Anyone who says that December is the most expensive month of the year doesn’t have children.

This month, we spent:

  • $100+ on school supplies for the boys
  • $1000 for Sarah’s year of preschool (three mornings per week)
  • $250 for Evan’s band fees
  • $135 for Alex’s Boys’ Choir fees
  • $70 for first term of Highland Dance for Sarah
  • $118 for Alex’s Cub Registration
  • $30 for the boys’ Religious Education fees
  • $60 for indoor sneakers

This does not include the $200 my parents paid for Sarah’s ballet year as a gift, the approximately $50/month we pay for Alex’s music lessons, nor the amounts we pay out for D’Arcy’s teaching.  Next month, we’ll have basketball & curling registrations and will consider ourselves lucky that Olivia won’t be in any paid-for activities until next year.  (Also that she’s long out of diapers and that awful, expensive formula and that our boys don’t play hockey!!)

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining!  I’m grateful that our children have these opportunities to participate in a variety of activities and are discovering what their passions are.  They are making friends and learning new skills that will serve them well in life.  We want them to participate in these things.

It’s just that this has been a very expensive month and regardless of how tired we are at this point, we’re just happy that when September rolls around, we’re still busy with guests each night.


An expensive day

February 7, 2009

We had an expensive day around here yesterday.  The girls & I were scheduled for haircuts in the morning, so I was running around getting ready.  I put my purse & Olivia’s epi-pen bag by the back door and went scurrying around some more.  I got the girls dressed, went to the door, and discovered the epi-pen bag open & empty.   With an increasing sense of dread, I asked the girls where the epi-pens were and Olivia took me into the tv room.  There, in the middle of the floor was one epi-pen, intact, in its case.  The other had been set off.  Aargh – there goes $120 since our insurance only covers two/year.

We went and got our haircuts although those only cost $40 for the three of us including tip.  We love Patti!!  Afterwards, we went to get Sarah’s glasses fixed (still under warranty – phew) and then to the Post Office to mail a baby gift to Russia.  We had packed five of the “classic” board books and some of the girls tiny special dresses into a Rice Krispie Box to send to baby Masha.  The parcel weighed 2kg.  To send the package surface was $40 which I thought was reasonable.  (It is going to Russia after all…)  Then the clerk informed me it would arrive in 2-3 MONTHS!  I really would like the dresses to get there before the poor child is off to school, so I sent them air – for $78.58.  I wonder if that parcel gets its own seat on the airplane…

As I’ve mentioned before, my laptop seems to have a virus and probably a super worm too.  My brother is going to clear everything off of it and reload everything from scratch for us, so I’ve been working madly saving, printing and deleting emails (I had over 2000 in my in box!) and moving everything I need to save onto removable drives.  D’Arcy went out and bought two 4GB drives to allow me to do that.  Luckily, they were on sale, so they were only $30.  Then we discovered that we have 14GB of photos & videos on our hard-drive!  So for $100, we’ve had to get a 16GB drive for those.  

Do I dare wonder what’s next?!

The Cost of Living

February 2, 2009

One of my goals for 2009 is to get organized again and go back to living on a budget, keeping track of what we spend on things.  When we found out about Olivia’s allergies & she started drinking Alimentum formula ($1.75/serving), I stopped keeping track because I figured we had to buy food that suited her diet, so why stress myself out about how much it was costing?!  It’s hard for us to set a budget for food and stick to it, because obviously we spend more when there are guests in the house.

I set up a spread sheet and kept track of everything we spent in the grocery store or in restaurants for the month and was astounded to discover when I totaled it all up, that we spent $1334.72 to feed our family this month!  Of that, $113.50 was eating out and $175.94 was on milk!  (Just cartons of rice milk, soy milk & cow milk – not including yogurt, cheese, coffee cream, etc.)  13% of our grocery bill is milk!  Crazy.

As it is, I don’t feel we go crazy on food, but we do try to eat as well-balanced a diet as possible, with lots of fruits & vegetables.  I don’t buy many snack foods or processed food.  I plan our supper menus for the month and write it on the calendar to help me plan and also so that I don’t get lazy, and instead of coming up with something to make, just order out!  Each week we make homemade bread & chicken stock.  We eat vegetarian at least once a week, and I pack lunches for D’Arcy & the boys. 

We do buy the boys lunch at school once per month (lunch is $3.00/day/kid) and they have made a deal with their grandparents that they can earn lunch money sometimes for being helpful to them.  It astounds me that parents think they can’t pack a lunch for less than $3.00.  If we bought both boys lunch every day in February it would cost $120.  That’s a lot of juice boxes!  

I’m not quite sure how we’ll cut back this month.  Fresh produce are very expensive here at this time of year.  Maybe more soup & casseroles?  I’ll let you know how it goes next month…

(On a similar note, we recently got our power bill and after installing the new CFL’s all over our house, we are using 13 less kilowatt hours of electricity per day than at this time last year!)