Everyone gets a bad haircut at some point in their life. This just happened to be by a 5-year old girl. At least it was free …
I should probably provide a little background about my history of cell phones first. To date I have put two in the washer, lost one on my birthday in a drunken stupor at a bar, and had one stolen while I was eating lunch at a cafe. Needless to say I am no stranger to having to replace my cell. Nowadays there is so much personal information on your cell, apps that allow you to remotely locate, wipe, and/or lock your phone are more important than ever. But do they really work?
So a few weeks ago I was at the playground with the family, and while I was sitting on the ground my iPhone must have slipped out of my pocket. I went home, gone through the usual night-time routine (dinner, bath, bedtime), and wanted to check my phone for messages. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I figured I’d see if it’s even in the house using the Find My iPhone app. Lo and behold, it says it’s still by the playground! I run back, retrace my steps, calling it with my wife’s phone … nothing. Now the playground is part of an apartment complex, so I figure a good samaritan at the playground must have picked it up. Sure enough, I send a message to the phone saying if found please call my wife’s number, and minutes later a get a call from a father who I remember seeing at the playground. Disaster averted. Whew!
While in this instance I was able to retrieve my phone, would I have been so lucky if it wasn’t lost at a playground? I doubt it. If someone had popped out my SIM card before I realized it was lost, I wouldn’t be able to communicate with the phone at all. So yes, Find My iPhone and similar apps are great, but it also relies on a kind-hearted person finding it.
I think RESP’s are a brilliant idea, provided your children go on to post secondary education. Where else are you going to get an instant 20% on top of your investment for basically nothing? While I do think there is value in your kids having “skin in the game” so they don’t coast through school with no purpose, we’d also like to help out as much as possible so they don’t have to compromise on their education because of finances. Hey, if they get accepted into Harvard or Stanford, we’ll find a way to make it happen without creating a mountain of debt.
I’m not going to get into details about RESP’s, since there is a host of great info already out there, like Mike Holman’s Money Smart Blog. What I want to talk about is the conundrum of trying to come up with the scratch to contribute $2,500 for each of my two girls each year in order to take full advantage of the CESG. After paying for your basic necessities, mortgage, car, daycare, utilities, house/car/life insurance (I can go
on but will stop here), what’s left? What about other savings? I think the average DINK (double income no kids) these days has a hard enough time living paycheque to paycheque. Now add two little girls to the mix …
Now I know you don’t have to start contributing right away and can wait until the kids are older and hopefully don’t cost as much (no more diapers, childcare, etc.). But I’m a strong believer in starting early and using the power of compound growth. Plus people tend to get
caught in the “I’ll start later” trap and end up never getting to it, as there always seems to be something else. Granted I am writing this while Mrs. Popthoughts is still on maternity leave, so the reduced income only highlights the difficulty for us at the moment.
So despite telling you how hard it is, we’ve managed to find the means to sock some money away for the girls’ RESP’s, but it hasn’t been easy and we’ve used money that was gifted to them. How about the other parents out there? Do you feel your budget is as stretched as ours? Do you manage to put away enough for your kids’ education? If not, don’t stress, because you’re probably not alone.
Okay, this is not so much a gripe, but more a reality check. Sometimes life gets in the way of letting you enjoy the things that are really important to you.
Time flies … really flies. In just less than two weeks my younger daughter is turning one. What happened??? It feels like I missed most of it somehow. =(
Seventy-five percent of our planet is water – can you swim? ~Author Unknown
I started doing my taxes the other day. Yes, I’m a bit of an eager beaver, but who isn’t when it comes to getting money back? I noticed that you can now claim up to $500 per child for both fitness and arts! This is a welcome bonus for parents who put their kids in every activity imaginable. We haven’t gone overboard (yet), but I thought I’d share my opinion on one of the girls’ activities, swimming at Aquaventures.
Neither Mrs. Popthoughts nor I are able to swim, so we agreed it was a must that our kids would learn how. Nothing sucks more than being on a beautiful beach staring out into clear blue water, and being afraid to dive in. It is a life skill I think everyone should have, and it would be nice to know our kids might be able to save mom or pop should we need it. =)
Aquaventures is a private pool specifically for children’s lessons. You can start your kid as early as 6 months old, and I found it really helped our girls build the foundation of getting comfortable in the water, learning how to breathe properly, etc. The instructors are great with the kids and are very good at easing any fears and encouraging them. Class sizes are nice and small – 6 for kids under 3 with a parent, and 4 for kids 3 and up who go on their own. My 3 year old started going without one of us in the pool with her this year, and I was afraid she’d be terrified. She started out a bit tentative, but sure enough, after about 3 lessons, she’s back to her daredevil self.
I have to say Aquaventures is pretty pricey, but I am in awe seeing the older kids doing lengths and working on technique! Granted we haven’t taken the girls anywhere else for lessons, so we have nothing to compare to, but anyone I have spoken to that has tried a community centre and Aquaventures says they just doesn’t compare. If that doesn’t convince you, just try registering your kid. You need to email them the exact second registration opens if you want a good shot at the time slot you want, or else you’ll have to take what you can or get on a waitlist and cross your fingers. Luckily once you’re “in the club”, you can re-register for the next session earlier.
Would taking the girls to any old place for lessons be just as good? Maybe. All I know is that my 3 year old daughter is already a better swimmer than her dad, even though that isn’t saying much.