Summer is here and if you’re like most Canadians, you’re geared up to enjoy it to the max. For many of us, that means filling those sunny days with memory-making fun—like trips to the cottage, riding the roller coaster at the amusement park, regular walks to the local ice cream shop, and hot days spent cooling off at the waterslides.

With all the activities, day trips and travel filling up your calendar, don’t forget to stay on top of your finances to make sure you’re not overspending. We’ve put together the ultimate summer financial checklist, so you can spend more time beating the heat and making the most of the season, without regretting your purchases later.

✓ Make a budget for summer, and stick to it

From family vacations to day camps for the kids, the sunniest season can easily become the most expensive time of year. With 54% of Canadians planning on taking a vacation this summer, according to a 2022 poll conducted by Yahoo/Maru Public Opinion , getting out of town is an expense that can easily put a dent in your budget. To stay on top of your summer spending, account for all of the major events and activities you have planned (think everything from weddings to childcare), and make a plan for how you’ll pay for them. Consider using an app to track your income and spending (such as Mint or Wally), and cutting back on non-essentials so you have the money for things you need or really want.

✓ Take a breath and check in on your financial goals

Canada Day is half-way through the year (it flew by, right?), making it the perfect time to check in on your financial goals. After you’ve enjoyed those fireworks and put away your red t-shirt, take the time to look at your short- and long-term wants and needs. Maybe your house desperately needs a new coat of paint or you’re dying for a new BBQ—whatever it is, it’s important to identify and make a plan to pay for it. Maybe you’ll realize you can’t really afford to book that week away in the fall. But better to know that now than when you find yourself with regrets or debt after the fact.

✓ Save big and have fun in the sun with free activities

If you’re looking for ways to save money without sacrificing fun, there are tons of free things to do everywhere you look. Many cities across Canada offer activities that don’t cost a dime, such as music in the park, splash pads, public beaches, public art displays and even outdoor movies. Your local library is a diamond mine for no-cost activities too, including crafts and games. Plus you can always borrow books and movies. Getting out into nature, be it a park or beach, is a great way to enjoy the season and not spend too much. Make an afternoon of it by bringing a picnic lunch—cheaper and tastier.

✓ Remember to plan ahead for fall and winter

It’s hard to think about back to school and Jolly Old Saint Nick when it’s 30 degrees outside and you’re sipping an iced tea on your back patio, but you’ll thank yourself later when you’re financially prepped for those yearly looming expenses. Before you know it, you’ll need to buy the kids new clothes and school supplies, then suddenly you’re hearing holiday ads and it’s time to start buying presents. Whether it’s using an automated savings feature tied to everyday purchases with an app (Moka, for example) or setting up a monthly savings goal using automatic withdrawals, every dollar counts. That way, when it’s time to fork over cash for your kiddo’s new laptop, you’ll be ready.

Last but certainly not least, our final hot summer tip…

✓ Start saving for your child’s post-secondary education with CST Spark

Just like your summer will fly by faster than watching mint-chocolate-chip ice cream melt under the hot sun, your little one will be off to university before you know it. So while your kids are keeping cool eating delicious watermelon by the sprinkler, take five minutes to get one important thing checked off your summer list: Start saving for your children’s future schooling by opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) with CST Spark from home, in your bathing suit.

Here’s something we know you’ll find refreshing: When you save for post-secondary education with an RESP, you’ll get access to government-matching grants to brighten your child’s future, thanks to the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). When you contribute, the government matches 20% of the first $2,500 you contribute to your child’s RESP each year, up to $500 in a year in grants, and a lifetime maximum of $7,200 per child. The sooner you get started, the more time your money has to grow, and every little bit you contribute helps. Meaning, whether you have $20 or $100 to spare, you can get your savings off the ground today.

Summers are short, just like childhood, so soak it all in. And when you’re done carving out that watermelon into fun shapes for the kids to enjoy, be sure to carve out a few minutes for your financial planning. Because when you watch your future engineer, arborist or pastry chef walk on the stage to accept their hard-earned certificate, you’ll be thankful you saved for their education.

Have questions? Explore our website for more info or chat with us, 6 days a week.

CST Spark Education Portfolios are sold only by Prospectus. Investors should read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.


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