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Checklist before opening an RESP

by Maxine
Posted August 1 2010 12:45am
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 Use this checklist before you open and RESP:

  • Make sure that both you and your child have a SIN (read the details here)
  • Choose an RESP provider that meets your needs
  • Set your goals and discuss these with your provider
  • Choose the plan that’s right for you

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Top 10 Reasons to open an RESP

by Maxine
Posted August 1 2010 12:45am
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These are the top ten reasons for you to open an RESP for your child(ren):

  1. You gain access to government grants that provide you with additional money towards your child’s post-secondary education.
  2. Taxes are deferred. Earnings on RESP investments accumulate without tax.
  3. When the accumulated income is paid out from the RESP as Education Assistance Payments, it will be taxed in your child’s hands. Your child will likely pay much less tax than you would on this income. 
  4. Friends and family can contribute to your child’s RESP and help the savings grow.
  5. Canada Learning Bonds allow those who qualify for the National Child Benefit supplement to receive up to $2,000 towards their post-secondary education.
  6. There are flexible options at the time of maturity. 
  7. Post-secondary education is growing increasingly expensive - RESPs help ensure that your child receives the education he or she wants.
  8. RESP accounts can remain open for up to 36 years, so if your child chooses to defer his or her education plans after high school you can still use your RESP money when the time comes.
  9. With a Family Plan you can transfer your contributions between siblings if one chooses not to attend post-secondary education.
  10. Probably the most important reason to open an RESP right now is to assure you are financially ready to support your child’s education. Starting now ensures minimized stress on your finances. The earlier you invest, the greater the dividend for you and your child when the time finally arrives to head off to college or university.

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Planning a Weekly Menu

by Maxine
Posted August 3 2010 10:49pm
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Being prepared is the key when it comes to controlling your family’s expenses, but how do you manage that? One great idea is to plan your meals a week in advance, then use the set menus to prepare your weekly grocery list.

You can find free menu planning tools on the internet – some even create your weekly shopping list automatically. If that sounds easier for you, go for it! But if you’d rather keep to pen and paper you can download our easy Weekly Menu Planner sheet below. Use it to write down what you’ll be feeding your family this week and then take it with you to the grocery store to keep you on track while you shop.

Spending five minutes planning meals can help you cut down on impulse and last-minute shopping – saving your family money and helping to ensure that you eat nutritious meals.

Download the Weekly Menu Worksheet (PDF)

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Eating on a Dime

by Maxine
Posted August 3 2010 10:57pm
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Convenience foods may seem convenient, but they cost your wallet – and your waistline – in the long run. Eating well doesn’t have to break you wallet, sometimes just a little planning can save you financially and help improve your family’s health.

You’re running late and just need to pick up a few items at the grocery store – you rush in, strap your toddler into the cart and swoop through the aisles tossing in this and that. You need things for dinner tonight, snacks for preschool, lunch fixings for your older child and something to feed your partner and yourself too… Before you know it, your cart is full and you’re on your way, grabbing some pre-made sushi from the ‘to go’ kiosk as you swing by. You and your partner can eat that tonight – it’s too late to start making a big dinner anyway.

Most supermarkets are full of pre-made meals these days and with lots of busy working parents they can seem like just the thing when time is short and demand for dinner high. It’s easy to spend way beyond your means when it comes to groceries and many families do – the average Canadian household spends $6,910 a year, or about 11% of its income, on groceries.

Convenience foods may seem convenient, but they cost your wallet – and your waistline – in the long run. Eating well doesn’t have to break you wallet, sometimes just a little planning can save you financially and help improve your family’s health.

Planning Ahead

Plan ahead. It can be tough, but make a list of what you need before you shop. Then remember to bring it with you when you head out to the store. This is a key step to eating well on a budget. 

Our experts have put together the following strategies to help you plan your menu ahead of time.

  • Set a 15-minute pocket of time each week in which to plan your meals. It will help you avoid unforeseen expenses for last minute items. Remember to save your menus! Soon you'll have a wide variety to choose from each week.
  • Make meals from fresh ingredients whenever possible. They're healthier, less costly and the food you cook will have less salt and fat than packaged foods.
  • Check to see what ingredients you already have and what you'll need to pick up before hitting the food aisles. This will help you avoid doubling up on ingredients.
  • Post your weekly menu on your fridge. This will serve as a handy reminder to defrost or marinate any dinner ingredients ahead of time. You'll also satisfy everyone's curiosity about what's for dinner.

Shop Smart

When shopping for groceries, it's possible to be penny wise and health conscious. Use these tips to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your grocery dollar even further.

  • Take a moment to choose the store where you'll do your shopping. Not all pricing is equal. A quick comparison of grocery store flyer specials can help you find the best deals. You can start to save before you begin to shop.
  • Have a snack before you shop. A full stomach can help you control many urges to shop outside of your list.
  • Resist the impulse buys of attractively displayed convenience foods.
  • Practice perimeter shopping. Start with a quick trip around the outer aisles of your supermarket. This is where you'll find plenty of fresh greens, fish, meat and dairy selections.
  • Choose locally grown seasonal produce. These items are grown close by, so they're usually more affordable and they haven't lost as many nutrients. Buying locally grown seasonal produce is also better for the environment.
  • Remember to get everything you need for the week. Many convenience stores make you pay for their convenience with higher prices. So stock up and avoid those extra mid-week shopping trips for milk, eggs and other staples. This also gives you more time with your family and reduces your daily stress.
  • Take the challenge! Any attempt to add a new routine to an already packed day can be a trial. But with a little bit of planning and savvy shopping, you'll soon reap the benefits in your wallet and in your health.

How does your family save at the grocery store? Do you have any tips to share with other parents? Leave a comment below and let us know the ways you save!

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