School is officially out in less than a week! Have you made plans to keep your children busy during this summer? Summer activities can be expensive! How to budget for kids’ summer activities?
Every February, I begin the process of enrolling my kids into various summer activities, including soccer, swimming, language school, and hockey clinics. The costs can quickly add up!
While some parents have lined up activities for their kids, others are scrambling to pay for additional expenses that come up while school is out. According to a recent TD survey, 55% of Canadian parents with children under the age of 18 take on additional costs during the summer including summer programs such as camps and activities. In fact, 71% of them spend up to $999 per child!
Where are Canadians spending their money during the summer? The most popular additional activities or programs parents sign their kids up for during the summer include:
- Family vacations (55%)
- Classes – e.g. swimming, dance (53%)
- Day trips – e.g. zoo (51%)
- Summer camp (49%)
- Sporting activities (46%)
How can Canadian parents budget for kids’ summer activities? Here are some tips on how to budget for kids’ summer activities from TD Canada Trust experts, Linda MacKay, Senior Vice President, Retail Savings and Investing and Shirley Malloy Associate Vice President, Acquisition & Sales Management.
How to Budget for Kids’ Summer Activities
Budget and start saving early
While it may be too late for some camps and activities, saving ahead of time to account for the extra costs incurred over the summer is crucial. Save a little money each month and put into your TFSA; online budgeting tools, like visiting tdcanadatrust.com, can also help you determine how much to save each month. In my kitchen, I have a sealed jar with a teeny tiny slit for coins and bills – this is our “fun activities/ vacation” jar so we can save money throughout the year to spend during summer.
The early bird gets the worm
Some camps offer a discount on early registration; check the sign up dates and sign up in advance to save a few dollars. While some activities offer early bird rates, others offer discounts if siblings are enrolled. Some camps even offer payment plans to pay over course of the year rather than in one lump sum. Mark January in your calendar as a time to begin scheduling summer camps and activities – it’s never too early to start.
Municipally run activities through community centres or the parks and recreation department often offer lower cost programming. There are also some wonderful free programs offered – check online or through your town or public library. My son came home from school the other day asking me to sign him up with the book club through TD Canada Trust and our local public library. The prizes are great incentives to motivate reluctant readers during summer.
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. I save all of my sports receipts in a file folder so that come tax time, I already have copies ready to go.
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. For example, you can use your loyalty rewards to redeem certain theme park passes or tours and excursions.
Need help planning your finances? The TD Planning Tools site is a great start.
Stay safe and have a happy summer!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Savvy Mom and TD Canada Trust. As always, the opinions stated herein are my own.