Hectic Two Months
|Baby Girl looking out at our new view|
The only thing is that although we are unpacked, we are unpacked in a very inefficient manner. Things in our pantry are everywhere and in no logical arrangement. I spent 10 minutes yesterday looking for chocolate chips to make chocolate chip cookies.
As for the moving itself. I think we ended up throwing away 50% of our stuff beforehand. However, after we moved, we really could have thrown out more as another 33% of our stuff was either trashed or donated. In essence, we paid movers to move trash that we threw out anyway. That was fun. Luckily we hired Chinese movers, so the costs weren't too high*.
In terms of new costs, we're taking on a higher mortgage (but our rate also dropped 0.8% and our weekly mortgage payment is actually lower than before), but we didn't need to dip into our savings too much. We saved $20,000 in cash for the move and we withdrew $30,000 from our TFSAs, but after everything was signed an completed, our lawyers had a cheque for us for $35,000. So that will help replenish the TFSA next year we we get the contribution room back.
A few weeks in, here are my early observations of downtown living.
1) Grocery shopping is expensive. Yikes. Instead of No Frills, Food Basics and FreshCo we have Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro and Longos. Fortunately, we are a 20 minute walk from Chinatown for many cheap options and there are many Shoppers Drug Marts everywhere (for cheap eggs and milk). So we just go to the bigger stores to get stuff on sale (like pork ribs for $1.99/lbs at Metro).
2) Everything is walking distance. No cars needed downtown. You can basically walk everywhere. Transit is also a good option if you need to travel a long distance as it's just one fare if you complete your trip within two hours. BG is free as she's under 12, so for two fares you can go pretty far.
3) It's noisier. Especially in the early morning and late at night. It's not too noticeable as when I hear it I think it's the rain (I'd figure out the next morning it wasn't raining). You do get that one car or motorcycle thinking they are competing in the Indy 500, but you also get that in the suburbs.
4) There's less stress. Before when the in-laws would leave lights on for no reason, it would be stressful... even with the bulbs changes to the LEDs and whatnot. Now I'm not as stressed. I just turn off the lights as hydro is covered in our condo fees. Sure, what we use will reflect in the expenses for the building as a whole, but I don't know how the previous owners used their lights and I replaced some of the old incandescent bulbs with LED ones.
5) My commute is easier. 15 to 20 minutes depending on the traffic lights and elevators. Frankly, I don't even notice the time. I'm walking and then I'm close to work. I'm so close to work, I also walk home for lunch. I used to bring my lunch to work before, but now that I'm close to home, I don't need to lug my lunch to work. Also, because I go home for lunch now, BG asks me frequently if I need to go back to work even in the evenings...
6) We've spent more money eating out. Part of that is the in-laws and wifey want to try new restaurants. Part of that is that our food and cooking stuff wasn't completely unpacked. Part of that was BG's birthday was last weekend and the weekend before, we had a birthday celebration for my dad and BG as my parents were going on a cruise or trip somewhere. Either way, we've spent a lot of money on food, but nothing crazy. We're still within our budget.
That's about it for now.
There's a lot of stuff to do downtown. Just last week we visited the Hockey Hall of Fame because I had free tickets from work. There's a library 10 minutes away and a huge playground 20 minutes away. There was a marathon a couple weekends ago and we saw the runners from our condo. This was after my wife jokingly said we should check out the marathon the night before. In our own condo building, we have a full assortment of amenities. One of which is a swimming pool. BG loves "swimming" so she's been visiting the pool very frequently either with her grandparents, wifey or myself.
Soon I will post another 6 month update and costs of raising BG now that we're three years in.
Hopefully, it won't take me 2 additional months to get those posted.
*Basically from 9am to 5pm, for three movers and two trucks (father-in-law underestimated how much stuff we had, so they had to call in a 3rd guy and a small truck) cost us $800. In comparision when wifey and I moved from a condo to our old house in 2012, moving a bedroom and a den cost $880 + tips (I think I gave the movers $50 each). It's crazy how cheap Chinese movers are.