I spend it to give the girls what they need. It will be a constant in my life until they get their own jobs.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.