The people that say babies are expensive are wrong. You can shop around and get a deal on all of the things that infants need. You can find the lowest price for diapers, choose to breastfeed and simplify the amount of things that you buy. Then, that infant grows up and becomes a toddler, eventually even into preschool. They start to take part in activities to grow and develop their confidence and skill set.
That’s when things start to get expensive.
There’s the swimming lessons, the gymnastics classes, the soccer, the art classes, the twice a week preschool programs and Canskate. There’s uniforms, recital outfits, association and membership fees.
Then you have a second child, and a third child and the cost of these activities doubles and triples.
Jamie and I are part of the 89% of parents that believe it’s important for the parents to assist in the costs of their child’s education. It’s something that we’ve been saving for since the kids were born – and now, have to balance with the cost of the activities that the kids are involved in.
Did you know? Three out of five Canadian parents (61%) say they, or someone they know, have borrowed money or used their retirement savings to put a child through hockey or other extracurricular activities.
What are some of the things that you can do to balance the costs of education and activities?
Invest First. Use automatic withdrawals for education funds. This way, the money is going to be withdrawn from your bank account before you even have the chance to think about spending for it. Or, choose to set up regular withdrawals when money is being deposited into the bank account, like a regular time once a month when a pay check is being deposited.
Use Children’s Activity Credit. You can claim up to five hundred dollars per child under the age of sixteen using the receipts from the registered activities that you’re going to place the child in that year. Thinking about it this way, that’s four sessions of swimming lessons, a skating session and one gymnastics session around here for Olivia. Every bit counts, so make sure that you’re saving those receipts. This can help to offset the costs of activities.
Set a Budget and Start Saving. Determine the estimated cost of activities for the upcoming year. Research the programs and see how much it’s going to cost. Once you’ve found a total, determine how much you need to start saving monthly to avoid the crunch when it comes time to pay for the activities.
Stick to one Activity at a Time. We do the one activity per season rule. Sticking to this rule, we make sure that we’re able to easily contribute to the kids’ RESPs but also that we’re not going to exhaust the kids’ activity budget. As an added bonus, you’re going to be able to make sure that the kids aren’t being over scheduled with activities and there is lots of time for play.
Learn more about finding your balance. Come join @CSTConsultants, @beyondtheblueline and @THNKenCampbell on December 17th at 9pm EST where they will be discussing the cost of hockey vs. Education and RESPs. Follow hashtag #hockeyvseducation – we’ll also be giving away 5 – $50 VISA gift cards.
“Disclosure: I am part of the C.S.T. Consultants Inc. – Beyond the blue line blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”