Author Topic: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?  (Read 6613 times)

WIJG

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Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« on: March 03, 2015, 01:46:12 PM »
The lease for our car is up in November and we were planning on purchasing a vehicle for around $10k.  However, I realized this might not make sense since we still have over $100k in student loans (interest rates as low as 2% but also some that are up to 7.5%). What should I do?

I guess my options are:

1. Buy a car anyway
2. Continue leasing for a lower monthly payment (essentially downgrade)
3. Get a car loan to purchase a used car with a low interest rate

I have ~$17k in savings right now but my daughter starts preschool next month ($1450/month) and I will start looking for a job (hoping to be employed within 3 months).

Exflyboy

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2015, 02:06:14 PM »
Your kidding me right?

First of all the word "lease" or "Car payment" should never enter your vocabulary again.. Ever!

My advice.. Buy a POS car (or preferably no car at all) for $500 and drive it till it don't drive no more.

$1450 a month for pre-school?.. Well I don't have kids so I claim no expertise.. No way I'd be paying that unless I had $5M plus in my investments.. What is both your incomes?.. How does that compare to $1450 a month?

Reduce your stash to three months (emergency fund) then pay the rest off on your 7.5% loans.. Then take every other dollar you can find each month and continue paying down those high interest loans.

MsPeacock

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2015, 02:17:51 PM »
I am not in favor of a total POS $500 car when you have little kids (others here may disagree). Having two kids, and being highly car dependent (unfortunately), life becomes extremely difficult when a car breaks down or is unsafe and you have young children. You can't just not show up at daycare to get them after work because your car  died on the freeway or whatever. What about a reliable and significant less expensive car? What is available for 3K in your area?

Sorry - 1450 a month for preschool? Is this actually full time daycare (and even then seems high)? In my high COL area I never paid more than $300 or so for preschool. Unless you are both working there is absolutely no reason to pay for full time daycare (or even daily preschool - most school will offer and 2 or 3 days per week 1/2 day program). 1450 per month for preschool is much harder to justify than spending 10k on a car, IMO. Frankly, if you are unemployed and given your debit level, you shouldn't pay for any preschool. Find some playgroups in your area until you have employment. If you are taking money out of savings and not paying debits in order to pay for preschool, you are doing it wrong.

Otherwise focus on paying as much as possible on that 7.5% loan. Ouch.

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2015, 02:35:50 PM »
Not having a car is not an option. I need to take my daughter to school and Philly does not have reliable buses. Sometimes they never show up. I haven't found anything less than $1400/month for full time preschool that had openings and was in a safe area. My husband makes $100k and I'm finishing my masters in IT and Project Mngt so I'll make idk...$50-70k? I could buy a POS car for $500 but I'd like to get an opinion from a parent that has a child in a car seat as to how safe this is. Old cars don't have the same safety features for car seats. Also, I just moved here and have no family or friends around to help me, therefore, the amount of time I have to spend on certain things IS a consideration.

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2015, 02:37:32 PM »
I am not in favor of a total POS $500 car when you have little kids (others here may disagree). Having two kids, and being highly car dependent (unfortunately), life becomes extremely difficult when a car breaks down or is unsafe and you have young children. You can't just not show up at daycare to get them after work because your car  died on the freeway or whatever. What about a reliable and significant less expensive car? What is available for 3K in your area?

Sorry - 1450 a month for preschool? Is this actually full time daycare (and even then seems high)? In my high COL area I never paid more than $300 or so for preschool. Unless you are both working there is absolutely no reason to pay for full time daycare (or even daily preschool - most school will offer and 2 or 3 days per week 1/2 day program). 1450 per month for preschool is much harder to justify than spending 10k on a car, IMO. Frankly, if you are unemployed and given your debit level, you shouldn't pay for any preschool. Find some playgroups in your area until you have employment. If you are taking money out of savings and not paying debits in order to pay for preschool, you are doing it wrong.

Otherwise focus on paying as much as possible on that 7.5% loan. Ouch.

Thanks for the reply. I just posted below the same sentiments about a POS car. Yes, it is full time child care/school (7am-6pm). My husband and I will both be working. I am finishing my graduate degree in 8 weeks.

jopiquant

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2015, 02:42:39 PM »
Is it feasible for you to spend $2-3000 cash? I think the answer is yes, since you're considering spending 10k on same.

You can get a reasonably new (10 years) car with decent gas mileage and a lot of life left for that price. Generally speaking, reliability is better in Japanese cars, but I've read the Ford Focus is pretty good, and it might be cheaper than a Corolla or a Civic. We've never had a new car (our Subaru is from 2003 and we bought it last year - super excited to get into the 2000s), and it's never been a problem. Buy cash, have your oil changed regularly and other basic maintenance (brakes, fluids, spark plugs), and you'll be out a lot less than if you bought something for that kind of cash. If you're concerned about reliability, then set aside some of that huge 10k fund you are going to drop on your student loans just in case.

Good luck!

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2015, 02:57:19 PM »
I think this is the best thing to do! Thank you so much for your response!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2015, 03:03:16 PM »
I'm in the moderately used camp, think 4-7k. I would most definitely not spend 10k with 100k of debt over my head.

That being said, the POS car that I purchased praying that it would last me a year is approaching the 3 year mark now and shows no signs of surrendering. The POS status can be quite a wide spectrum.

TexasStash

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2015, 03:04:57 PM »
I'd be very careful with statements like "old cars don't have the same safety features for car seats". While technically true, this doesn't mean that a 5-10 year old car is a death trap for children. They had safety regulations and car seats back then too :). We will be carrying our child in a 6 year old Escape and I have no qualms whatsoever about the safety of the car and its child restraint system.

Best of luck figuring all of this out.

dunhamjr

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2015, 03:09:22 PM »
getting a reliable $2-3k used car is a good idea.  Japanese are fine but don't discount some of the newer domestics like the Focus either.  Really at this price range you are looking for a good car, versus a specific car, if you get my meaning.

i can't help but think you need to shop around on the preschool/daycare thing.  that is nearly $18k/yr.  there has to be a lower cost option than that which is viable.

and its confusing me that you are about to finish a Masters program, ending up $100k+ in debt, and you are not very certain about the salary range you can pull.  $50-70k is a LARGE range to guess.  i would be a little more excusing if you weren't inches from needing a job.  you should be combing the market already, knowing exactly where you will or are applying, so that you can have the job starting asap once the degree is finished.  you never know what can happen.

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2015, 03:45:19 PM »
getting a reliable $2-3k used car is a good idea.  Japanese are fine but don't discount some of the newer domestics like the Focus either.  Really at this price range you are looking for a good car, versus a specific car, if you get my meaning.

i can't help but think you need to shop around on the preschool/daycare thing.  that is nearly $18k/yr.  there has to be a lower cost option than that which is viable.

and its confusing me that you are about to finish a Masters program, ending up $100k+ in debt, and you are not very certain about the salary range you can pull.  $50-70k is a LARGE range to guess.  i would be a little more excusing if you weren't inches from needing a job.  you should be combing the market already, knowing exactly where you will or are applying, so that you can have the job starting asap once the degree is finished.  you never know what can happen.

Oh I've shopped around. Let's just say you get what you pay for. I'm not willing to have my daughter in a day care 11 hours a day where she's just thrown into a room while the care taker munches on a bag of potato chips (i witnessed this during a tour) just to save maybe $200/month? I feel guilty enough as it is.

My debt is not from my master's program. It is from me and my husband's bachelors degrees. I was a military spouse for 7 years and I've had most of my graduate work paid for by the army which is the only reason I pursued it. My husband just got his first civilian job about 6 weeks ago so everything is very, very new to us. We've both applied to dozens upon dozens jobs (none of which have any idea of a salary range) and not heard a thing back.   Luckily my husband scored an awesome job through a connection and I will start my networking as soon as I'm not a SAHM. Hope this clears some things up. I know it's really confusing if you're not familiar with our situation! Thanks for your response!

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2015, 03:53:48 PM »
I'd be very careful with statements like "old cars don't have the same safety features for car seats". While technically true, this doesn't mean that a 5-10 year old car is a death trap for children. They had safety regulations and car seats back then too :). We will be carrying our child in a 6 year old Escape and I have no qualms whatsoever about the safety of the car and its child restraint system.

Best of luck figuring all of this out.

Safety regulations have changed over time to align with current car seats. That's why car seats have an expiration date. By  no  means did I mean that a 5-10 year car is a death trap.  I would drive a 6 year old Escape in a heart beat :) I was referring to a $500 POS that may have missing or unreliable safety features....something well beyond 10 years!

GetItRight

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2015, 05:08:46 PM »
I wouldn't worry about safety features, you are the safety feature in that most accidents are within your control to avoid. Just get a simple reliable car for $2500 or less. After cash for clunkers good $500 cars are hard to find, unfortunately that program amounted a very regressive tax while promoting tremendous pollution (and consumer debt!) in the creation and sale of new cars. You cannot afford a car payment, you cannot afford a $10k car, and don't rent (lease) a car for several years. You have savings, find something that fits your needs while using as little savings as possible. Your wants in a car can wait until you've at least got the > 3% loans paid off.

tmoney

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2015, 09:14:09 PM »
If you are super concerned re the car I suggest to start looking now for maybe a car in the under 5k range. Spend half, use other half to pay down biggest loan. We just picked up a $5k car (06' audi) and it feels safe with thick heavy doors and I have no worry driving it with my kids in it. I know there are less expensive cars out there but we happened to find this and it met all our requirements.(looked for 3 months) Also see if the day care/preschool has 1/2 day or 2/3 day a week program that you can ease into while you are going On interviews etc. This will help your child with the transition and you also since you said you felt guilty. It will also ease the daycare/preschool bill until you find full time employment.

JLee

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2015, 09:36:39 PM »
If you are super concerned re the car I suggest to start looking now for maybe a car in the under 5k range. Spend half, use other half to pay down biggest loan. We just picked up a $5k car (06' audi) and it feels safe with thick heavy doors and I have no worry driving it with my kids in it. I know there are less expensive cars out there but we happened to find this and it met all our requirements.(looked for 3 months) Also see if the day care/preschool has 1/2 day or 2/3 day a week program that you can ease into while you are going On interviews etc. This will help your child with the transition and you also since you said you felt guilty. It will also ease the daycare/preschool bill until you find full time employment.

Clarification to the above - I'd pay down the highest rate loan, not the biggest loan.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2015, 05:47:27 AM »
My .02= Consolidate the loan to a lower interest rate. Purchase a used car $4k or less... (I'm partial to Honda civic) Keep $1k for emergency cash; put remainder into paying down the debt. $1450 a month for pre-school? Really? Don't let MMM see this. If you think I'm giving you a face punch, he will probably make you cry.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/12/avoiding-ivy-league-preschool-syndrome/


WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2015, 08:07:35 AM »
My .02= Consolidate the loan to a lower interest rate. Purchase a used car $4k or less... (I'm partial to Honda civic) Keep $1k for emergency cash; put remainder into paying down the debt. $1450 a month for pre-school? Really? Don't let MMM see this. If you think I'm giving you a face punch, he will probably make you cry.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/12/avoiding-ivy-league-preschool-syndrome/

We already attempted to consolidate. They gave us a rate that was higher than most of our loans. Weird.

We have an Accord right now so a Civic is probably #1 on the list and I know they run forever.

And I know that sounds crazy for preschool but I live in Philly city center and there is a huge demand for full-time childcare. I'm talking 1-3 year wait lists so I had to make a deposit as soon as I found something and it's on the other side of the city otherwise I wouldn't even need a car. I've paid $20k towards the loans in the last 4 months and I'll be able to pay almost an extra $1,000/month towards them once I start working and I'm perfectly fine with this timeline whether MMM likes it or not ;)

dunhamjr

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2015, 09:50:58 PM »
Check out  www.sofi.com to see if they can help with consolidation.

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2015, 05:07:46 PM »
Check out  www.sofi.com to see if they can help with consolidation.

Thanks for the response. I don't qualify because I'm not employed and my husband was denied :-/

GeneralJinjur

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2015, 06:33:25 PM »
Safety regulations have changed over time to align with current car seats. That's why car seats have an expiration date.

Actually, the expiration date exists because of the degradation of the plastic.  Most seats are exposed to wide variations of hot and cold temps, which can become an issue over time and won't become apparent until you are in an accident.  A LATCH compatible seat will work with a 10yo LATCH compatible car.

RexualChocolate

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2015, 07:11:13 AM »
That preschool is a $17400 luxury you cannot afford. It also has absolutely no effect on child development. If you aren't working, how does this make any sense? Find a church or reasonable daycare when you get a job.

If the market value of quality daycare is really 1450/kid, you should just open your own daycare. You'd make way more than working.

zurich78

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2015, 07:15:35 AM »
I think the reality here, is that you have to have a car in your situation so not having one isn't an option.

That said, leasing is not a good idea at all.  Buy the cheapest car you won't hate, pay it off as soon as possible (or preferably right off the bat), and then keep paying down that SL debt.

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2015, 12:16:44 PM »
Safety regulations have changed over time to align with current car seats. That's why car seats have an expiration date.

Actually, the expiration date exists because of the degradation of the plastic.  Most seats are exposed to wide variations of hot and cold temps, which can become an issue over time and won't become apparent until you are in an accident.  A LATCH compatible seat will work with a 10yo LATCH compatible car.

I was referring to cars that are pre-LATCH system. I've used my FIL's car that is pretty old and the seat belt didn't work properly and their was no LATCH system. Thanks for the clarification on the plastic.

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2015, 12:26:24 PM »
That preschool is a $17400 luxury you cannot afford. It also has absolutely no effect on child development. If you aren't working, how does this make any sense? Find a church or reasonable daycare when you get a job.

If the market value of quality daycare is really 1450/kid, you should just open your own daycare. You'd make way more than working.

I explained my situation in another response. This is by no means a luxury. REPEAT: all "affordable" child cares have long waiting lists and are not much cheaper. Most require after and before school care which comes out to even more when you add the 3 together.

I a have bachelor's in mechanical engineering, graduate cert in project management, and I finish my MS in IT/PM in 6 weeks. The only reason I haven't worked is because my husband was in the military for 7 years. He literally just got out 6 weeks ago. This is my opportunity to finally have a career. I'm a little frustrated that people are not focusing on the question at hand :-/

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2015, 12:29:50 PM »
I think the reality here, is that you have to have a car in your situation so not having one isn't an option.

That said, leasing is not a good idea at all.  Buy the cheapest car you won't hate, pay it off as soon as possible (or preferably right off the bat), and then keep paying down that SL debt.

Thanks for the reasonable response! It sounds silly but I just assumed that $10k was the price to pay for a car that would last a long time. Now I understand that I can pay a few thousand and be fine which is what I'll do :)

Sibley

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2015, 12:55:19 PM »
Your life is in the midst of big changes. Try to make decisions that are flexible if they turn out to be not the best later. And congrats on the masters!

Regarding day care - do you have friends or family in the area? I know a SAHM who'd be willing to take another kid and get some extra cash. Yes, it'd be informal, but if they're a friend, you know them, and it would be a lot less money for you.

Once you're working, you can try with SoFi again, or others (if there are any, I'm not aware). Doesn't hurt to try.

rocketman48097

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2015, 01:22:21 PM »
Can't you buy out your lease for cheaper than 10K? 

RexualChocolate

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2015, 02:29:59 PM »
I explained my situation in another response. This is by no means a luxury. REPEAT: all "affordable" child cares have long waiting lists and are not much cheaper. Most require after and before school care which comes out to even more when you add the 3 together.

I a have bachelor's in mechanical engineering, graduate cert in project management, and I finish my MS in IT/PM in 6 weeks. The only reason I haven't worked is because my husband was in the military for 7 years. He literally just got out 6 weeks ago. This is my opportunity to finally have a career. I'm a little frustrated that people are not focusing on the question at hand :-/

The question at hand depends on faulty assumptions. Since you're on a board that focuses on financial optimization and money is fungible, the questions are identical.

For example, this is the same fallacy as being an avid couponer while spending $1000/month on restaurants and bars.

Again, if the going rate is really 1450 a month for daycare, let me know and I'll move there and open a daycare business. Never heard of anything close to that in 3 major metro areas with higher COLAs than Philadelphia.

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2015, 04:04:40 PM »
Your life is in the midst of big changes. Try to make decisions that are flexible if they turn out to be not the best later. And congrats on the masters!

Regarding day care - do you have friends or family in the area? I know a SAHM who'd be willing to take another kid and get some extra cash. Yes, it'd be informal, but if they're a friend, you know them, and it would be a lot less money for you.

Once you're working, you can try with SoFi again, or others (if there are any, I'm not aware). Doesn't hurt to try.

Thank you!!!

And no, I don't know anyone here. That would be ideal...

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2015, 04:07:46 PM »
Can't you buy out your lease for cheaper than 10K?

Right now we are paying $240/month and the residual is $14k I believe. I think that's about right if the car was $23k in 2012...

WIJG

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2015, 04:21:36 PM »
I explained my situation in another response. This is by no means a luxury. REPEAT: all "affordable" child cares have long waiting lists and are not much cheaper. Most require after and before school care which comes out to even more when you add the 3 together.

I a have bachelor's in mechanical engineering, graduate cert in project management, and I finish my MS in IT/PM in 6 weeks. The only reason I haven't worked is because my husband was in the military for 7 years. He literally just got out 6 weeks ago. This is my opportunity to finally have a career. I'm a little frustrated that people are not focusing on the question at hand :-/

The question at hand depends on faulty assumptions. Since you're on a board that focuses on financial optimization and money is fungible, the questions are identical.

For example, this is the same fallacy as being an avid couponer while spending $1000/month on restaurants and bars.

Again, if the going rate is really 1450 a month for daycare, let me know and I'll move there and open a daycare business. Never heard of anything close to that in 3 major metro areas with higher COLAs than Philadelphia.

Really? You're comparing a decision I  made for my child based on cleanliness, nutrition, safety, and other significant factors to going to restaurants and bars??? Like you said, let's keep it focused on money, not on extremely personal decisions. I don't have to divulge every detail about my child and her needs on this forum to get advice about my car situation...do I?

You really should come here and open a day care.  The two that just opened in my neighborhood are $2,000/month plus food. It has nothing to do with COL. It's about demand. Oh, unless you think I should drive out of the city during rush hour with my $500 POS car to a cheaper area to drop my kid off at school?

zurich78

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Re: Pay Student Loans or Purchase a Car?
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2015, 08:18:27 AM »
I explained my situation in another response. This is by no means a luxury. REPEAT: all "affordable" child cares have long waiting lists and are not much cheaper. Most require after and before school care which comes out to even more when you add the 3 together.

I a have bachelor's in mechanical engineering, graduate cert in project management, and I finish my MS in IT/PM in 6 weeks. The only reason I haven't worked is because my husband was in the military for 7 years. He literally just got out 6 weeks ago. This is my opportunity to finally have a career. I'm a little frustrated that people are not focusing on the question at hand :-/

The question at hand depends on faulty assumptions. Since you're on a board that focuses on financial optimization and money is fungible, the questions are identical.

For example, this is the same fallacy as being an avid couponer while spending $1000/month on restaurants and bars.

Again, if the going rate is really 1450 a month for daycare, let me know and I'll move there and open a daycare business. Never heard of anything close to that in 3 major metro areas with higher COLAs than Philadelphia.

$1,450/month doesn't sound crazy.  My cousin had twins and they found out it would make more sense financially for her to stay home than to put two kids in day care since the cost of putting kids in day care was greater than any reasonable income she could potentially make.  (I live in Southern California which is even pricier than PA).

From a day care worker in Philly:  "You won't find actual figures online, but when I worked at a day care, the monthly price for a full-time infant was about $1300-1500."

http://forums.thebump.com/discussion/12040098/average-cost-of-daycare-in-philly

Let us know how your daycare business is doing? =P