Special to the Financial Independence Hub
Today is the first official day of summer as well as Father’s Day. So it’s entirely appropriate that parents across the country are busy lining up activities to keep their kids busy while they’re out of school.
Many parents find it a juggling act to pay for the additional expenses. According to a recent survey TD conducted – 71% of Canadian parents with children under the age of 18 who incur additional costs for their child during the summer spend up to $999 per child and half (51%) find budgeting for these additional summer costs stressful.
To help manage the financial heat wave that summer may bring, here are five quick tips for parents:
- Make a habit out of saving. For parents who have not already done so, an easy way to save is to open a tax free savings account and make a regular, automated contribution each month or timed to your payday. Whether it’s a little or a lot, you’ll see the dollars add up for activities through the summer and beyond.
- Shop around. We often associate shopping with spending money but in this case, shopping can help you save money instead. As you’re looking for the next activity this summer, consider municipally-run programs through community centres or the parks and recreation department, both of which often offer lower cost options.
- Maximize your rewards. When paying for your summer expenses, consider using a credit card with reward benefits that make sense for you and your family. Check your rewards balance. For example, with TD’s First Class Travel Credit Card you can use your loyalty rewards to redeem certain theme park passes or tours and excursions, or for your travel if you’re going on a trip.
- Recent changes to Universal Child Care Benefit help Canadians with Children. Plus the new (and increased) payments are being paid retroactive to January 2015. These new funds are a great way to off-set some summer costs and set aside a little extra in an RESP.
- Finally, file your receipts. Depending on which activities you choose, some summer costs could be tax deductible.
Linda MacKay is Senior Vice President, Retail Savings and Investing, for TD Canada Trust