An unexpected surprise

Well, I was going through the Christmas aftermath and found that our spending was well down on the expected amounts. While our `gifts’ column went $20 over budget to $545 (still good!), food was one category where I over-budgeted. This was especially so, given that my workplace gave us all a free ham for Christmas and my relatives supplied the seafood. Alcohol was still a big expense area, and though I woke to champagne and orange juice with breakfast (a very special treat!), we didn’t go overboard and there’s plenty left to enjoy at functions over the coming months.

Anyway, we have had an unexpected financial surprise. Some of our relatives didn’t know what to give my son, so they asked if we wanted cash to `put away’ for him. They knew I didn’t want him to be overwhelmed with gifts at this tender age, and though I told them not to get him anything, they wanted to know what else they could do for him.

(In the end my son had three gifts under the tree anyway, plus two more to open at friends’ and relatives home as we visited. I loved that he took 15 minutes to play with each item before moving on to open the next. It showed that he valued them, and I hope that continues as he gets older. He has played with them almost constantly since then, but I think he has enjoyed having his cousins stay with us for the holiday season more than any specific gift!)

Anyway, these relatives ended up giving me cash for my son. As I was putting this somewhere safe, I opened a drawer and found two $100 cheques for him in the drawer. These were from his grandfather: one was a gift to mark his birth and another was for his first birthday. We never cashed these because we didn’t have an account for him, so they had been sitting in the drawer for some time. His grandfather was hassling me only last week to finally `do something’ with them.

In the end, we checked with his grandfather to see if we could swap the cheques for cash. Once this was added to the cash gifts from the other side of the family, I realised we now had $350 in total. Then, when I checked my accounts, it seemed like a Christmas miracle when I noted that I got paid more than I expected for doing an extra shift last week (I expected to be taxed more). Suddenly I wondered if we would have enough to open an investment for my son, something we have been considering for some time. With a bit of adjusting here and there to our budget, my husband and I managed to find the extra $650 we need to invest in a managed fund that hubby’s brother (a financial planner) had suggested would be best for a child.

Needless to say I am really excited about being able to do this. I still want to do some research to ensure this is the best way to go with the money. I need to know more about the fee structure and projected returns over time. And we also have to decide how much to contribute to this investment each month. We would like to put in $100 a month, but we might start with $50 as this is an extra item that I hadn’t included in my budgets going forward. Also, we still have our own debt to get rid of, before we get some investments of our own going, so this is another priority for us.

It just feels good to finally get started. I’m aware that the magic of compounding will make a great difference to the total, even if we are only investing a small amount early on. And I hope this will make certain parts of his life easier. I’ll work hard to educate him about debt and investment, and hopefully it can be used for a home deposit or some other goal a LOONG time in the future.


  1. Tom said

    It always seems like a majority of everyone’s money goes to booze 😉 haha

  2. I agree Tom! I can’t quite believe how much of our food budget was actually alcohol! But let me say this – the last few days have been fun! In Australia we celebrate Boxing Day on December 26 and after that public holiday, most people take the rest of the week off, then get ready for New Year. So it’s party time for more than a week solid!

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