For residents of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan enjoying this chilly Family Day, let’s take a few minutes to think about optimizing your family finances. For residents of provinces not celebrating this chilly Family Day, let’s also take a few minutes to think about optimizing your family finances. Busy parents often forget about Federal, Provincial and even Municipal money savers available to them when it comes to family finances. Herewith, a few tips for making sure your family is making the most of its money:
• The Universal Child Care Benefit. This one’s an absolute no-brainer. Parents of every child under six are eligible for this $100 month Federal financial installment. Sure, it pays for about one day of childcare, but one day of childcare is better than no days of childcare. Make sure you’re registered for it. Some families may also be eligible for the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the Child Disability Benefit. Provincially, there are often similar benefits available. Note - it’s important to apply for the Universal Benefit as soon as possible as it is only paid retroactively for eleven months!
• Tax deductions for childcare. If your child goes to daycare or has a nanny, you are allowed to deduct up to $7,000 for these expenses for children up to age seven, and $4,000 for children ages seven to sixteen.
• Children’s Fitness Tax Credit. Is Junior enrolled in hocked or synchronized swimming? Then you are eligible for a $500 tax credit from the Federal government.
• RESPs. Tax benefits for you, immediate education savings (and government top ups) for kiddo’s university education. If you have more than one child, a Family Plan RESP might be right for your family. It allows for multiple beneficiaries, meaning that if one child wants to move to a farm and skip college, you can apply the sum of the savings to your child who is planning on a pricey MBA. You may be eligible for supplemental Federal education savings programs as well.
• Investigate Municipal Programs. Cities often offer robust, subsidized activity programs.
• Budget! Raising a kid is expensive. Be mindful of how much you’re spending. Here’s a rough chart to help you budget for your brood’s socks, snacks and swimming lessons.