With two new babies at home and a pre-schooler with a TON of energy to burn, I am both looking forward to and dreading the summer in equal measure. How am I going to keep my four year old entertained without blowing the household budget (all those diapers don’t come cheap!)
Thankfully, TD Canada Trust and SavvyMom.ca invited me to get together with financial experts and fellow mom bloggers from around the GTA to discuss fun summer activities to do with your kids and how to do it without breaking the bank!
Did you know that according to a recent TD survey, 55% of Canadian parents with children under the age of 18 take on additional costs during the summer; in fact, 71% of them spend up to $999 per child. That’s a lot of extra money! Here are some tips from the Linda MacKay (Senior Vice President, Retail Savings and Investing) and Shirley Malloy (Associate Vice President, Acquisition & Sales Management) from TD Canada Trust on how to keep within budget during the expensive summer months.
First, use the Universal Child Care Benefit to offset the expenses of summer camps and other activities. Due to recent changes, the benefit has increase from $100 to $160 per month for each child from zero to six years of age. Also, for the first time, parents of children 6 to 18 will receive $60 per month! And, just in time for summer, we will all receive retroactive payments back to January for each child – a nice windfall just in time for the holidays!
Another interesting suggestion was to open a Tax Free Savings Account and automate your payments! It doesn’t have to be much but it will add up without you having to even think about it. TD has the “Simply Save” program; you can set any amount to automatically go into your savings account every time you use your debit card to make a purchase.
It’s also important to understand what your rewards credit cards can do for you. If you have a travel rewards card like Aeroplan, you can use points towards renting a bigger vehicle for that road trip, saving you a ton of cash as well as easing your mind about any space issues for all the gear you need to shlep around!
When deciding what activities you will do with the kiddos, shop around. Check online for discounts to local attractions like the ROM, AGO or the Toronto Zoo and check the City of Toronto for reasonably priced sports, camps and swimming lessons.
Lastly, keep your receipts! Lots of children’s activities, such as sports lessons, are tax deductible. Claiming these expenses could make a big difference come tax time.
I am sometimes really stumped when trying to think of cool places to take the kiddos to keep life interesting! Here are some of the amazing places to take the kids in and around the GTA!
Snakes and Lattes in the Annex for board games and snacks on a rainy day.
Sugar Beach for an urban beach experience! Bring your bucket and spade for sandcastles!
Sunnybrook Stables for the horse fan in your family! There are also some lovely walking trails nearby as well as the Toronto Botanical Garden (one of my favorite places in the entire city)
Humber Bay Park East and West are along my regular stroller route and we always take a minute to check out the Butterfly Habitat. This area is also a fantastic place for bird spotting!
How are you planning to budget for this summer? Where are your favourite places to visit in the GTA?
This post has been sponsored by TD Canada Trust, but the opinions are my own. For more information, please visit http://www.tdcanadatrust.com.
I have really been working the monochromatic uniform since the littles ones were born but with the weather finally turning a corner in Toronto, I decided to pump up the colour a bit.
I bought this amazing tote at the Junction Flea Market a couple of weekends ago. It was made in Nepal by female artisans at risk of sexual slavery and the importers made sure that they were paid a fair living wage for their products.
Fathers can be hard to shop for so I decided to put together a little list of things that I know my husband would love to receive from our little ones for Father’s Day this year!
It has been a while since I shared what arrived in my monthly Topbox! This month had four products, three of which I LOVE!
Lise Watier Sublimessence High Concertration Age-Defying Serum (available September 2015) – Topbox members are among the first to try this new product. The texture is quite thin and spreads very easily. As soon as I applied it, my skin felt silky silky smooth and still felt amazing the next morning. I will be rationing this product out until I can buy more in September in store!!!
Essie Mini Nail Laquer in “Suite Retreat” - Essie polish is my absolute fave and this purple/blue colour is SO nice. I immediately painted my nails with it (see pic above)
Medusa’s Makeup eyeshadow in “Amulet”- This shadow is super pigmented and goes on very thick which I like in a shadow but the colour is not my style at that moment (I am more into neutrals right now) so I will be passing on to a friend who really digs a dramatic smokey eye.
The FACESHOP Herb Day Cleansing Foam Aloe - This product smells amazing, was super foamy (which I like in a face wash) and left my skin soft and not tight at all. Highly recommend!
I picked up these bird patterned pants at the end of last summer and didn’t really break them out again until this week when the weather warmed up (at least temporarily) in Toronto. I love them and they even got the kid seal of approval! The first time I wore them, Wee Man said “Mama, I like your bird pants!”
These joggers are my first post pregnancy pants purchase and I think I am in love! They are so comfortable and surprisingly versatile! I can wear almost any pair of shoes with them to totally change their look. I think you may be seeing a lot more of them on the blog in the future!
Shop more jogger options via the widget below!
The Little Dress Shop of Dreams by Meena Van Praag - This was the first book I read after the twins were born. While they were in the NICU I was pumping a lot and I read this while I did it. A light, sweet read which was exactly what I needed!
The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St James - I love this authors historical gothic mystery novels and the fact that she is from Toronto is an added bonus. Highly recommend if you are interested in 1920′s England and ghosts!!!
Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs (via NetGalley out on July 21st 2015)- I was lucky enough to receive an advances galley copy of the new Temperance Brennan novel and it was a super fun read! This series continues to impress with new mysteries and some surprisingly good character development.
Don’t forget to enter my Mother’s Day giveaway with OURS by Cheryl Hickey!
Enter via the widget below (Canada and US only)