This is my favourite time of the year, and as I mentioned in this post about some of my family’s go-to holiday traditions that we’ve built over the years, it’s one that’s heavily entrenched in ritual, tradition and magic for me. While I’m ordinarily not someone who likes to be too bound by routine, when it comes to the holidays, there’s something really special in the routine, particularly when it’s shared with the ones you love.
Matt and I are both so close to our families and both our families have very deeply rooted holiday traditions, so it’s crazy to think about how things will (hopefully!) be different next year. I may have kind of mentioned this lightly in other posts, but this
coming year, we’re going to try to expand our family! Excited, scared…literally all the emotions, but particularly just nervous presently for so many reasons, from hoping things go well from a purely biological perspective and that everything’s okay in that area (I’ve gotten checked up on as well as I can in that regard but you just never know) to anticipating the big, life-changing responsibility and changes that will come! I feel like people don’t talk about it enough but as much as you might be excited about something big like this, it’s also really scary!
We’ve talked about a lot of hypotheticals that we just are going to have to feel out or grow into, including our new holiday traditions (like coming to the Vancouver Christmas Market with our little one someday, given that it’s one tradition we tend to do just the two of us!) and making space for our own set of rituals as a little family in the future. But being a bit of an over thinker, I’ve been really trying to apply myself to the things that I can actually have some control over. One thing we’ve been trying to actively prep ourselves for with these big changes hopefully coming our way is to take ownership over our finances.
We’ve been together for so long (12 years just about!) so we literally grew up together from the time we were 19—though we were technically adults, we really weren’t when we first started dating. We’ve never shared finances despite living together for half of our relationship, and making moves to expand our family and looking into a new home means we’ll have to start getting comfortable with combining our finances a bit more! I shared in this post how we’re using RBC’s tools to help us prep in our home search, and now, we’re applying ourselves in the same way to prepping financially for baby! I’ve been with RBC since I was born (and I got Matt on board when he was 22 or so, so he’s now a long-term client too!) so given that this is a bank we both trust so much, we’re obviously making use of their incredible tools!
One thing I’ve been using for some time now is the amazing NOMI Find & Save tool that works for you to understand your spending patterns, finding extra money you won’t miss and automatically sets it aside for you—if you’re worried about it setting aside savings you can’t afford, you actually get a push notification alerting you every time you have money saved. It’s crazy how much your savings can add up by simply setting it aside but particularly because I don’t get paid on a bi-weekly basis with the same amount of money, it can be hard to determine how much to set aside every month. I love that this does the work for me and helps me determine (in a safe way so that I don’t feel panicked about transferring too much out!) how I can put away bit by bit to keep racking up my savings.
On that note, since I work for myself I’m hoping to save up and be able to rely on my savings for a few months since I won’t get maternity leave (other than what my boss aka me will give me, which is likely max 3 months). While I’m aggressively and manually setting aside savings currently, having NOMI Find & Save see how I can save proactively is so amazing, especially during the holidays when we’re maybe spending a bit more on gift shopping, parties, events, etc (or if you’re me, taking advantage of some of the sales and doing a little early gift giving to yourself). Best part is, that if I need the money to cover an upcoming expense, NOMI Find & Save will automatically transfer the money back. Also really relying on these 6 tips for a worry-free parental leave RBC has provided, especially the tips on selling things we need to get rid of to create space (both physically and otherwise) and picking and choosing what you really need because even in our preliminary research it feels like we’ll need so much stuff and from what all our new parent friends have been saying, you really don’t.
Another thing we’re working on is to start setting up a financial plan, but key word…doing it together! As I mentioned, we are extremely independent in our finances to the point that it’s been actually inconvenient (I pay rent, he pays for groceries & utilities, we then have to do a whole spreadsheet every month, blah blah blah). Since this is new territory for us, not only do we want the support to set up the right plan for ourselves but to have someone with serious expertise mediate the process for us. RBC has an incredible financial planning service called MyAdvisor that allows you to connect online or in-person at your local branch with a financial planner to really provide full support.
If you guys have already gone through the process of planning for a new family member, I’d love to hear some tips! And please check out RBC for ways to empower yourself financially, whether it’s saving for a new baby, a new home, hitting a savings goal, planning for retirement and more!
This post was created in partnership with RBC but all opinions are my own