In Ask Sherry

Ask Sherry: Who won the giveaway & all about things I regret

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

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1DKFg6SD0Kmb_0U5yb4OTNfkvfmsf5dWxJJbZTzUtH7M/edit

You can ask any question using the form here.

Who won the Dagne Dover Giveaway?

*drumroll*

Congratulations to……….

Annika W.!!!!!!!!

…whom I have already contacted via email.

Annika¬†lives in Germany and I’ll be shipping it to her within the next day or so.

WHEEE!!!!

Enjoy the bag ūüôā

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!!!!!!

I’m thinking I’d like to do more giveaways like this in the future. *wink*


How do you deal with the fashion items that “got away”? Whether bidding online, or saying “no” in-store and later regretting it? I have some items that haunt me and I wish I could just shrug and move on…

I hunt for years until I find its replacement, if ever.

I set up alerts on eBay, Kijiji and I just keep scrolling through them until they show up.

Honestly, there is no way to just shrug and move on when it was a piece that was truly perfect in hindsight (we all know it’s 50/50).

I still harbour these regrets about these vintage driving gloves I saw once in a shop and I was trying to stay on a budget so I left them but went back the next day to realize they had been snapped up immediately. *sigh*

Another major regret are these Manolo Blahnik snakeskin heels I had purchased half a size too small (*shakes fist at Nordstrom and its stupid “fit predictor”*) but couldn’t return for a larger size as it was too late and it was sold out by the time I tried….

https://www.savespendsplurge.com/december-2015-what-i-bought-watched-and-read/

Lots of things make me wish I had purchased them, but the only way to let it go is to find it again or to find its replacement.. preferably a suitable one.

If it is something I tend to really love but am not sure about, I do buy them (depending on the return policy) and then return the pieces if I cannot see them being in my wardrobe permanently.

This worked out well for this¬†Dilys Khaki Green skirt I bought from Club Monaco at retail because my size was snapped up in a flash online and in-stores. I loved the waist, the tie, the pockets.. but couldn’t stomach the price initially.

https://www.savespendsplurge.com/september-2016-what-i-bought-watched-and-read/

….but hasn’t quite worked out for other pieces like these wool fedora hats I now wish I hadn’t purchased¬†at 50% off.

You win some, you lose some. I know it doesn’t help right now but… keep the hope alive with email alerts ūüôā

Your jewelry collection has changed, e.g., no more thin necklaces, etc.

Hmm.. I guess you’re right, I’ve gone from thin delicate ladylike pieces to bolder things.

Have you culled your collection, and if so, how did you go about it?

Nope. Haven’t culled anything. Everything is still pretty much there. Every time I try to get rid of a piece, I find a new love for it and wear it again. The trick, is for me to stop bringing NEW items in. Ah hah!

I also notice you tend to like bolder styles but also more organic, naturalistic styles. I am trying to figure out my own style and I tend to like many of the same pieces as you, even some of the same designers, but I have a hard time reconciling them into one coherent style because they are so different.

And that is the beautiful thing is it not? Diversity can be had in accessories that are easily changed out with neutral, basic items! How awesome is that?

I wear pretty classic clothing but when I look at my jewelry it seems my style is all over the place- please help!

I don’t think you need any help at all. I think it is GREAT that you like really bold jewellery with delicate stuff.

Who needs to always wear tasteful jewellery with tasteful clothes? Why not wear big bold chains or studded items with a button-up shirt, or really thin delicate, pretty items with moto boots?

I love the mix of contrasts, that’s really all I aim for when I do an outfit, to make sure it isn’t too one style, and has a bit of something else thrown in.

Sort of like vanilla ice cream but with some lemon zested on top and some macerated basil in a simple syrup… (actually that does¬†sound really good).

My point is to embrace it. Don’t think that style means pigenholing yourself into one thing – only wearing ____ kinds of outfits, or only wearing ONE tasteful ring rather than a whole armful of jangling bracelets and some wild long dangly earrings to top it all off.

Go for it!

The only rules I have with my jewellery is that:

(A) It has to add something to the outfit

(B) It has to be visible

(C) I can’t be fussing with it

If I put on a necklace and I find that it ruins the entire look of the outfit because now the gorgeous neckline is obscured by this necklace that is making the whole thing look too busy, I take it off and try a ring instead.

If I am wearing a crew-neck shirt, and my necklace is hidden underneath, what’s the point? I take it off.

Or if I wear it, and I feel like I am futzing around with it too much to arrange it, or have to keep pulling it into place, then I take it off and try something else.

Or .. go without and just wear a watch.

I like to make sure the jewellery doesn’t overpower the outfit or vice versa, and they complement each other either by matching the style (all-black or all-grey with moto boots & studded rings), or they contrast each other (really delicate flower necklaces with a leather jacket).

Hope that helped! ūüôā

What do you think about the long school hours even in primary school?

“I don’t know about Canada, but in Europe, there are schools which start at 8-9am and finish at 4-5pm (with a lunch break of 1-1.5 hours).

Others finish at 15.30-16pm. Anyway, that schedule is similar to a job (and it’s applied to 4-6 year olds).

Schools have become or tend to become like daycare centres, with the difference that their schedule is fixed and mandatory and involves hours of concentration and confinement, which I doubt is such a good thing for the children, especially small ones.

Sure, when both parents work full time, the parents usually prefer this system, the all-day school system. It is cheaper or free compared to actual daycare which is most often private and expensive. In fact, for this reason, in Europe, many parents enrol their children in school at 4 years old.

The problem is when this system is made by governments mandatory, and not optional (there are parents who might have different priorities or schedules).

When do children have time to live their childhood freely, with unplanned activities?

When do they have the time to bond with their parents if the time they spend at home (awake) is much shorter than the time they spend at school?

In a short time, they will grow, their interest in spending time with their parents will diminish, and they will eventually leave home; childhood is the only time when we, parents (or at least one of the parents), could spend more time with our children if we chose to or were able to do so.

School starts earlier and earlier (mandatory at 4 years old in Northern Ireland, for example). The daily school schedule is longer and longer. As a parent, I am alarmed by this trend, especially by the obligatory aspect.


  • Do you think that today‚Äôs school hours could have a negative impact on the parent-child relationship or on the child’s wellbeing? I often think about this with sadness and concern.
  • At what age do you plan to enrol your son in school and what will be his school hours in your region?
  • What do you consider reasonable school hours for the primary school, secondary school, high school?
  • What do you think about homeschooling? Would you do something like this? Why or why not?”

*****

I read that first sentence and immediately thought: “As a parent, I would love it.”

However, as a child, I found that I had a good attention span but sometimes at the end of the day I was really ready to go home. The schooling system in general, particularly long hours that mean you have to sit down, be quiet and pay attention tends to favour girls not boys.

Boys, as research has long shown in excellent books, tend to prefer activities that involve their bodies.

They like moving, being active and I once read that if boys were allowed to wander around the room and do things with their hands like play with a toy while listening, they would absorb a lot more than having to sit there quiet and attentive.

With my son, he luckily seems to be showing that he has a decent attention span for his age and can concentrate fairly well, so it seems like he may be fine in school, but even with his attention span being quite long for a little boy, I do find him fidgeting and moving around while we read books.

I have to stop myself from admonishing him to sit still and read the book with me, so I can imagine a teacher getting frustrated with 30 students wiggling about.

Anyway, we can see in Asia and Europe, children burning themselves out in school with these long hours, tutors in the afternoon and weekends booked to the hilt with nary a single free hour to themselves and I worry a lot about doing this to my son, which is why I am trying not to force anything on him, and yet give a flexible structure for him to grow in.

Now for your questions:

Do you think that today‚Äôs school hours could have a negative impact on the parent-child relationship or on the child’s wellbeing?

Not at all. At least, not based on the hours I see today.

I say this because there are parents who both work full-time outside of the home (8 a.m. – 5 p.m. usually) and have their kid in daycare the entire time, and their children are fine.

Or single parents who go to work, or work 2 jobs and make it work because they have to. Their kids turn out well, better than most in many cases, with very strong bonds to their mothers (the primary default single parent) because it is the parent who shows just how strong they are to have to do it all alone (and it is TOUGH).

What it means is that parents and families¬†just have to work harder at being more efficient with the little time that they do have, and start saying “No” to over-scheduling, and blocking off free time to just sit and do nothing.

It means to me, the following:

  • Not booking an activity to do nightly; if they want to do guitar lessons, they do that,¬†OR play soccer, not both; this will save your sanity and money, and teach them to choose something they love to do
  • Being more efficient in organizing tasks that have to get done – grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and sharing the work amongst everyone in the house. Baby Bun is officially on board as Laundry Assistant – he folds and puts away all the napkins and cloths, and sorts all of his and my laundry into neat piles to put away. I don’t care if it takes him 3 hours.

  • Having meals¬†together as a family as often as possible (no screens at all, which is simpler for us as we don’t have a TV either)
  • Taking time out on weekends to not sit around and watch TV (I catch myself doing this), and to force yourself and your kid out of the door to take a walk, play in the park, talk, walk, and observe things together
  • Taking them on errands with you and making that family time. Who says grocery shopping has to be boring? It is highly educational if the parent chooses to take that route, in my view. Baby Bun loves grocery shopping because he shouts out the names, colours and shapes of vegetables and fruits, or reads numbers and labels for me.
  • Not bringing work home at night or on weekends and not checking emails obsessively OR REPLYING TO THEM
  • Dedicating a block of time every night to just sit and talk, help them with homework, do chores together (how about cooking together? doing dishes together?), and just spend time together talking
  • Remembering to block off time for yourself for sanity (alone, with a book, ignoring your toddler)

All kids want, is to spend time with their parents when they are free and relaxed.

I know this in my heart because I have felt it.

As a kid, all I wanted was to play board games with my parents who never did a single thing like that with me even when they were free because they just wanted to watch TV or do their own thing.

I wasn’t asking for a lot of time, just an hour a day. Or half an hour if they were pressed.

It wasn’t all bad in the end, because I turned out fiercely independent, sort of left to my own lonely devices as a kid. Every good side has a bad side.

At what age do you plan to enrol your son in school and what will be his school hours in your region?

ASAP.

I think age 4 is the minimum here. It will be good for him to get out and go to school with other kids. He is very excited already, and very much wants to ride a bus to school but he will be too little, and he sort of needs that kind of external schooling structure and stimulation.

I already do a lot with him at home with reading and so on, but it’s all ad hoc as we feel like it.

So here are the general school hours from what I can puzzle out of their rather disorganized charts and notes:

Pre-K (Age 4):

8:35 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

They break for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Then they come back for 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Kindergarten (Age 5) – older:

8:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

They have 1 hour and 15 minutes for lunch

School starts back up again at 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

What do you consider reasonable school hours for the primary school, secondary school, high school?

The above sounds reasonable to me.

In primary I remember starting at 9 a.m. and going until 3:30 p.m.

In secondary (high school) I remember starting at 7 a.m. (I had pre-school activities for an hour), classes began at 8 a.m. and went until 3:30 p.m. unless I managed to finagle a schedule that gave me a free period at the end of the day to leave early.

The hours of 8-ish to 4-ish is as long as most children can take, and that’s keeping in mind that they do have breaks for lunch and recess which lets them have a respite.

Again, however, this is speaking as a girl who was a nerd and a bookworm in school, and knowing now as a parent that it will mostly be little boys like mine who are potentially at a disadvantage in such a system.

Doing away with summer altogether

Frankly, I would prefer a system where kids go to school almost year-round but for shorter periods during the day or on a different kind of schedule (with more weeks of vacation interspersed during the year) so that they don’t have that long, idle, 2-month break where their brain goes to crap and they forget everything from the year before.

How great would it be to have 3 weeks off for the holidays in December, and a few days or a week off every month or so instead of 2 long months in the middle?

We only have that 2-month break as an archaic throwback from when children had to be let off from school to help their parents harvest the bounty on the farm. We aren’t farmers any more!!!

Wish we could change this.

It is really hard to start up again once you’ve stopped moving and are idle for a while, and I feel as though learning and education go hand-in-hand with that.

Education is about building on what you learned, and if we keep having schooling that stops every year for 2 whole months. It is hard to remember anything if you’ve been out of it for so long and I suspect it is the reason why we never really made it through the planned curriculum when I was in school.

What do you think about homeschooling? Would you do something like this? Why or why not?

I have seriously considered homeschooling. You have no idea.

I waffle back and forth. I want to do it because I feel like we could go a lot quicker educationally-speaking if I homeschooled him (one-on-one tutoring from his #1 favourite person right now in his life? SCORE!!!)…

He also gets a great, flexible schedule out of it where he can nap when he wants, change up the curriculum and do stuff based on the weather, and take breaks, etc.

But then there are some days I look at him and think: NO FRAKKIN’¬†WAY AM I HOMESCHOOLING THIS MONSTER.

For the first reason and the most important one of all it would be for my sanity that I would NOT homeschool him.

I think I’d be a great teacher if I had no choice but I really, do not want to do it on a personal level. I want to still love my son and want to be with him, and if I homeschool him, I will want to abandon him to be raised by friendly wolves in the¬†forest about 6 months into it.

The second reason, is I also need him to learn French natively.

He has to start with a French school, French teachers and most of all, FRENCH FRIENDS. I would highly encourage him to have Francophone friends (100%, no English please), and to get him to speak it constantly with different people so he doesn’t have that struggle that I do with thinking: Now wait, is¬†this le or la? Am I right? Let me check.

French is not something you can easily teach at home even if you speak it, as my partner said. There are so many dang rules and tricky things to learn, not to mention the accents on the words and pronunciation.

He will have the benefit of being perfectly bilingual and switch with such ease from English to French and to feel both languages in his heart.

He is far more dominant in English.

The third reason, is he needs to socialize.

He is a homebody. I can see he is a boy who will always be his mother’s son deep down inside (no mollycoddling though), and he is sensitive and unsure about new things. I want him to interact with everyone and with different personalities, backgrounds, cultures and races so that he doesn’t grow up like a girl I knew in college who had never seen or interacted with a person of any colour in real life until she left her town. O_o

I want him to get along with other kids, fight with them, learn how to resolve his fights with them by working together and learn what reality is — that Mommy and Daddy aren’t going to be there all the time and learn to trust that he is strong and smart enough to deal with anything on his own when he needs to be. You know, independence.

I feel like homeschooling may not offer this, even if you meet up with other parents who homeschool their kids and do outings together. It isn’t the same thing as being forced to be in that jungle that is school with all types of kids, and to come out with strong bonds forged with friends, or a strong sense of self at the end of it. That’s just what reality is.

What do you think about parents working for children these days?

I think I know exactly what you mean. We do so much for our kids, and worry about their mental health, well-being etc, that we end up being slaves to them. They don’t do chores, they aren’t left to be bored, and we GIVE THEM MONEY FOR GRADES. What kind of world are we living in!?!?!

I am against all of that.

I am already instituting at his tender young age, chores that have to be done appropriate to his age (3) right now such as:

  • Removing all clothes from a (now cool) dryer – he opens the door, puts it all in the basket, and closes it
  • Putting away said clothes – he sorts through our laundry and puts in piles what is mine and his, and puts his stuff away
  • Folding napkins – He is learning the dexterity to¬†fluff out & stack the napkins on top of each other, then gives me the huge pile at the end to put in a drawer

I’d love to get him on wiping the cutlery next, and we will do that starting this week. He’ll carefully wipe down all cutlery except knives.

I will be adding more as we go on, as he gets older, which will include:

  • Vacuuming
  • Mopping
  • Hand-wiping all the grooves in the kitchen
  • Scrubbing the toilets
  • Scrubbing the sinks
  • Scrubbing the shower
  • Washing dishes
  • Drying / putting them away
  • Cooking – I’d love to have him cook full meals by the age of 12
  • Wiping down all the windows
  • Laundry – wash and dry
  • Learning how to do basic sewing and hemming

Obviously I don’t do any of that above on a daily basis so he won’t be expected to either. C’mon let’s be realistic.

As for school, he is still going to be expected to keep his grades up, and believe you me, there is NO MONEY in it for him. He either keeps them up or he is staying inside, indefinitely, sans electronics for fun until he can handle his schoolwork.

Don’t worry, he’ll still have time to be a kid. I am itching for the day I can kick him and his father out of the house¬†to go do guy¬†things whatever they are, and I still plan on going out for walks with him, taking him to the park, and letting him play and be a kid for as long as I can.

At what maximum age would you give birth to a child?

35. I really don’t want children beyond that. I know that technology is fantastic bla bla bla, but damn it I AM FEELING MY YEARS. I really wish I had him earlier, to be honest.

Children, are for the young. It is so true.

Children are for people who have energy and no pre-conceived notions or ideas of what it is like to sleep in leisurely and have wonderfully FREE, CHILD-FREE time to yourself and to be able to spend said free time with their spouses/partners/boyfriends/girlfriends.

Or to eat a meal in peace without having to give your toddler the Evil Eye with a slight raised eyebrow (yes I have perfected that), when he is not behaving and you are trying to have a normal conversation.

Children are also for people who love having disposable income¬†to do whatever they want with, like booking an impromptu trip to ______ on a whim. They aren’t thinking about paying for daycare, or trying to figure out the system here¬†in a non-native language, or worrying about screwing them up because you are doing A, B or C and that¬†isn’t what someone else is doing.

Also, a minor point of course but you can have way more birth defects after the age of 35. It is a major consideration for me. I do not want to have to worry about my child possibly not being healthy just because I waited too long. Either you want kids or you don’t, but the sooner you have them, the better.

How would you spend your time and live your life if money were no object?
Would you still look for contracts, or would you work from home (and what would you do), or set up a company with employees, or what else?
Would you still work and if so, how much and at what frequency?
What else would you do?

Hmm. This is actually a really good question. I had to read it, and then spend the day with Baby Bun downtown playing and walking to really consider this because I didn’t know.

If money was no object, I would do five things:

Continue to work (casually)

I would casually look for contracts in my field, but not stress about them.

I really do love what I do but I don’t really enjoy the uncertainty of contracts in the sense that I’d like to know my schedule ahead of time (less on the mone front). “Oh hey you’ll be out of work for 3 years, so don’t fuss about scheduling this and that, go for it!” … rather than “Should I do Y right now? I may get a contract and then have no time…

I’d probably take the money and start a side business of whatever idea I think at the moment is sorely missing from the market just for fun now that I have money to throw at it. Maybe open a retail store of some sort. Or not. I don’t want to be chained to something physical.

If the contract was full-time and indefinite.. hmm.. I think I’d be taking more vacations for sure as I am not worried about the money. Ideally, I’d work half the year, and take the other half off*.

(*My partner would snort at this statement, he thinks I don’t work at all, and it would be more 2 weeks of work a year for me. LOL…)

Start a non-profit

I’d start a non-profit financial education company and go to schools giving voluntary seminars yearly at ages 10, 16 and 19 — kids don’t have to come to them, only the ones interested do but EVERY kid is interested in money, so.. just need a catchy tag line.

This is something I feel rather passionate about because had someone talked to me when I was younger, perhaps I’d have made better money choices early on with my spending as the money came in from jobs.

I’m already sort of thinking about what I’d do for these seminars. It’d be fun to do this when I don’t need to work for the¬†money (in the future), and I want to do these courses for Baby Bun as he gets older.

Spend more time with family but living in 5-star hotels, NOT WITH THEM

Spend more time in other cities with family Рe.g. back in Europe or in Toronto with my family, but living out of a 5-star hotel obviously, and not with them to put any burden on them. Or maybe just rent a fancy penthouse or apartment for that period of time.

I’d love to do this more but the problem is my partner works and when he doesn’t work, I am usually working. We need to get free time off¬†at the same time to take Baby Bun away and just hang out¬†in another city for a long period of time.

Also, once Baby Bun starts school, we’d have to stay here to let him finish, but the summers would definitely not be spent here.

…and we don’t go to 5-star hotels because of the money. I’d like to, trust me, but we are far too cheap for this as we do not have unlimited funds.

Waste way more money at Starbucks

Overpriced flavoured milk (chai tea, green tea and white hot chocolates). I know it, you know it, I still want it. This might be a good thing that money is no object because I am becoming healthier as a result. ūüėČ

….so in short, I’d do what I am doing today, just with¬†spending more money and worrying less about my financial situation.

Still have a burning question?

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

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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2 Comments

  1. s.

    Thank you very much for your helpful insights.

    Reply

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