Thanks to TD Bank for sponsoring this post and making me realize that we really do need to plan for that extra summer spending.
Clockwise from top: St. Lawrence Market, classic playground structure, skipping in food truck parking lot, and Maple Leaf baseball at Christie Pits
Forget about diapers. Forget about formula. Forget about shoes and clothes and food and everything else that’s supposed to cost a fortune when you have kids.
Summer takes the cake. When you have kids summer goes from the season where maybe you overdo it on the patio circuit and stretch the budget a little bit to this crazy expensive cyclone of spending money hand over fist and nobody ever talks about it.
Let’s break down how my bank account is getting a serious workout this summer, for example. First, there’s summer camp. I don’t mean that we’re sending our kids away to some ritzy month-long “experience.” I’m just talking about your run-of-the-mill city-run day camp that is basically a place where I can send my children while school’s out in order to keep working. Four weeks of daycamp times three children costs me around $1500.
Of course, I’m only sending them for half the summer so I will have to take on fewer freelance projects which means less income. That drop in income will certainly come in handy during the family vacation which we take during the summer. Doh! Couple that with all kinds of fun outings and events that will scrape away at the bottom of my wallet just in time to buy everybody an all-new school wardrobe because these people just won’t stop growing. (And I’m not the only one who just shelled out for next year’s hockey registration fee, am I?)
$ $ $ $ $ $ &#!@?!
The good news is that I am here to help. I mean, not usually. Usually I am here to weep and cry and laugh at my own dumb luck. But today, right here and now, I have helpful information.
I attended an event for bloggers that was hosted by TD Bank last week, so there were bankers (like Linda MacKay, Senior Vice President, Retail Savings and Investing and Shirley Malloy Associate Vice President, Acquisition & Sales Management from TD) and bloggers (like yours truly) together in one space. There was so much helpful information being shared around that room that I couldn’t help but absorb a tiny bit of it.
You are not alone. 55% of Canadian parents with kids under 18 have additional expenses during the summer. And 71% of them will spend up to $999 per kid.
That money needs to come from somewhere. And ideally, that “somewhere” won’t be a growing pile of debt. The top two ways Canadian parents pay for summer expenses are by saving up in advance and cutting back other expenses.
There are ways to save you might not have thought of. Some tips are using credit card rewards toward summer activities (like theme park visits, for example), taking advantage of early bird discounts where possible, budgeting and saving throughout the year (with the help of savings tools provided by the bank, if you like), shopping around for more affordable programs, and making sure you are claiming any tax deductions from summer programs.
But my favourite part of the evening was when a room full of Toronto-area mom bloggers started brainstorming different freebie and cheapo options for the summer. I’m pretty sure we could have gone on all night. Here are some highlights:
Make it a games afternoon by hanging out in a cafe that offers board games, like Boards and Ladders in the Annex
Sundays are family day at the Gardiner Museum of ceramic arts with lots of activities family activities on offer (and kids 12 and under are always free)
Visit the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse and Franklin’s Garden for free on the Toronto Islands (if you can resist the lure of Centreville)
Sugar Beach has soft sand spotted with pink sun umbrellas right on Queen’s Quay. And my gang also enjoys the new playground at Sherbourne Common, a short walk away.
All the parks and beaches. Sometimes just visiting the local park one neighbourhood over is enough of a thrill.
Sunnybrook Stables, Woodbine Racetrack, Riverdale Farm, Mackenzie House, Allen Gardens, Harbourfront free movies, TD Reads reading clubs, Maple Leaf baseball at Christie Pits
The list goes on. What’s your favourite way to save money and have fun in the summer?
This post has been sponsored by TD Bank.