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Ask Sherry: Becoming an Employee, My Ideal Budget, Favourite Toys, and How much goes to Helping Relatives

You asked, and I am answering every Friday once I have enough questions!

You can ask any question using the form here.

Can you write about the toys that Little Bun has, and which ones are his favourites?

Really need some “new” toys during this quarantine to keep our kid busy. Do you “rotate” toys like hide some of them for.m a while and then take them out again?

I absolutely hide toys and take them back out again. He gets so excited with his “new” toys… I recently took out this Soft Rubber Car  and he has been obsessed with it lately.

This is the complete list of toys he has (not all of them are out at once):

That’s about it. He has had some other stuff but it has been ruined or trashed…

A lot of friends have commented that it doesn’t seem like we have a child sometimes because a toy store didn’t vomit all over our apartment. LOL

Hope that gives you some ideas.. but honestly he makes do with what he has, and we come up with games based on various scenarios like Pirate Ship, or Treasure Hunt.

Here is a list of games we play together and various ideas of what we do.

You wrote about how you flew to the US to help out a relative (an aunt I believe), both logistically and financially.

How did you decide how much to contribute, and how to draw a line? Facing a similar issue with a relative that has hit hard times, but young and capable (left a DV situation with kids).

I am so sorry to hear about this. I think it is really kind of you to want to help out.

For those of you who want to know the history – this was the situation with my aunt, a follow-up.

Honestly, any amount would be appreciated, so please don’t take my numbers as gospel. I make a lot of money, and I felt like it wasn’t right to not give anything and to help out.

In addition to coming up with a plan, researching for food banks and other low-income resources in the area, planning the trips, etc, I spent about $20,000 helping her, paying for:

  • relocation
  • flights
  • hotel
  • gas
  • food
  • rent for 6 months (first and last month’s included)
  • all new stuff for the apartment – I’m talking microwave to dog food to furniture
  • supplies for the next 6 months – food, tissue paper, toilet paper
  • new cellphone + plan for 6 months – low cost but there

So. Yeah. I basically moved her from one life in a city to a new one and paid for it all.

I didn’t keep paying past the 6 months however, it was just to move her over. To be honest, I am a little peeved at the situation because after all the work I went to help find her all these resources and even the food bank, she had the nerve to tell me:

“I don’t accept food from the food bank, I am not poor. That’s shameful.”

I saw her bank account (under $20K), and she is most definitely poor.

She saved nothing her whole life, and without us, she would not have made it past the year seeing as she was living in debt.

So, after hearing that, I zipped my lips and my wallet after that.

I did more than what was expected of me for an aunt I don’t even know and have never met in my life before now, just because of my mother’s connection to her and that my mother asked.

I gave that money freely, and I don’t regret it. But I won’t be giving any more.

Would you ever consider looking for a job as a permanent employee? If so, when or under what circumstances?

No. I would never want to become an employee again.

If I wanted to become an employee again, it would be that I would need the money desperately, my investments are all completely wiped out, and there is no more contract work, and only employees were allowed to work in some dystopian nightmare.

If I took that job, I’d want at least $130K – $150K a year, 4 weeks vacation, personal days, full flexibility to work from home, and no traveling (HAH! impossible). I’d also probably be pregnant (also not happening), and want to milk some sort of maternity leave out of them, full dental, eye and healthcare.

I also don’t want to manage anyone, mentor anyone or deal with any bullcrap from other colleagues, which includes no pitching in on sales calls or any kind of random office work that they come up with when people are on the bench and not working at a client.

I want to just be doing my job.

This is why I would never be hired…. but if I had to, yeah I guess I’d travel and so on, but I’d sooner live off my side incomes and on a bare bones budget than go back to being under a manager who makes me fill out performance reports for paltry bonuses again, having to deal with this BS and have to ASK PEOPLE for vacation approvals.

No. Never again.

Reading about your bare bones budget, I was wondering what a comfortable, enjoyable monthly budget would be for you if you had a work contract?

$40K a year is my comfortable budget, $60K is my luxurious (OHHH YEAH!) budget where I’d really be shopping and living it up.

As my side incomes are so up and down (one month great, another month $0 in some areas), I can’t rely on them 100%, so I always set their income at $1000/month as a steady reliable amount, but in reality, I have been pulling in $2000 – $3000 comfortably.

STILL! I don’t want to get complacent.

Also, if you were retired (- a comfortable retirement budget at today’s cost of living)?

Same as above. $40K a year, which I pretty much cover the majority of with my side incomes.

Also, how much money would you really enjoy to have to spend monthly, excepting the bare necessities like home and groceries?

See above.

And last, after a recession at this point in your life, is there anything you would do differently financially, even if you went back to earning a high income? (expenses included) Thank you.

The only thing I’d change is not throw 50% of my emergency fund into the market once I get extended, but to have it slowly drip in as I get paid, so my emergency fund stays nice and fat.

It was truly a shock to have things change in a blink of an eye from December to March, and in hindsight I should have kept more money aside, but how could I have known?

I wouldn’t do anything else differently.

Maybe save a tiny bit more?

Maybe bought a piano?

It would have been fun to play one right now and to keep Little Bun’s at-home piano lessons going.

But I was doing really well from late summer 2019 onwards, and very happy about the whole situation. 80% savings rate is great and just enough for me to be comfortable and happy yet save a lot.

I was also building up my side incomes well, so I am happy that worked out.

I don’t need my day job, but I want to be sure that I last comfortably through this recession, which is why I dropped down to my bare bones budget, but I know it won’t be forever, and I will some day, get another contract.

Have you ever had any lacerations on your face?

If so, how many and what did you need for them? Sutures, skin glue, steri-strips? Also, in case your child had a small laceration on his face (up to 1 cm) when being very young (2 years or so), what would you prefer? Sutures with conscious sedation, sutures with local anesthesia (but crying loudly because he’s being held down and scared) or skin glue? Thank you.

I have never had any lacerations or sutures on my face… so I can’t help you there!

As for what I would do if my son got hurt, I would pick the one that would leave the least amount of scarring. I’d do that for myself as well, with a local anesthetic as long as it didn’t hurt.

Honestly, I remember a cousin being hurt badly and she was maybe .. 3? She just lay there when they put her under local anesthesia, and stitched her skin up. She didn’t move, didn’t cry, wasn’t scared. I suppose it depends on the child.

I wouldn’t know what to do if a child was screaming loudly, but I would just block it out, suck it up and get it done, then comfort him afterwards and tell him how brave he was, and what happened.

Or maybe explain beforehand what is going on, and why it is important (although at two, they’re kind of impossible to reason with)…..

Good luck!

Still have a burning question?

You can ask any question using the form here and all of my previous Ask Sherry posts are here.


  • sandy

    Out of your comfortable budget of 40k a year, how much would be allocated monthly to absolute necessities (like food and all the bills (utilities, medical insurance, internet, etc.)) and how much would go to other expenses (like clothes, toiletries, electronics, things for the house, books, things for the child, etc.)?

    So I’d be interested in two monthly amounts: one for the bare necessities (all bills and food) and one for all the rest.


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