Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Money money money

Tons of pregnant women in Calgary - not surprising considering 10,000 babies were born here last year! Still, its quite a sight to see an auditorium full of pregnant women or for that matter only pregnant women lining up in a queue outside the restrooms. That's exactly what I saw and was part of yesterday, when I attended the course 'Budgeting for babies'.

The course itself was okay. The presenters touched on various aspects on how the new arrival would impact our finances, ranging from living on a reduced income, to setting up RESPs to save for the child's college education. Also discussed were birth certificates, wills, life and other forms of insurance and child tax benefits (if applicable). For a free course, it did a fairly good job of at least introducing the several topics new parents will need to consider.

Under the section of cutting expenses and coupon clipping were of course the 3 standard recommendations:
1.) Breast feed
2.) Cloth diaper
3.) Make your own baby food

Apparently these measures can save you about $2000 - $3000 over the course of a couple of years! Impressive, but easy to implement?

1.) I see too many people around me - people I know personally, people on TV programs, people I know distantly from online bulletin boards - all having tried and failed to breastfeed successfully. On one hand there is Jack Newman who insists in his book that its fairly simple and straightforward. On the other hand are all these people, some of whom have gone through considerable pain and difficulty before moving on to formula feeding. Would some of these cases been resolved with some professional assistance? Some maybe but not all. My friend consulted 2 different lactation consultants and 2 different breast surgeons and went through a lot of pain before throwing in the towel. My point is that while breastfeeding should be encouraged and supported, its not really a question of choice for many people. Certainly I will 'choose' to breastfeed. But I also hope luck is on my side to help.

2.) Cloth diapering: Don't know enough about this to comment yet. Intend to find out more over the next couple of weeks. Good for the environment and the wallet for sure, but how troublesome is it to keep doing additional loads of laundry every other day? And if you factor in the the water and the detergent and the electricity for the laundry, is there really any savings in money or in terms of environmental impact?

3.) Baby food: easily 6 months away. Sure, I'll make my own baby food.... Or something, when I get to it. Again, I've got to wonder though, how much is the cost savings really? Baby food does not seem very expensive - 65c for a bottle of Presidents Choice Organic baby food, that will probably last for a couple of feedings. Is it really worth the time and effort to make your own food at home? One benefit that I can see is that baby will get used to things that we eat at home (rasam and sambar saadam) - but that's not a cost benefit really.

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