Get in financial shape with our August Money Fit calendar
With summer already halfway over, it’s time to start preparing for back-to-school. Now’s the perfect time to look at what your kids need, both for their short-term school goals as well as longer term goals like RESP savings for their post-secondary education. But while saving in an RESP is a good idea, it helps to also understand a few investing basics so your child’s money will grow that much quicker. Let’s get started… Follow along with this online calendar and make sure to sign up for our weekly #MoneyFit newsletter.
Back-to-school spending is set to increase 4.5% this year, according to Ernst & Young Canada. That’s up from the $323 in back-to-school funds that parents spent last year. It’s key to know smart shopping strategies so you don’t break the bank. Some key ones include:
1. Go shopping with a plan. Set a budget for your back-to-school shopping before you hit the stores, and then figure out how much you can spend for the items on your list. Having a list can prevent impulse purchases that can make you spend more than you planned.
2. Use technology to comparison shop: Use apps like RedLaser (free on iOS and Android), The Coupons App (free from iTunes or Google Play) as well as Walmart’s Savings Catcher app (free from iTunes or Google Play) to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. Many stores, including Best Buy and Walmart will match competitors’ prices and that can add up to big savings. Costco, too, is very competitive on kids’ clothing prices.
3. Avoid office supply stores. While there may be a convenient Staples or Office Depot store in your neighbourhood, prices on back-to-school supplies are often marked up by 50% or more.
Budgeting tips for students
If you’re a student going off to college or university, you’ll be doing your own back-to-school shopping. Bruce Sellery offers some helpful hints in this video on how to create a budget that’s realistic. It includes listing all your income (from part-time jobs, scholarships, RESPs) and expenses (including tuition and books as well as other incidentals like meals, rent, cell phone bills and transportation) and how to ensure there’s money left for some fun.
If you haven’t started saving for your child’s education through a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), now’s the time. You don’t want to leave any free government money on the table. To learn about the basics, read on.
Gift an RESP to a child
If you’ve decided you want to open an education savings account for your grandchild, niece or nephew, financial planner Jason Heath shows you how to do it right.