How To Plan For Tuition Costs, Even If You Flunked High School Math

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From the moment I discovered I was pregnant, I began researching everything baby-related. And I mean everything. Let’s just say I became an overnight expert in Bugaboos, baby carriers, organic crib sheets. It’s funny: you get knocked up and suddenly you want the best for this little nugget growing inside of you.

If only we put the same effort into our children’s finances. Turns out that if you put away even $100 each month, you can save enough tuition by the time your kid gets to university. But most of us aren’t doing that.

And, trust me, it’s not for lack of caring. It’s more a matter of being overtired, overworked and overwhelmed by the day-to-day responsibilities. Plus, when you’re pureeing veggies and changing poopy diapers all day long, the thought of your child going off to university isn’t exactly front of mind. It actually seems like a lifetime away.

But think of this way: retirement isn’t exactly around the corner – at least not for the vast majority of us – but that doesn’t stop us from diligently contributing to our RRSP each year. Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) work in a similar vein; as the name suggests, they help parents, family and friends save towards a child’s future post-secondary education (it actually makes for a great holiday gift – at least for the kid who has everything).

As Scotiabank shows on its Education Savings Plan site, it’s not difficult to contribute to your RESP each year. In fact, all you need is a social insurance number to set one up. Then you can think of it like a special savings account – one where your contributions grow thanks to Government of Canada initiatives like the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) and the Canadian Learning Bond (CLB).

Scotiabank explains how you can easily give your RESP a major boost. For example, the CESG will match your eligible contributions to an RESP by 20%. Or, with a CLB, you’ll get an initial $500 to jumpstart your child’s education.

“TKTKTKTKTK [quote from Scotiabank rep about how it works, benefits, how much you’ll be topped off, ways to start saving, etc],” says TK.

Here’s how to start saving now – and what to keep in mind:

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(Photo:  Jakub Krechowicz/Shutterstock)