Saving for post-secondary education is more essential than ever

Saving for post-secondary education is more essential than ever

When it comes to prepping for your child’s education, studying and keeping their grades up is only part of the equation. Contributing to their post-secondary education in advance and on a regular basis (especially during such an uncertain time) is a good way to help them get ahead.

Since the pandemic has left us with more economic uncertainty than ever before, now would be a great time for colleges and universities to drop their tuition fees. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality. According to Statistics Canada, tuition fees are still rising. Students enrolled full-time in undergraduate programs will pay, on average $6,580 in 2020/2021, up 1.7% from the previous year. And those enrolled in graduate programs saw tuition hike to $7,304, an increase of 1.6%.

Based on these latest available stats, Knowledge First Financial has revised its projections for how much it will cost when your child is ready to start post-secondary studies. For a child born in 2010, the average cost of a four-year program, is expected to be more than $105,000 with residence, or approximately $53,600 without residence.

Now is a good time to assess your finances to make sure your savings are on the right track. Knowledge First Financial begins sending out annual statements of accounts in February and you’ll be able to view your statement online. It will give you an overview of your account balance, investment growth and eligibility for government grant contributions so you can better assess your future contribution goals.

Many of us have been discovering new and innovative ways to save during the pandemic. You might even be saving more than you think without even realizing you’re saving at all. If you feel like you could do more, here are some extra ways to save at home that you may have not yet considered.

Make a list before grocery shopping. Planning your meals in advance can help you stick to your budget and avoid food waste (it also reduces the amount of time you spend in the store).

Buy in bulk. You typically find better value this way, and by planning a shopping list ahead of time, you’ll be able to determine not only what you actually need (vs want) but what items are worth buying in large quantities.

Take advantage of sales and discounts. With e-commerce on the rise, many retailers and grocery stores are offering competitive deals and discounts to boost traffic so do your homework before you proceed to checkout.

Switch your car insurance. Chances are, you’re driving less right now so look at a pay as you go car insurance plan that only charges you based on your actual mileage driven.

Find ways to save on your bills. Consider cancelling subscription boxes, cable or streaming services, podcasts or apps you could live without, or gym memberships you’re not using right now. Also check to see if your local public library offers free access to digital magazine/eBook subscriptions. If you don’t want to cancel a service altogether, sometimes all it takes is a phone call to negotiate a better price.

Shop around for bank accounts and credit cards. Do your research to ensure you’re getting the most competitive interest rates and maximizing cash back credit card rewards.

Put a pause on impulsive purchasing behaviour. Online shopping makes it easy to overspend so make a commitment to have items sit in your cart longer, giving you more time to talk yourself out of any unnecessary purchases.

As we settle into 2021, don’t let yourself get too comfortable. Instead, get invigorated! Prepare for the future by focusing more energy into the present. Now is the time to make a conscious effort to be mindful of what you’re spending and saving, and what you could be investing in your child’s education before the deadline on February 15 of this year. It’s never too late to reevaluate your budget, reassess your goals, and renew your resolutions.