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Life After Baby …

... aka Can I Have All That Money Back That I've Wasted Over The Past Few Years? It's 10 days A.J. (After Jaia), and I'll start by saying that fatherhood is an amazing experience. I'm so happy to finally meet the baby who's been brewing for 10 long months. She's a cutie, and I couldn't be happier. However, life has changed a lot. Some changes were expected (Shannen's pay cut for mat leave), but others have been a surprise (80 diapers in 9 days - that'salotta poop). The biggest change is in our priorities. As people, we have time and money. Some time must be devoted to making money. How you spend the rest of your time, and the money you bring in, is then up to you. The past few years we have definitely lived at or above our means, which is quite an accomplishment for two people with good jobs. We've bought and furnished two houses, went on several vacations, drive fairly new cars, and have more gadgets than we can find. Jaia's arrival has been an opportunity to review our lifestyle and rethink where our cash should really be going. We can't get back the money we spent on some less-than-useful things, and I have no regrets about the traveling we were able to do. But we can change what we do going forward, and we have to start living below our means to get out of debt and ensure our financial security for the future. We had a look at all of our recurring expenses and here are some of the things we found:
  • Remove all "wireless essentials" from our cell phones (call display, voicemail, etc). $20 per month.
  • Downgrade from HD cable to normal digital cable (football's over 😉 ). $15 per month.
  • Cut Shannen's gym membership to only-every-second-day. $20 per month..
  • Start to buy essentials from Wal-Mart: Dan's new snow boots were $25, instead of $100 at Aldo. Many of Shannen's "maternity" shirts were just XL shirts from Wal-mart, $10 instead of $75 from Thyme Maternity or similar. Somewhat painful in terms of fashion, but makes a huge difference every time you can find something tolerable.
  • Also, groceries at Wal-Mart. If you haven't checked out prices of things like breakfast cereal, frozen entrees, bread products, coffee, and many other things, you should. You can save a ton of money with a weekly trip for essentials. I never thought I'd be a Wal-Mart regular, but here we are.
Anyone have any other hints for saving? I don't want to go as far as the Kris-and-Kurt money jar thing. Or maybe new revenue opportunities? Does anyone want to rent our pets? Gary? How about a cat for $6 a week ...
January 10, 2007 - 9:37 am

Lisa - It’s nice to have some company in this department. Joel and I have been living like that for a while now. I think I have become addicted to finding great ways to save. Here are a few tips: 1. Shop at Value Village and Goodwill ( we have found tons of clothes (some even brand new) from Mexx, Jacob, RW & Co etc. all for around $5!!!) Go on their 50% off days. It’s busy but worth it.
2. Grocery shop at No Frills or other non-fancy grocery stores. Example: Load of Country Harvest whole grain bread at Loblaws= $2.89 at No Frills = $2.09. Those prices differences really add up each week. There was a $5 difference in the price of one bag of grapes last week….Seriously!
3. Buy your kids clothes (and toys) at Consignment Shops. You can get GAP and Polo and other nice clothing for only a few dollars and they grow so fast anyway! Besides, you are helping out other moms and dad’s by buying stuff consignment!
I have more ideas but I think I took up too much space already. I warned you I was addicted!

January 10, 2007 - 10:19 am

Kevin - I cut on ‘branded’ fastfood coffee like starbucks, coffeebeans & seattle coffee. I buy fresh beans and brew the coffee myself. It saves a lot each month.

Instant will even be cheaper…but I won’t degrade myself to that….at least not yet. Ha!

January 10, 2007 - 10:34 am

Kristin - Hey! The money jar thing has funded a trip to Mexico. Can’t beat that.

I realize that the jars are not for everyone. We’re visual people…we need to see what we have that we can spend and what needs to be allocated elsewhere.

Taking the time to scan flyers for deals has paid off too. We pretty much buy the same stuff every week, so it’s easy to spot when a savings is worth a trip beyond your usual grocery store. I also now keep an eye open for in-store coupons…you know…the ones from the manufacturers, which may seem trivial but can really add up.

Good for you guys. Jaia’s lucky to have such financially intelligent parents. 🙂

January 10, 2007 - 10:47 am

Alicia - Definitely fun to have company in this department.

1. I cut out cable once we had Tehya.. Who has time for TV? I preferred to watch the seconds of the clock tick by as I mindlessly held a child to my chest.. -$55

2. I cut out the internet,sorta. Sneakily…my neighbour lets me wireless into his. (I suppose it’s not all that sneaky seeing as it’s with his permission.) -$55

3. I also dropped my cell phone and use my work phone..Shhhhh. -$100+ (yes, I was/am a cellphone abuser)

4. I got rid of my gym pass. -$45 Roads are free for running on.

5. I haven’t been to a movie in 5.4 years. (Other than kids movies..took the girls to Charlotte’s Web this weekend. Skye fell asleep, if I had left her home I could have saved $8.50 ;).

Over $250 a month in adjusting. I sound like a Quaker. I’m sooo not. It’s just about re-prioritizing. I have no problem dropping $100 on a night out when necessary and my kids are always dressed in the best. It all sorts itself out in the end.

January 10, 2007 - 11:51 am

Sonja - Save on those extortionist babysitting rates the kids are charging these by getting your friends to take care of Jaia.

January 10, 2007 - 1:33 pm

shannen - For the record – I love Kris and Kurt’s money jar because I too am a visual person…but my free time has shrunk down from overflowing to next to none, so I’m now a fan of the least time consuming methods of saving money. And those mostly involve Dan doing the research and me agreeing (if they don’t suck too much).

Budgeting bites.

January 12, 2007 - 9:43 am

mike machargo - I love the money saving ideas…to be honest, I’m either too slow or too impatient, I never understood Kurt and Kris’s Jar fiasco?? haha I love that its this time in our lives that we are all shocked and astonished by all the crap we used to do with our money, and now we are united in “SAVING”. But really, if you think there was a way to get some of our wasted money back…do you think we could…I sure would want all $8000 of my original OSAP back!! haha
But then that leads to …can I get my wasted “time” back too??

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