:::: MENU ::::

Birthday Help – The Big 21


We are just a month away from the twins’ 21st birthday. I cannot believe it.

Sea Cadet and I have already spoken and for his birthday I am going to pay for an eye exam and new glasses for him. It’s a need and one he really can’t afford now, living on his FEMA stipend. And it’s one that he really wants. (He must wear glasses to drive and his current ones are in sorry shape.)

I’ve become a big fan of the Wal-mart Vision Center since I took Princess there this summer to get her new glasses. Their exam fee (at least here locally is $80) and then the cost of glasses. For Princess, the glasses came to right at $135. We were both very pleased.

Morning homework session with Princess.

But the problem is History Buff. He has this expectation that since he didn’t have a “sweet 16,” his 21st birthday should be a special occasion. So I’m coming here to the BAD community to ask parents of older kids…how did you celebrate your child’s 21st birthday?

(I should say I don’t drink alcohol, never have, and I know that’s a big thing at your 21st birthday. So I figured when we went out for his birthday dinner, I would get him an alcoholic drink…if he wants one. But I’m certainly not going any further down that path.)

But I’d love to hear what you have done to make your kids 21st birthdays stand out or special. His ideas were a brand new computer or an all expense trip to Canada…absolutely not happening and I told him that. Outside of our family dinner, I typically spend $50 on their birthday. I’m not opposed to spending more for a need. But birthday’s are typically about wants.



Surgery Day


Howdy from the bus, on which I am journeying to the hospital for my surgery. It’s a quick bus ride for me and I have to Uber home (Mike is meeting me at the hospital), so I thought I’d save money one way. I’m a bit nervous, and this is a welcome distraction. Like Hope’s post earlier, this is a bit of a personal update from me. This is composed on the WordPress mobile app, so I’ll take a look later to see that the formatting is ok!

City Blues

Anxiety has plagued me since the moment I pulled out of the driveway at the cottage. I’m not a city person. I had to deal with a work “emergency” yesterday, which annoyed me. Why bother even taking vacation time? I dread checking email, dread going to the office, dread new requests piling on to my crazy workload. I. Am. Done. My job is generous and I knew what I was signing up for, but family and spending time outside are just so much more important to me. I am now working on a concrete plan to be out of Toronto in the next two to three years. It’s going to be tough, because my salary is almost certainly going to drop, potentially significantly.

At a bare minimum, I need to do the following before I go:

  • Eliminate consumer debt and student loan (I’m not worried about my car loan for now, but if I can pay it off early, I will)
  • Figure out if I’m going to try and stay in tech. There are hardly any jobs in my field outside of Toronto. I would struggle in Vancouver or Montreal, let alone in the country where I’d like to be. Software is done in Toronto and Waterloo, Ontario, for the most part.
  • Save for a down payment for a house

That’s a tall order but I am happy that I’m beginning to figure this all out. I’m not used to having a plan. It’s funny, as soon as I started making a list, my anxiety started to wane.

Speaking of Plans…

Hope has me thinking about the holidays. I don’t buy anyone fancy gifts, but I do like to show up with wine and homemade goods for people as I’m visiting or hosting friends from near and far. There is no savings allocation for this in my budget, and I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.

Another worrisome upcoming expense is pet-related. My 15 year old cat has pretty bad breath, and I think he’s due for some extractions. The vet noted the bad teeth about four years ago and said we can leave it until it affects his ability to eat. We aren’t there yet, but I don’t want my little old man cat to be in pain. His teeth are brown and gnarly, but otherwise he’s playful as ever. He fetches, pounces on bugs, and bullies the dog all day. Euthanasia doesn’t seem like a great option when extracting all his teeth would be about $700, and could prolong his life for a few years. He hasn’t been to the vet since 2015. He’s an easygoing kitty.

For many readers, both of the above items are discretionary and could be avoided. To me, they greatly impact my well-being. Something has to give in my budget, because I can’t see myself having any boarders or rover gigs for the next couple months. Well, maybe a boarder but definitely not a rover gig while I’m healing from hand surgery.

I understand the need for a proper, specific, 100% allocated budget to account for these items. I can’t move forward with debt reduction and savings goals unless I commit to doing the work of figuring out exactly where my money goes. Money is such a mental hurdle for me.

Time for Surgery!

Thanks for the distraction, readers. It’s time for me to head in. I’ll post an update Monday to let you all know how it went, but I’ll check comments here over the weekend as well.