Kids, Money, and Regrets

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When I had my first baby I wanted to set up a savings account for her and we did. We deposited money she was given at birthdays and holidays. I squirreled away every cheque that ever fluttered out of a greeting card. It lasted two years and then I got pregnant with the next and he never did get a bank account as I just started spending the money on clothing or karate lessons – they both had all the toys they ever needed.

Now my daughter is 9 and when we moved out of town I closed down her account. She had $200 in there.

We moved and she really needed a new bed. The old one was a hunk of junk and so we bought a new mattress and put it on the floor temporarily until we could get a new bed for it. I sourced a few used ones on the classifieds sites and Facebook groups for great prices – none of which she liked.

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I asked her what she wanted and what she wanted was pretty specific. Dark wood – not cherry. No footboard, but not a metal frame.  Okay then. I hunted and hunted because I really wanted her to like this new bed and treat it well and look after her room better. The state of her room has been a huge point of contention and I thought that if she had some pride in it, maybe she would look after it a bit better.

I found it. I found the perfect bed and she loved it but the catch? It was $500. That’s a good amount of money to spend on a kid who has routinely destroyed every piece of furniture in her room with markers, stickers, bashing into it etc. I made her a deal. “You spend the $200 from your bank account and I’ll pay the rest. If you want an expensive bed, you need to pitch in too. Otherwise you’re just going to get a $75 used one.”

She agreed. We bought the bed. I’m happy to say that it seems to be working. She has never before made such an effort at keeping her room in good order.

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I hope she learned to save her money for things she wants, to invest and treat your property well. That good and important things aren’t cheap. $200 is a lot of money, especially to a 9 year old. Now we need to get on to the education savings because we are WAY behind on that and I am kicking myself that we didn’t do a better job of setting RESPs up when the kids were babies. RESPs (Registered Education Savings Plan) are a lot like RRSPs in that like an RRSP, money you deposit into an RESP grows tax free until it’s withdrawn, and when your child starts using the money for school, only the accumulated interest is taxable as income. If you’re  expecting or have a young child, sign up for the Alberta Baby Bundle at atb.com/babybundle so you don’t have the regrets I do. ATB Financial knows saving for your child’s education isn’t easy, especially if your income is lower in those first few years and ours absolutely was. If you sign up for the Alberta Baby Bundle and open an ATB RESP for your child, ATB will deposit a $150 savings booster into that RESP. (This offer is only eligible for children under 2.) Because of government savings grants, $150 is more like $180!

When my kids were born everything seemed so complicated. RESPs seemed complicated. I was focused on nursing and getting them to sleep and had no brain power left for thinking about things 18 years in the future. I wish there had been a resource to walk me through it all.

Sign up for  the ATB baby bundle and you’ll get access to current discounts and savings. You’ll also receive new savings in your email every 4-6 weeks. You can unsubscribe at any time. Emails also include helpful tips for parents on budgeting, saving and smart spending from ATB and Baby Bundle partners, many of whom are local Alberta  businesses you already love to support.

When you invest in an RESP for your child, that RESP may be eligible for education savings grants. To learn more about RESPs, visit atb.com/resp, call 1-888-330-9713 or stop by any ATB branch. By offering discounts, freebies and a $150 RESP booster, the Alberta Baby Bundle is a great email resource for new Alberta parents that I wish I’d had 9 years ago.

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*This post has been generously sponsored by ATB. All opinions remain my own, as always.


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