An Argument Against Toddler Birthday Parties

birthdayRepeat after me: Not choosing to hold a birthday party for your toddler, does not mean you love them any less. It does not mean there will be a horrible void in their childhood. It does not mean you are a bad parent.

My son’s second birthday is fast approaching and after numerous conversations with my husband, it really doesn’t seem like we’re going to be hosting a birthday party and I am sick of being guilted into feeling like I am a terrible mother for making this decision.

First of all, it is not uncommon for parents to spend hundreds of dollars on a birthday party. This is completely absurd considering 48% of Canadians live paycheque to paycheque. It’s not as though this is on purpose either. But when you factor in the costs of possible venue, activities, food, cake, presents, goodie bags (don’t even get me started on goodie bags) – how do parents stand a chance?

And think about it. I recently attended a birthday party for a one year old that her mom went above and beyond for. It was Strawberry Shortcake themed, the food was lovely, there were lots of balloons for the kids to play with and you know what the birthday girl did for 80% of the party?… Sleep. Even if she was awake the entire party, she wouldn’t remember it but instead children remember how their caretakers made them feel overall. That they felt loved, secure and cherished.

Finally, I have to ask: are birthday parties at such a young age really for the kids? Or are they for ourselves to a certain extent? If you have birthday parties for ages 1, 2, 2.79 – whatever, and it works for your family and makes you happy – that’s great! I just want you to ask why. Is it societal pressure? Social media? Because it’s just the thing to do?

This isn’t to say that when my son’s birthday comes, I’m going to ignore it. We’ll celebrate in our own way. By doing what he wants that day, (yes, even if that means 5 hours of watching Paw Patrol…), getting cupcakes and showering him with love and attention. The point of this is to say that parenting involves a lot of hard choices and in this case – I choose financial responsibility.

Buy Nice or Cry Twice

As of today I am 36w1d pregnant with my second little boy so I am expected to give birth… In another 8 years, or so it feels like. Since my due date is getting scarily close, little man and I went out today to get a breast pump!

january-5

I’m pretty frugal when it comes to most things for children. Clothes, books, even some furniture can be bought at consignment stores for significantly less than retail price and still be in fabulous condition. However, there was something about making the leap and buying a second hand breast pump on the Buy/Sell page that I kept thinking, “I should hold off” and “something tells me I need to look into this more.”

An excellent explanation I found was:

“In an open system, the pump’s motor can be exposed to your milk. This is important because the milk that is unintentionally drawn into the pump can often go unnoticed. This can result in mold growth and transmission of viruses.”

“A closed system breast pump is designed to keep every drop of your expressed milk away from the pump’s motor and into your collection container. This decreases the possibility of mold growth and infectious particles. Closed system pumps are considered more hygienic because they have a barrier, such as a filter, which catches any milk before it reaches the pumps working parts.”

Ultimately, I ended up picking up a Medela Swing Breastpump which is an open system pump and designed for one user. (There was even a warning notice in the box!) But the main thing I have learned from this experience is when it comes to anything regarding hygiene or where infection/disease could possibly be transmitted, do your research. Sometimes frugal isn’t always best.

RIP $248

Financial Resolutions

2016I think about money… A lot. More than probably the average person which is why I had to create a blog so I could stop pestering my husband with personal finance articles that I find interesting.

So, here goes for my financial goals for 2017:

  • Learn how to cut my son’s hair instead of going to a barber
  • Make sure to check the Buy/Sell page before making medium/large purchases
  • Increase saving from 10% to 15%
  • Utilize the library more
  • Drink more water
  • Learn how to freezer prep meals like a pro
  • For the love of all that is good, finally cancel cable

Personally, I find that the smaller day-to-day purchases are what eat up a lot of my spare cash and that hopefully I can get better with being more mindful that $5 here and there adds up quickly…

Never, Ever Pay for a Car Accident Out of Pocket

car insuranceLast week I was sitting with a girlfriend over coffee and during a pause in conversation she mentioned, “remember that time I almost paid someone $750 for hitting their car? Thank God you stopped me, haha. That would’ve been a horrible mistake!” And tonight I’ve been thinking about that moment and the fact of the matter is so many people pay for damage caused by car accidents when they shouldn’t.

I worked as an automobile adjuster for a few years, (in two different provinces, too!) but it was long enough for me to learn a few things about the industry and how it works. Keep in mind, this post isn’t directed for people with provincial automobile insurance, (I’m looking at you, BC).

  1. A regular Canadian citizen doesn’t know how to determine fault. There are so many misconceptions about who is at fault in accidents, that people often have false information. Best example, parking lots are not automatically 50/50.
  2. When vehicles go into the body shop, they often find additional damages, which yes, most of the time are legitimate. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t ready to pay for the additional damages, which brings me to my next point…
  3. This scenario does happen more often than not… Person A hits Person B’s vehicle, pays for the repairs and everything is seemingly fine and no one has even had to speak to each other since the accident. However, when Person B goes to renew their insurance, they mention, “Yes my vehicle was involved in a collision back in X month.” Boom. An insurance claim gets opened, more often than not there are lingering damages found from said accident, and now, finally Person B has fully repaired their vehicle. Person A has no options to get their money back, and is now found at fault for an accident, despite paying for damages out of pocket.

Ultimately, your auto insurance premiums can go up or down for a plethora of reasons that are beyond your control from how the market is, to age, to crime rates in your area. It’s never solely based on your claims history.

I hope this blog saves at least one person a headache in the future 🙂