December 2008 Personal Update

A lot has happened recently. My wife is expecting in April, we bought our first new car, and I recently changed teams at work and turned down an interview at another company.

Baby: Our first baby is on the way and everything is healthy and good so far. We’ve received a few gifts so far and the only purchase we’ve made so far is a crib and a change table. The crib and change table we opted for are a bit more expensive than others (see, however, they should last a long time and actually transform into chairs and a desk, respectively, when the kids get older, which might save a bit of money later on. The next big purchase is going to be a stroller and a car seat. We’re looking at getting a car seat that can handle up to 30lbs (see Graco SafeSeat), to get more use out of it which may end up saving money later, or maybe not. Our stroller will be something that folds up and that comes with a bassinet attachment so hopefully we can get away with just the one stroller and maybe a compact umbrella stroller and a Baby Bjorn and that’s it. An acquaintance of mine has 8 strollers (2 kids with 1 more on the way) and I still haven’t figured out why. Kids certainly are expensive and with these recent purchases and a 1 week vacation coming up (our last one before kids!) we have certainly found ourselves spending less on other things. We didn’t do any Boxing Day shopping this year and didn’t buy ourselves any big presents.

Car: We bought a new car. Our other car was a 2-door and we figured it would be awkward to take the car seat in and out of that car, not to mention the fact that the trunk is fairly small. So we bought a nice new wagon. We felt that good mileage and low carbon emissions were important so we bought the most efficient wagon possible. We also wanted safety features like airbags, ABS, stability control, which our old car didn’t have. We’re just trying to sell our old car now (we’re selling privately because you can get more money that way, rather than trading it in to the dealership). Speaking of cars, I also did some repairs on my old 4-door Tercel. They were a bit expensive but it’s still cheaper to maintain an old car than it is to buy a new one.

Work: I am in the process of transitioning from one team to another, the first big change since I started at my present company 1.5 years ago. I recently had the opportunity to interview at a large, successful software company but turned it down because I would be missing out on opportunities at my current company. Having been there for 1.5 years already, I’m in a good position right now. I know lots of people there now, I know the business and the technology so I can be productive and possibly get some more promotions eventually. If I switch to a new company I have to start the whole process of meeting people and becoming acquainted with a new business all over again. I enjoy doing that but not every 1.5 years. Not only that, but at my current company I have built up a bit of seniority now and I can take 2 months parental leave and work part time after that, and work from home from time to time in order to spend more time with my wife and baby. Doing something like that would be very difficult just starting out with a new company.

2 thoughts on “December 2008 Personal Update”

  1. Love the blog! I have a ton to learn about Canadian finance–I’m an American expat here.

    Congrats on the baby! Just wanted to throw a couple ideas out there based on your upcoming purchases. You might want to think about what kind of carseat and carrier you’ll want to use when your child is an older toddler or even preschooler. For example, when my daughter turned 40 pounds and outgrew her carseat, I did some research and realized it was still safer for her to be in a harnessed seat for as long as possible. So we have her in a Radian Premier (the Britax Marathon is comparable). Once I found these options, I realized these could have been used with her as a toddler (and perhaps with an infant?). But my understanding is that the safest carseats for babies are the ones designed for babies. Anyway, if you are going to have to buy two different carseats anyway and want to keep your child harnessed longer, I would suggest getting an infant carseat for your baby, and when they grow out of it, switch to one of the above which will take your child to 65 or 80 pounds. Don’t be like me and end up buying 3 different seats.

    As for the Baby Bjorn, most people find that they get uncomfortable with older babies (6 months?). Also they aren’t as good for a baby’s spine as they are in a dangling position. So here’s something to consider. Perhaps you might get a sling for your newborn–there’s nothing more comfortable for them. They can even sleep in a sling and if your wife nurses, it can be done discreetly in a sling. Then when your baby gets older, switch to a carrier like the Ergo or the Beco. These carriers can be used with older babies on up to preschoolers. They are designed to be very comfortable for the parent, and the baby is in a seated position, so better for the spine.

    Anyway, just some ideas–with the exception of carseats, you can likely find some good secondhand items. 🙂 Erin

  2. PS. Here’s the other reason to consider an infant carseat now. Your baby is likely to fall asleep in the carseat, and it’s so convenient to be able to easily take the carseat in an our of the car, and use the handle to carry baby inside the house, to a restaurant, etc. With most convertible carseats, you aren’t going to be able to do that, and every time you take the baby from the car, you’re going to have to unstrap them from the seat. And depending what stroller you get, some people like the travel systems, where an infant carseat can go right into a stroller base.

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