When I first had “C,” one of my number one concerns was how we were going to provide for all of his needs. Kids are expensive! The rising cost of daycare, extracurricular activities and education are a constant worry. As a family, we knew we had to plan ahead to give him the best chance for a successful future.
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Contributing to an RESP was a no-brainer for my husband and I. We both had parents who weren’t able to contribute to an RESP early, and therefore we didn’t have any substantial savings when it came time for us to head off to university. I was lucky that my parents still decided to foot my school bill out of their own pockets when it came time, even though it was a substantial financial burden for them. For my husband, it meant he couldn’t afford to go to university while at the same time trying to support himself financially. He tried to make it work for as long as he could, but eventually he had to let go of the university dream and work full-time. He is adamant that he doesn’t want “C” to have to make the same choice.
It was obvious to us that we wanted to do things differently for our son. From the time he was born we set up an RESP in his name. We don’t have a ton of extra income, but putting aside even $50 a month builds over time. The government grants that are available also help to top up the account. You can read more about grant programs here.
Knowing we’ll need more than the amount we’ve committed to setting aside each month, we’ve identified four times throughout the year where we can invest a little extra!
4 Easy Ways to Make RESP Contributions
1. Tax Season
Tax Season is in full swing. Our family likes to think of the money we get back at tax time as an opportunity to invest in something of value. What could be more valuable than your child’s future education? Even setting aside a portion of your tax return to top up an RESP is money well-saved. If you can, also make sure you’re contributing enough to take full advantage of the government grants available.
If far-away relatives send us a cheque for “C”’s birthday, it goes straight into his RESP. My parents often ask us what to get our little munchkin for his birthday. I tell them that contributing to his RESP is perhaps one of the greatest gifts they could give him. Of course they want to get him something tangible as well, so a suggestion I usually make is that they dedicate half the birthday budget to something fun and the other half to savings.
3. Extra change
My dad has a great habit of throwing all of his change in an extra-large piggy bank for “C” until the next time we see him. Over six months to a year, this can add up to several hundred dollars. “C” loves seeing the change that grandpa has saved for him and he loves to watch the coins trickle into the coin counter to reveal the final total. All of it goes straight into his education fund.
4. Bonus Money
Maybe you work at a job that occasionally has enough in their budget for an end-of -year bonus. Perhaps you were able to cash in on some overtime hours. Maybe you were just digging through your pockets and found an extra $20! Any extra money that you weren’t originally counting on is a great opportunity to invest.
I hope you found these tips helpful, and I would love to hear your various money saving strategies! For more information on RESPs, check out Heritage Education Funds to learn how you can start contributing!
The Good Enuf Mommy