Tuesday, 9 March 2010

A penny saved

A colleague recently asked me how much it costs to have a baby. I quickly rattled off a list of the major expenses like daycare, diapers, clothes and a few other essential items and left it at that. When I think back to my answer though, I realize I grossly understated the costs for her.

The child-rearing expenses certainly don't end once your kid is out of diapers and daycare! There are the health care costs (even in Canada), school expenses to pay for, grocery bills longer than your arm, and heaven forbid your child wants to play organized sports or takes up a musical instrument! Don't even get me started on what a post-secondary education is going to cost when/if the time comes. What it all amounts to is one heck of a bill when all is said and done!

So, short of resorting to illegal activity, how the heck are we supposed to pay for these little angels?

Here are a few approaches we're taking to save for Abner's future...
  • We recently opened an RESP. Twice a year, I have a three-paycheque month. My plan is to take one of these bonus paycheques and dump it into the RESP account. Hopefully, I won't even notice the money is gone because it will be just like every other two-paycheque month.
  • Each week I take out $40 spending money for things like lunches (when I'm too lazy to make something in the morning), the occasional coffee, laundry, and other miscellaneous items. If there is any money left over at the end of the week, it goes into Abner's piggy bank. Some weeks she gets $20 and others she gets nothing, so it probably averages $5/week. Not bad for an almost-two-year-old.
  • Whenever we take back our empties, the deposit money goes straight into her piggy bank. The best part of this approach is that it's great motivation to drink more, because really - it's for Abner!
  • We've also been putting some of her birthday/Christmas money into a savings account for her.
Do you have any saving tips you'd like to share?


  1. Clearly finances are not high on everyone's list of hot topics. Oh well!

  2. i'm behind in my reading - just got this! you are very good about spending money and such - motivation! and we never take back our empties - what a waste! i was just thinking about starting to do that - maybe...

    cheers to abner's good financial future!

  3. OK, I'm rarely a commentor (commentator) but here goes:

    #1 - cloth diapers. Seriously. Even with having communal pay-laundry in our condo we're way ahead of the game, and that's WITH having wasted some cash on g-diapers, which were great for the first month and a half, but just turned to crap, or, well, leaked it all over every single time. Staying committed is as easy as remembering how long a plastic diaper takes to break down.

    #2 - Meal plans. Holy crap I can spend money on food - not going out, but buying groceries and cooking like I think I'm some sort of chef. Helen and I keep me reeled in with a plan each week. It helps keep me from jumping across to the grocery store / market every day after work and buying just a few more things than we need. Major savings here, and I get to daydream about what we're going to have for dinner because I know what I'm going to cook.

    #3 - Craft Beer. Alright, this is a bit counter-intuitive, but I love me some good beer, and in the past few months have discovered that one amazing craft beer (Phillips Amnesiac double IPA / pretty much anything unibrou etc...) at somewhere around 8% is a way better deal, and a better treat than a sixer of buck-a-bear. Helen did some maths and per-ml the stuff is in-line with pretty much anything else anyway.

    #4 - Make beer at home and refill those awesome big craft bottles with your own personal concoction. Dan's on hastings is the oracle.

    #5 - Used books - We found companion bookstore in Burnaby http://www.companionbook.com/
    Reading is good, and takes up a lot of time where we could be spending money.

    #6 - pirate movies and TV shows. Officially I don't do this, but I imagine you could save a bundle on cable and rentals because from what I hear every movie ever and every TV show ever can be had.

  4. Mmm. Beer. Home brewing is a good hobby but it doesn't start to save you any money for a while...but it tastes way better than anything you get in a bar these days.

    A good budget. Know what you spend, keep receipts for a couple of months, figure out where you can cut a bit, bank the savings.

    The key for me and savings is out of sight out of mind. ING Direct has automatic savings withdrawl from your main account so I've set it up to take $10 here, $25 there and I never think to check the accounts or move the money. Voila - savings!

    all the change goes in big jars - in awkward, hard to reach areas of the house so we're not tempted to poach - and once a year we roll it. last xmas we had $300 to spend from pocket change.

    also - USED. Clothes, toys, shoes. Kids don't care if it's new or not, until they're older anyway. Mine got a slew of books and toys from Value Village, I spent $25 total on them this past xmas. More money for beer!

  5. -we also take back our empties, but the money goes to our "take out Fridays" fund, not Lexi's piggy bank - naughty Mommy!

    -meal planning is great. We have take out once a week as a treat. We rarely eat in an actual restaurant (sad but true)

    -we borrow books and DVDs from the library

    -I ALWAYS buy clothes and shoes, etc on sale if not hand-me-down or used

    -I clip coupons and use them

    -I buy no name brands of certain things, but some things are sacred around here (tampax, heinz ketchup and good eggs are a must around here)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...