S2E6: Shannon Lee Simmons: Your Money and Sleep! | Baby's Best Sleep

Amanda: (00:00)
Hey everybody, welcome to another edition of slumber party. I invite you to my slumber party, except unlike the ones you attended in the 90s. This one actually includes sleep for you, your children, and the entire family. Every week I have any unique guests or I answer a fun question about sleep to get you and your family, the sleep that you need. Today I talk to Shannon Lee Simmons, who’s the creator of the New School of Finance. You can find the New School of Finance at newschooloffinance.com or shannonleesimmons.com. Shannon Lee Simmons is a certified financial planner, chartered investment manager. You probably have seen her on TV talking to Matt Galloway in the morning on Metro Morning. She knows her shit when it comes to money. I actually hired, Liz from the New School of Finance to help me when I started off my business and I really can’t recommend them enough. Especially, you know, side note, if you’re a female and you’d like to talk to other females about your money, I just feel like I like that perspective as well. But Shannon Lee Simmons wrote Worry Free Money and Living Debt-Free. So you can buy either of those books if you like what she’s saying, but she also offers, you know, DIY financial planning online, some services there or you can work one on one with one of her team members. Last really cool thing about Shannon Lee Simmons is that, girl was four centimetres dilated! She’s pregnant with her second baby, knows her stuff. And we’re talking all about what you need to buy and what you absolutely do not need to buy, when you have a baby and how to save that money. I hope you really enjoyed the conversation. I got so much out of our 30 some odd minutes together. I hope you do too. This is a judgment free zone. All types of sleep are encouraged. So put on your headphones, walk around for the duration of a crap nap and just enjoy yourself.

Amanda: (02:12)
Hi everybody. We are flying by the seat of our pants today because I am talking with Shannon Lee Simmons who is in her own right, a pretty amazing woman. She is the founder of the New School of Finance. This is a company that I use personally. I didn’t work with Shannon, I worked with Liz, but it was so awesome when I first started my business full time, and I had no idea what I was frigging doing, because I’ve always been paid money and it goes into my bank account. It’s very, very fancy. And now it’s like, no, people just give you money and you have to be a grownup. And that was terrifying. But Liz in the New School of Finance really helped me. I reached out to Shannon because she is a wealth of knowledge. Shannon is a trailblazer in the Canadian financial planning industry. She’s won numerous awards. She’s a certified financial planner, chartered investment manager, media personality. She’s on the CBC Metro morning all the time. Marilyn Dennis. You probably know Shannon if you’re not living under a rock. And I invited Shannon because I think having a baby means money and speaking of having a baby, Shannon is four centimetres dilated and may have the baby today. So welcome Shannon.

Shannon: (03:38)
Hi! How are you?

Amanda: (03:38)
I am great! I mean you do all of these things and you’re probably going to have a baby and you’re doing a podcast. So this is truly, this is amazing.

Shannon: (03:49)
Yeah. Like I’m so excited to be here and I wouldn’t miss it and I’m so glad we were able to get this time together before who knows what will come tomorrow.

Amanda: (04:03)
100%. I mean we, we were kind of, I don’t want to terrify you, but I, you sound totally fine about this, but I do have a spidey sense about what people are going to have a baby and just something in my brain turned on last week and I was like, hey, let’s get on the phone now. Let’s just do this now.

Shannon: (04:23)
Ohmygosh you’re so right. Cause he’s not due for two weeks, so this is early but no. So, so happy to be here and babies do mean money. I love that you said that because I, you know, I sit down with a lot of people and talk about their finances and I’m a mom myself already and this’ll be my second. And the money factor is not, it shouldn’t play into your decision to have kids at all, but it is something that definitely impacts you once you’ve had them.

Amanda: (04:47)
Yes, 100%. And I think, you know, one of the things that I always preach and talk about is for sure, you know, using a service like mine, like a sleep consultant that does cost money. It is something to think about, but I can’t help but think, I am always told, so at the beginning of a a consultation, I’ll ask people, you know, how are we getting baby to sleep now and the amount of contraptions that people have bought and purchased and use and are promoted and sold to these moms as a “look, you need to buy this or your child won’t sleep.” And I just want to be like, “Oh my gosh, just give me the money. And your child will sleep forever”

Shannon: (05:25)
I know!

Amanda: (05:25)
Because eventually these things stop working. Sorry go ahead.

Shannon: (05:27)
Thats it! So what I often see on the front line of financial planning is, you know, there’s, I call it like baby proofing your finances a little bit. And so there’s three different ways to look at that. So the first is like the baby startup costs and these are pretty standard. Everyone knows, you know, the stroller and the crib and the car seat and like all that stuff that you kind of need like to like start, like to bring a kid home from the hospital. And so there’s that piece and then there’s the unexpected costs of like actually having a new person, and what often takes people by surprise is exactly what you’re talking about, is the desperate last minute Amazon purchase for any sort of sleep crutch or any sort of thing that they think will help. Like maybe it helped your friend who had a baby and then you think that you need one. And when you’re exhausted and emotionally drained and tired and desperate to sleep or desperate for something to work, that is a perfect place for overspending, with absolutely no concept of what’s going to happen. Because in the moment you’re just like, screw it, this needs to happen for my own mental health and for my baby or whatever. And so often when I see parents on the flip side of maternity leave, there’s quite a credit card bill and a lot of people talk specifically about the unforeseen purchases that happened. All the stuff that they bought that they didn’t need or that you know, stopped working or whatever. And so it’s, it’s, it’s funny that you honed in on that. That tends to be the biggest pain point for so many families.

Amanda: (07:01)
Oh God. And I, I’m so guilty of that. I literally just did this two days ago, so my, my girls have just started re-sharing a room. My youngest is in a big girl bed for the first time. I mean, this whole transitioning to a big girl bed is a bit of a process on its own. And I know that it takes time, but she got up at four o’clock in the morning and we have a little nightlight in her room. So immediately like it’s 4:00 AM okay at this point I’ve got not a lot of sleep. And so I’m, I’m searching is my nightlight keeping her up? Like I, I’m almost positive I have the most sleep safe possible light, but maybe I don’t. And then I like bought this light on Amazon and all I needed to do was with my own light is like change the shade of color. And then I ended up returning those lights. But I have done it. I literally, my husband woke up and was like, “why did you buy nightlights at four o’clock in the morning?” It’s like, cause I was insane and I was tired. And Amazon delivers same day.

Shannon: (08:03)
I know! And at three in the morning, that three in the morning purchase, I’ve done them too. And with sleep aids for sure, cause you’re sitting there and you’re just so desperate for something to work and that you’re willing to try anything. And it’s like, one of the big tips that I would give people is to take your pre-authorized info, like credit card information, out of online sites so that you have a moment. So, okay, so if it’s 4:00 AM and you’re surfing and you’re like, this is the thing I need, take a screenshot of it with your phone so you don’t lose what it is and then sleep on it. Don’t, don’t press go and then give yourself like a 24 hour embargo and if you like another night’s sleep and if you still feel like that is something that could help you, help your baby, you know, at that point, like go nuts. But it’s that knee jerk reaction where it’s so frictionless to spend money now on our credit cards that we don’t even have to think about it. We’re constantly advertised at. I don’t know about you either. Like the internet knows that I’m pregnant again and just constantly throwing ads at me on any of my social media sites for all this baby gear that, you know, with my second, I feel much more confident. I don’t need, but with my first I felt like, “Oh, is that something I need? Did I, did I miss a step? Like did I not look at the list properly?” So it’s, it’s an, it’s an expensive and intense time.

Amanda: (09:26)
Well, and I was just on the CBC a couple weeks ago and they were, they wanted to talk to me about sleep apps. And so as part of my research for that interview, I looked at all of the sleep apps aimed at helping children sleep. And there are so many, you know, they’re, they’re cheap on the surface, right? On the surface, they’re like $10 and you’re like, $10 my child and my child will sleep! But some of the promises of these apps are just crazy. You know, ‘if your preschooler isn’t sleeping, just play this lullaby’. And it’s like, if that was that easy, I would not have a job. I would not have anything. Do you know? And so, how many parents are buying that $10 lullaby app to make sure that their child is sleeping and they, exactly what you said, it’s so targeted. They know you. The other day was on my phone, scrolling something and there was something about a cute, a chargeable case and I actually been looking for a chargeable case so I clicked on the link and I was like, okay, literally my Instagram and Facebook are full of chargeable case options. Different brands. Isn’t it nuts?

Shannon: (10:37)
It’s nuts and it’s an inescapable. And so that’s why you just have to be level headed about it. I mean, and that’s where people across the board, it’s, you have to be level headed about what you see and the constant bombardment. But I think that what comes back to that parenting vulnerability is there’s insecurity, especially if it’s your first, around what’s, what works, what doesn’t, and too, the exhaustion. I think that we all make, we all make decisions that we regret when we’re exhausted, whether it’s financial, where it’s like other, when we’re tired, we’re not our best selves. Right? And so you have like a full year, like of a whole overhaul of your life. And those first months especially are can be brutal and like people are zombies and making decisions that you don’t even remember. I remember one mom one time, came in and she had a a five month old and she, her credit card had exploded and she, you know, she was in tears and I was like, I get it. Like, yep, it’s like, no shame here. And she said, you know, I don’t even remember half these transactions. So like she got to the point where like stuff was showing up from Amazon that she didn’t remember ordering because she was like, in such a daze when she was doing it and it was so many of those, those last minute knee jerk reactions from like, and I actually, I talk about this in one of my books in Living Debt Free. Like, um, you know, also if she had a friend who had a baby who was very, very good sleeper, just lucky. And then, you know, she would go and hang out with that other mom. And see that other baby and then like try to copy all the equipment and gear that that mom had thinking that that was the thing that was solving a problem and not a personality thing. And so it’s just, it’s just a tough time for everyone. So we all have to be kind to ourselves too because I often say this, that first year, especially if there’s a reduced wage from parental leave or something like that.

Amanda: (12:31)
Yes.

Shannon: (12:31)
Which often there is. It’s a bit of a like gong show. And so if you can survive that year and there’s two pieces of advice that I always give, like number one, your only goal should be not to go into debt. So screw savings, drop the expectation that you would be, that’s so bananas for so many families. And if you think you can just make that the goal, that’s wonderful. And then if you are in a position where you’ve had to use a line of credit or some credit card and you kind of come up for air on the other side of parental leave with some debt, in the grand scheme of life…

Amanda: (13:06)
Yes

Shannon: (13:07)
everything will be okay.

Amanda: (13:09)
Yes. Like 100%. Yeah.

Shannon: (13:12)
It’s so normal. No one talks about it because they also don’t want to feel like a failure because you know, there’s enough things to make you feel like a failure as a parent.So you don’t want to add one more thing!

Amanda: (13:20)
The list is long!

Shannon: (13:25)
But like I get to see the real deal, like what’s going on behind the scenes and I can tell you it is very normal. I’m not, I’m not condoning, I’m not saying go out and get into debt. What I’m saying is if you find yourself in a situation where it just, it just didn’t work, don’t beat yourself up forever. That doesn’t mean you’re fiscally irresponsible for life. It doesn’t mean that you couldn’t afford kids. It doesn’t mean you made any bad decisions. It just means life happened to you. And now we just have to take some steps to get back on track.

Amanda: (13:53)
I have to, you know, I just want to circle back to, you know, your, your whole company and the new school of finance. Because I remember when I did my consultation with Liz, I felt like when we talked it was, you know, so embarrassed because our actual savings, was quite low. And I remember just being like, all of my friends have all of these savings and we don’t have a lot of savings. We just have a little, and she’s like, first of all, everyone thinks that they’re the worst and nobody talks about these things, but you’re doing fine and you’re probably way better than you think you are. You’re so good at taking out the shame of that because there is shame around money and your finances, right? Like it’s hard not to feel embarrassed by that.

Shannon: (14:44)
Yeah! I think it’s, there’s a lot of similar parallels between, raising parents too ah raising kids too as parents. So like all of the planners here at New School of Finance, like we see behind the scenes. So we see someone’s actual finances. So we know that that’s normal. And so if, if it happens like it’s a normal thing, we don’t get too fussed about it. Whereas nobody shares that information cause there’s so much shame. So you don’t know if your friends actually have a $20,000, $40,000 line of credit. You just know that their Instagram showed a really nice living room.

Amanda: (15:14)
Totally!

Shannon: (15:14)
And so you’re like, why is my house so ugly? These friends have a nicer house so they must make so much more than me. They must be so much better at, at like life than me because my stuff doesn’t look that way. And I think parenting is similar. Like I remember like I had, my first was colicky and that is so we’re not fun to deal with as a first time mom. And I remember one of my girlfriends had a baby four days after me, which was amazing. But also really intense because, you know, on Instagram, there she would, she would post a photo of her like at brunch and here I am with like this screaming child feeling like a complete failure. And then, but like I didn’t post that on Instagram. I didn’t post that my kid was screaming for 85% of the day. I only posted the cute photo when he was asleep. And so, so if you didn’t know me, you would be like, and if you are struggling with a colicky baby, you might look at my Instagram feed and be like, “man, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong here. Look, she’s got it together.” But like you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. And so I think we always need to keep that in mind.

Amanda: (16:22)
I had a, not exactly related to parenting, but when my husband and I were thinking about buying a house, we put it off for so long because we were given this advice like, you shouldn’t buy a house until you had 20% down. And we were, we were close, but we just didn’t have it. And we were like really putting it off. And like we were talking to friends at a party and they were like, “what are you putting off?” And we’re like, well, we just don’t have 20%. And they both laughed at us like they’re really like, “ha! Who has [20%]?!”, I mean, that’s obviously a great piece of advice and if you can of course, but it just, I just figured everyone had 20% and everyone bought their house like that and we weren’t, you know what I mean? And it was just like, Oh, I feel like we’re probably more alike, all of us than we are different. Okay.

Shannon: (17:11)
I absolutely true.

Amanda: (17:13)
I wondered if you, I mean, obviously you can’t get into super specifics, but, uh, I guess I want your, your commentary on this piece of advice, but pre-baby. So when I was pregnant with my first, I remember so many, you know, parents who had already had kids and had kind of been through it telling me, look, you don’t need much, get a bassinet, figure out what you need after. I completely ignored that advice. I got everything. I did everything, and you know, literally three months in I was like, I didn’t need half of this stuff. You know, just, they had so many things, like, I don’t, like so many onesies that really just lasted maybe a month. And my kids were ginormous, so they were in like size, three to six months clothing at, you know, three months she was wearing a six month thing and I had all these like newborn onesies that were never used. I would love to know your thoughts on that. Like, should you buy one piece at a time or should like, do you have any guide on like essential first time parent buys?

Shannon: (18:28)
Yeah, I can tell you anecdotally from what I’ve seen, right. I mean, obviously every family is different, every baby is different. But from a financial perspective, I agree that there is a lot of that excess that happens. And a lot of my clients will comment that it happened because of baby showers that were, like the registry or somebody didn’t think about that. So they ended up with all blankets and all onesies and no, nothing that they could use, or things that they didn’t know that they would need or, or something like that. Yeah. So one piece of advice, which I mean, if you can stomach it, a lot of people think that this is maybe taboo or rude for lack of a better term, but if we’re just talking about best use gifts and all that stuff which I’m just going to go there and I again, I apologize to anyone that I am offending with this. But, um, so like you don’t know what you need and you don’t know what your baby needs. And so if people are happy to gift and help, the best thing they can actually do is to give you a gift card for like something like Amazon or Babies R Us or something, Shopper’s Drug Mart, something that you can use once you understand your baby, where they, what they, what fits them, what you need, and if you were to able to have the health and spread it out over the, over the first, you know, zero to six months of that baby’s life, that is actually so helpful rather than having the shower where you get all the stuff that you’re not even sure if you’re ever going to use or not. It sits there. And then if you’re, yeah, my kid was huge too. So I had all these newborn ones, these from a shower that I, that I just ended up donating to the next person. Right.

Amanda: (20:04)
Yes!

Shannon: (20:04)
So, like that is a really strategic thing. If, if you think that your community, your social community can handle something like that with a reason behind it, I would say that that is a really smart thing to do. And second of all, I think that you should, you know, you need to cover your basics. Like I, you have to have your car seat, you’ve got to have a, a bed for them to sleep in, whether it’s a bassinet or a crib or whatever it is that you’ve decided. So there needs to be like those basic things. I would, I would probably say some sort of carrier, but like those can be expensive. So again, I would borrow one if you can. I’m a big fan of borrowing first before buying. Yeah. And that was a lesson that came hard for me cause I, it’s not convenient to borrow and then buy, it’s convenient to press go at three in the morning.

Amanda: (20:48)
and have it there the next morning!

Shannon: (20:50)
And have it there the next day. It’s bananas! It’s, it shouldn’t be so easy to buy stuff. But if you can ask friends or ask a community or a neighbourhood, I love these Facebook groups that exist because people are so willing to help and share. So if you can put it out there and even just borrow something for like a couple of weeks and see like, “Oh, this is something that I should invest in at that point.” Like a carrier or something like that. Um, you’re, you’re good to go. But yeah, stroller, car seat, some sort of bed. I think that is inevitable and like some sort of clothing but don’t overdo it. That’s the thing, cause you don’t know what size your kid’s going to come out and you don’t know anything like that. And you don’t know how, like you don’t know about how breastfeeding is going to go. Like there’s a whole bunch of assumptions that you might make before baby comes. Yeah. That might go completely out the window. And so I am a fan of minimal until you know your kid and you know, your parenting style and then borrow and swap if you can and then purchase last. That’s kind of like the hierarchy.

Amanda: (21:46)
I love that. And it actually leads really well into my next question for you, which was that I feel like there’s a whole subculture online, especially in these Facebook mom groups of re-selling the things or buying used, which I’m loving. I’m, you know, we’re going to Mexico tomorrow actually. And I really want to..

Shannon: (22:10)
Oh so fun!

Amanda: (22:10)
..avoid buying more, we’re going to have a different day tomorrow, I think you and I! But, I really wanted to avoid buying more plastic sand toys and I was like, “Hey, does anyone have sand toys that I can either borrow or buy from you?” And like, I have eight people that I could go and get sand toys from and I kind of loved that. And if you did maybe splurge or you had that shower where you couldn’t convince people to give you the gift card, which was such a good idea. Like, I love the idea of maybe recouping some of your losses by selling online. Like is that, is that something that’s bringing people money?

Shannon: (22:57)
Oh my gosh. Yeah. I think, you know, is it changing people’s life as a second job? No. But is it putting $40, $50 bucks on the pocket? Yes. And you’re decluttering like Maria Kondo. So you’re loving your life that way. And a lot of, I also find that even if it’s not selling, I’m finding that people are so wanting to get rid of this stuff from their house once their kids are through, once their second or third or however many kids they want to have is through whatever phase they’re like, get this out of my house. And so, I mean they’re not selling for a lot of money and some people are even willing to just gift it for free because they just want it gone. And so I think that there’s so much opportunity in the second hand market to save yourself so much money and if you are selling it to recoup some that loss and if you do feel like you need something to try to get it there first and social media has made it so, so much more convenient to do that because it’s also often neighbourhood, Like it’s so often in your neighbourhood,

Amanda: (23:56)
You can walk over!

Shannon: (23:57)
And I think that makes it mean more I think. I think toys are a really great place to do that.

Amanda: (24:03)
Like you, you and I are sharing it a brain today I think. So two things I want to, I want to add there. Number one, like I said, my daughter is transitioning to a big girl bed. So we finally made the, the transition for the girls into a bunk bed and we had two beds in our house that are not that old, in perfect condition. And we just wanted someone to come to our house and take them. And so we gave them away and they were gone so quickly. And I mean, this is me. They were in almost pristine condition. I mean, what, what kid really does a number on their bed. But they’re both gone. I gave them away. So happy I did it. The other thing that I was going to say is the toy thing, because this is something I didn’t realise until I was like in the parenting thing is like you get all these toys and then you’ve realised that your child will only play with them for a maximum of like two to three months if you’re lucky. And then you, there’s this whole secondhand market of these toys that are practically brand new. It’s not like your toys when you’re seven and you’re smashing the crud them. These are like baby drooled on them four times and now it’s like this new piece of equipment that has no use in your home anymore. So you can get really good stuff.

Shannon: (25:25)
Absolutely. Yeah, it’s amazing. And I also find with books! So like I’m a big fan of the library so we can keep your rotation pretty fresh without having to like, have all the, like we have like, you know, our stock of books or whatever, but again, he gets, he’ll go through them and then like, you know, six months from now it’s like he’s over that book and also needs more stimulation. So now that book is not for him anymore. And you know, do I keep it, do I whatever. So we are, we’re a big fan of using the library for that.

Amanda: (25:53)
Oh I love that. That’s such a good idea. That is a really good idea. Okay, so you are just about to, to have a… Oh, I just want to see this one thing that’s just popped into my head. You talking about the registry. I remember just a word of warning. I remember going to, I think it was Babies R Us. And I literally, I was putting off going to do my registry for so long cause I just didn’t know what I needed and people kept asking me and it felt very stressful. So I went in and they were like, “Oh, we have a list, we have a whole list of the things that you need.” And I was like, thank you for this list. And I remember at the end of the registry purchasing, it had all of these like baby feeding utensil things and like how, and I was like, I don’t even, do babies need a spoon? Like I didn’t even, and then remember there was like bowls and plates and spoons and forks and all of these things and like baby reusable napkins. And I was like, okay, hold off. And we didn’t end up buying those things, but like just be wary of these prepopulated lists coming from stores that are, I really think it’s coming from a good place. And honestly, if I didn’t have that list, I wouldn’t be able to create my registry. Think I would do it a little bit differently this time. But, I felt like that that prepopulated list maybe had some other intentions other than helping me.

Shannon: (27:24)
Yeah I mean okay. Yeah, it came from a store is their whole job is to stuff I’m sure the marketing department came up with.

Amanda: (27:31)
Totally.

Shannon: (27:32)
So like, let’s not kid ourselves. Well I think it’s helpful in the sense that here’s some inspiration and you can pick and choose from that what you need. But it’s sold as a list of what you need, not necessarily what you might want. And I think that that’s a, that’s a vulnerable place when you’re a new mom and you feel unprepared or a new parent and you feel unprepared selling something as like list of baby needs versus list of baby wants are two different perspectives. You need to keep that in mind when you’re building that registry and everything seems cute and adorable. But like, yeah, baby doesn’t necessarily need a spoon til like six months and, and like, it’s fine, you know what I mean? But they have that one shot to get you in there and get all the stuff on your registry. And often people love to gift adorable things rather than useful things. I’m a Capricorn. So for me like useful is very important to me. But like people like to gift and receive like the, you know, the, a lot of the stuff that’s the, “Aww, that’s so cute.” But again, that, that means that you’re going to have to do some utility-based stuff down the road. But I just, I, I just think that need versus want thing is really important. And if you do have a sibling got older kids than you, I was very lucky to have that. I used a lot of hand me downs from my sister. And that was extremely useful because again, it was just a couple of things, but it allowed me to test it out with Bill. Bill is my child. And see if he was into whatever it was or whatever method that was. And then, and then if I wanted to go nuts and I could buy a, an adorable spoon and bowl set after that.

Amanda: (29:08)
I have a question for you. It’s personal and not exactly related to baby, but I like your talking about gifting and registries. I did feel pressured to have a registry because of the baby shower tradition and I also find a lot of similar pressure around birthday parties for my children. So I am also a useful person and I think my husband doesn’t hate it, but I’m often like, I don’t want to get gifts, let’s just go on a trip. Let’s, you know, for Christmas let’s just go on a trip or something or do an experience. But he really wants to like open a present under the tree, like have an experience like fine. I struggle with birthday parties because I request no gifts almost every time and people come with gifts. So is there, do you have any piece of advice, around that? Like what do I do with all these gifts that I don’t really feel like, not that we need, but even my kids are interested in for more for more than five seconds, it feels really wasteful. What can I do?

Shannon: (30:11)
It’s so wasteful, yeah.

Amanda: (30:12)
Or what, are there strategies that I can give to people so they don’t, cause I feel like people want to give the gifts so they don’t show up to the party feeling like a deadbeat.

Shannon: (30:24)
Like absolutely. So I have a couple of strategies here and I actually, I talked about this in Worry Free Money, which was my first book because it is such a problem. So I have, I have a lot of people who feel pressure A) to have the birthday party that first of all costs like 500 bucks, even though they don’t want to, like they’d be happy to go to the park, you know what I mean? But there, but all the other kids seem to be doing that and they don’t want their kid to feel like somehow they like missed out or whatever. So it’s a guilt driven decision. It’s not a joy based decision and its a guilt based decision. And then they feel compelled to, to have presents and stuff because again, the social normal has been set. But again, on the front lines, what I hear is people saying, I don’t even want to do this, but I feel like I have to. And my kid gets invited to like, you know, if your kid is four and invited to 10 birthday parties that year, that’s like 30 bucks a pop by the time you buy the gift and the bag and the whole thing and add that up over the year, that’s $300 a year that you’re spending in stuff that that kid may never even opened or want. And that parent may not even want to receive it because they are, they don’t have the storage for it. Right? And so it’s this whole thing. So, there are two solutions here that I’ve seen really, really be like, be really effective. It takes one really gutsy person to do it. So you already sound like you’re saying like, “Hey, no gifts, no gifts,” which people often are like, yeah, yeah, I don’t want to show up like a deadbeat. So giving people some direction has been, is really helpful. So some really good ideas. So number one, I’ve actually done this. So I wrote my family at all of Bill’s birthdays, all two of them, and I was like, “Hey, we have a small home like we live in the city. We don’t have a lot of storage. We have a small home. If you, there’s no gifts. If you would like to give something, you know, $10 to his RESP is great, that’s it. Don’t even bring a card.”

Amanda: (32:22)
I love it!

Shannon: (32:22)
But for me because I’m not financial planner. Now I felt like I was able to do the RESP thing. I think other people might feel uncomfortable with that. So here’s some other solutions that have been really good for other people that I’ve had this talk with. So just saying no gifts isn’t sufficient cause people will feel like a deadbeat, so you need to give them some direction. So the other thing is everyone’s pitching, here’s what I’m going to give, you know this, my kid. And if everybody wants to pitch $10 towards it, so then the kid still gets to open something on their birthday, it’s probably a meaningful gift at that point. Because it’s a bigger item. Everyone’s contributed and signed the card. But all of these different families weren’t going out and spending all this money on a card and a gift and doing all this stuff that they didn’t want to, they’ll be relieved cause they can just show up with a $10 bill, give it to you and be done with it. And it still has that birthday gift opening experience with all the junk. And then the last one that I seen that was really cool, and this was, this was actually not my suggestion. This was something that I was talking about, we were brainstorming possible things. The parents got everyone to bring a small plant under $10, that they wanted to gift, um, so that their daughter could learn about the different like flowers and stuff and plant them in the garden. So they all planted flowers in the garden and stuff. So people went to like a nursery and they bought like a $10 or something and brought it over. And that was really cool because then she also got to plant them and it was a really cool experience. But again, it’s not adding to that clutter. So I think we just need to be creative. But I do agree saying no gifts, you’re often going to get them anyway.

Amanda: (33:59)
Okay so this is good. I’m gonna like read, listen and take notes because, and I also struggle with the loot bag thing every year I’m like, I’m just going to give a gift card to somewhere, one year I gave like plants, seeds.

Shannon: (34:13)
Seeds are great, they’re an amazing loot bag.

Amanda: (34:17)
Yeah cause they, you know, that’s a, that’s an investment. You know, that’s a next summer thing or a couple months down the road. Joy all year round.

Shannon: (34:26)
And it’s not like stuffed full of plastic!

Amanda: (34:27)
I know, right?

Shannon: (34:29)
Like it’s that more plastic that I think a lot of people actually want to get away from. So I think that there’s a shift happening. Like I hope it continues!

Amanda: (34:35)
Me too! Well Shannon, I’m going to stop this conversation before A) you have a baby and B) I just start asking personal questions for my life and I send you my banking password to help me because that’s not what this is about. But I really, really thank you for your time. I totally love what you’re saying. Spread that message to get what you need and save your dollars for honestly the unexpected cause there will be something that you need that will cost money in that first year, and you’ll be so glad that you’ll listen to Shannon right now.

Shannon: (35:11)
Amazing, well, thank you so much for having me. This is great!

Amanda: (35:14)
Awesome. See you later.

Shannon: (35:16)
Bye.