Parents saving more, spending less for school

Mickey Djuric
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This year Canadian parents are more focused on long-term saving than they are spending money on the latest back-to-school gadgets and trends.

When it comes to back-to-school shopping, parents are becoming more focused on long-term saving. Times-Herald photo by Mickey Djuric

According to a survey conducted by the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan (CST), 85 per cent of parents feel it's more important to put money into education savings before buying the latest back-to-school gadgets. 

The survey found that parents are straying away from over-spending for school supplies this year and are protecting their money instead. 

"I think parents are starting to realize that they have to prioritize what they do with their money, and putting money aside for future costs of post secondary education is more of a priority for them," said Peter Lewis, vice-president of regulatory and corporate affairs for CST Foundation.

"At the end of the day, it's going to be a much more meaningful, and long-term legacy if it's able to help fund something like their education." Here are three tips Lewis provided to parents on how they can save during the school year:

1) Open up a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) with any bank

"This is the most effective way to save," said Lewis. For families opening up a RESP in Saskatchewan, they can get a 20 per cent match from the federal government and 10 per cent match from the provincial government. "For every dollar you put into your RESP, there's a 30 per cent match coming in from two levels of government. There's no better way to do it."

2) Establish a regular saving amount

Lewis sees families saving $10 a month, and some saving more, but the important thing is saving. "Make it something you're comfortable with and have it come out of your account automatically," he said. "It's amazing how over time, if it's invested well it can grow into something that's quite meaningful for your child down the road."

3) Ask the tough questions about your spending

"Kids will put pressure on you about buying the latest brand names and the latest trends. As a parent you have to be really judicious about how you're going to get the maximum benefits for your kid in the long term," he said. "If you're able to meet their needs, but spend less, you can find ways to free up more money to park into the saving account." 

Organizations: Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan, CST Foundation

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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