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.
Gardiner Ceramics Museum for a different museum experience as well as hands-on clay fun on Family Day Sundays.
Gibraltar Lighthouse and Franklin Children’s Garden at Hanlan’s Point on the Toronto Islands. I have never been and this is number one on my must visit list this summer!
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.