Au Pair Salary: Tips on how to manage it to have a year without regrets

Today I wanna talk about the au pair salary, since one of the first questions we asked ourselves, and I asked myself, is: but 197,50$ per week are enough?

Of course if we were earning more it would be better, but anyway any amount would be good to complain. So let’s see how to manage our weekly pocket money to achieve all our goals without problems!pubblicazione1The first thing to do, in my opinion, is looking at the earning in its total.
That means that we have to think that in one year we are going to earn about 10,000$ and from it deduct all the fixed costs or sure expenses to see how much we have left.

Premising that not all the situations are the same, I’m basing this article on my personal experience which I believe is pretty fortunate.
The points we have to keep into consideration are:

  • Does the family give the au pair a car? Yes or no?
  • Does the family pay for the gas? Yes or no? Always or only the close distances?
  • Do I have to pay for the cellphone plan? Yes or No?
  • How often do I go out  to eat?
  • Which first necessity things do I have to buy myself?

The answer in my case are:

  • I have my own car and my host family pays for the gas. If I go in places really far away I pay it myself.
  • I’m part of my family’s plan, so I don’t have to pay for the phone
  • Usually I go out eating once a week and I have to buy myself clothes and products for personal hygiene.

As you can see in my case I have very few expenses. Therefore of my 10.000$ I can basically do whatever I want and now I’m going to explain you how I manage my money.

Once understood all of this I thought at how and which credit classes I wanted to follow to complete my credits and since I wanna go to college, instead of weekend classes I calculated 2500$ for all 6 credits.
Since the host family has to give you 500$, from my 10.000 I only subtracted 2000$ and I still have 8000$ for a year.

TransportationHealthy-Road-Trip-Tips
Since I live on the east coast I have lots of cities near me that I can visit simply by doing some hours of driving.
In this case tho, I have to pay for gas and tolls. My suggestion is to find some travel buddies that is interesting to travel with you so you can share expenses.
Very often, in fact, the car is cheaper than the bus, especially if you live isolated like me.

Food
Au pairs always like to meet up and eat something together, also to spend some time talking.
However eating out is expensive, unless we eat junk food every day…
Assume to spend 12$ per meal. If you eat at the restaurant 4 times it is 50$! Taking into consideration that you earn about 200$ per week, it means that  ¼ of your salary gets literally eaten!images
Personally I try to always eat at home to save, especially because in our contract the family has to provide us food, so why spend when we can have free food? Moreover in my house there is always a lot of food freshly cooked, but if it is not like that you can cook yourself something before eating. With this, I’m not telling you to not go eat outside, but something that my friends and I do is going eating to one another house. Invite your friends over for a meal and another time have your friends inviting you. You will see that you will immediately start saving money each week and you will always have company. For the meals you can also use the method “everybody brings something”. In any case I never refuse a lunch or dinner out once a week with any regrets!

Shopping
America is famous for its consumerism, and since it is really true, it is easy to find good deals.
The first question we have to ask ourselves is: Do we actually need what we are about to purchase? Do I really want it? If the answer is yes keep in mind that the better period to go clothes shopping is during holidays thanks to the big sales and keep always an eye on the clearances. Another my suggestion is to inform us about the weather of the state we are going to live in. If in winter is cold, maybe we should bring from home more heavy clothes since they are more expensive than summer ones… A friend of mine went shopping for the whole winter because he didn’t bring anything with him! I only need a pair of pants to wear everyday and some warm slip-on, imagine also in this case how much money you could save..piggybank-with-dollars
Again, here I’m not telling you to not go shopping, but all the fall things I got were a treat and not for necessity. two very different things!
For the personal hygiene products, I buy everything at Wal-mart. Even though it is a discount I know the brands and they sell everything family size.
If you are not able to stop yourself from shopping, you can give yourself a weekly maximum. Put into your saving account 100$ that for any reason you are going to touch. I assure you that with 100$ per week you can pay for your fun, eat at the restaurant and go shopping! Keep in mind that I usually spend 50$ per week. so with 100$ you are gonna be definitely fine.

If you can take advantage of your kids and host family.

I know that the title seems bad but now I’m going to explain it better: In general I think that all the au pairs like to do some “kids things”, like going to the amusement park, going to the movies to see cartoons, etc… Something I realized since I’m here (maybe because I try to bring my kids to have a lot of fun) is that I wish I had an au pair when I was their age. My parents probably brought me to the movies 5 times in my whole life, I never went to a bounce house, or to see live entertainment or places with carousels, bowling. If they were doing so it was once every 5 years. So to go back to the title, if you like doing all these things, bring the kids with you if there are events you think they might like too (of course if you have a good relationship with them. I do), they will have fun and you will have a free entrance so you won’t have to use your pocket money. I also try to join my hf as much as I can, not much for the financial aspect, but because they always do a lot of things and I like to try and see new things.
Even in this case I’m not telling you to spend all your time with your hf. I think I perfectly balance my time off between friends and family!

travel-is-the-only-thing-you-buy-that-makes-you-richer

At this point you might wondering what do I do with all the money I save. Personally I wanna spend them in travels, and since my goal is one travel per month, according to how I manage my salary I can afford them without problems.
Even here I look at offers for transportation and I try to find cheap places to spend the night, especially because a lot of museums in the states are expensive, so I try to save on one side to spend on another.

By managing my budget in this way I could also afford a new laptop, and I’m considering to buy a new camera…

In conclusion if you ask me if the au pair salary is enough, for me the answer is yes! I hope I was very clear and if you have any doubts or question do not hesitate to ask! Maybe you won’t be rich at the end of your year, but you are going to have a wonderful year for sure. No one in the end decides to become an au pair to get rich!

Your au pair
Susa

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