Last summer, you *could* say I was caught off guard with extra expenses.
Family vacations… swimming and dance classes… day trips… summer camp… sporting activities… sacre bleu! If I had taken the time to clearly understand the costs of keeping kids entertained over summer, I probably wouldn’t have spent my “change jar” money on a pair of Stuart Weitzman sandals.
(Although, really, soo worth it.)
This year, however, I’m prepared. With summer vacation beginning in just a few weeks, I’m happy to share that I’ve budgeted and saved for the kids’ activities beforehand! But honestly, don’t feel bad if your saving game hasn’t been as stealth. I was right there with you last year! And according to a recent survey from TD, 71 per cent 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. Put that in perspective, folks – an extra G just on summer activities!
It’s no surprise that half (51%) find budgeting for these additional summer costs stressful.
So, what are we spending our money on? It looks like my family represents a typical Canadian household, because we nailed ALL of the top activities! More than half (56%) of Canadian parents sign up their kids for additional activities or programs during the summer, and the most popular ones include:
Family vacations (55%)
Classes – e.g. swimming, dance (53%)
Day trips – e.g. zoo (51%)
Summer camp (49%)
Sporting activities (46%)
I’m sure it sounds like your household too. But just before we pass the tissues and have a group cry, remember – our summer investment means the kids are GONE. Away. Buh-bye. Poof! Yep, it’s worth every penny.
But is there anything we can do to avoid the summer (financial) heat? There certainly is! TD offers these top five tips to help parents avoid the financial heat that summer can bring:
1. Check your rewards balance. Redeem some of your loyalty rewards, such as points from your First Class Travel Credit Card, to help fund activities and travel.
2. The early bird gets the worm. Some organizations may provide a discount on early registration.
3. Budget and start saving early. Save a little money each month and put into your TFSA. Online budgeting tools can also help you determine how much to save each month.
4. Shop around. Municipally run activities through community centres or the parks and recreation departments often offer lower cost programming.
5. File your receipts. Some summer costs could be tax deductible as a child care expense or under the child fitness tax credit on your tax return.
Summer is such a fun, memorable time for kids. Make it the best summer ever without the financial heat by planning ahead, finding creative ways to save, and most importantly, spending some time outdoors with the kiddos!