Category: Family

Five Easy Tips to Encourage Your Child to Contribute to Their RESP

Heritage Eduation Funds

Saving for your child’s post secondary education can be daunting – not only for yourself but for your child as well. They are at an age where they may not yet understand personal finances and the financial obligation that goes along with attending post-secondary institutions. Personally, I did not understand the OSAP loans I signed off on at that time, and I wish I had paid more attention – or at the very least had a second check – to make sure I wasn’t making a mistake.

Saving is an essential part of life, and the earlier our children learn how to do it, the better it will be for them in the long run. Helping your child understand the importance of saving for their own education will not only give them pride in their accomplishment, but foster sound financial skills later in life. It will also encourage them to take control of their education, as they have more at stake when contributing their own finances.

Getting Your Child to Contribute to their RESP

An RESP is a helpful tool used by parents (or grandparents) to help finance higher education for their child. Opening an account is pretty straightforward, and involves contacting an RESP company (such as Heritage Education Funds) to set up an account. Once the account is open, growing the account is all up to you and your child!

Encouraging your child to contribute their own earned money towards their education is important, but may seem like a daunting task at the time, as your child has other priorities. Here are some helpful tips I have learned along the way to encourage your child to save towards their education in an RESP:

1. Take the first step in encouraging financial independence by setting up a bank account for your child. Both of  my children have their own bank accounts, bank books and debit cards (the cards are mainly used for deposits and not purchases at this time) and this was a major stepping stone for them. I want them to understand finances, how money works and how quickly it can depart! Children need to appreciate the value of a dollar, as this will better help them appreciate the cost of their education.

2. Encourage your child to be part of the monthly family budget. An important part of attending a higher education institute is dealing with the extras: utilities, rent and groceries. This is one of the areas I lacked knowledge of when I went off to university. Since a portion of my RESP’s went to financing my room and utilities, I needed to understand how they worked and how to budget for these costs, but I had no clue. So of course I overspent in these areas and my budget never balanced.

3. Start up an allowance system for your child. Having a bi-weekly allowance for your child is important, regardless of their age. This allows your child to allocate their money for wants, needs and savings. Our boys put their savings into their RESPs at the end of the month. It’s important to let them view their statements, so they can see their education fund increase month to month. If there’s an online option, allow your child to view it monthly, so they learn to appreciate growth over time.

4. Once your child reaches the working stage, encourage them to contribute money to their RESP. This will probably be the hardest thing to do, but it is so important for them to save rather than splurge all that hard-earned money on clothes, movies or food. This is where all previous education on budgets, utilities and being involved in the family budget will pay off. Your child will have a greater appreciation for their pay cheque and will spend it wisely.

5. Have your child create their own post-secondary education budget. Sit down with them and help them figure out tuition, supplementary fees, textbook fees, rent and utilities (if they are moving away for school). Use this as a tool to figure out how much money should be contributed monthly into their RESP. This is an area I wish I had concentrated on more before I made my educational choices. I was never involved in the family budget prior to living on my own, so I had unrealistic expectations of the costs, which forced me to rely on loans.

Teaching our children how to save for their post-secondary education is an essential lesson that will help them later on in life as they leave our homes to start their own home.

To help you on this journey, you can now enter to WIN a $50 gift card from Tim Hortons sponsored by Heritage Education Funds. Contest is open to Canadian residents only and ends on May 17th, 2015.

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How do you help encourage your child or teen to save towards their RESP and post-secondary education? Are they currently contributing to their own plan?

Make sure to follow Heritage Education Funds on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date with news and advice for planning for your child’s educational future.

Disclosure: I am a Heritage Mom and receive perks associated with this affiliation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Get Science Inspired with Netflix! #StreamTeam


March Break is here!! WOOHOO!! Time to spend some time with our kids doing what they love best – crafts, experiments and baking! March also signals the start of Science Fair season. The subject of science can broken down into three categories: natural sciences (biology, fundamental forces), formal sciences (math, logic) and social sciences (human behaviour and societies).

Netflix helps us get our creative juices flowing this month with plenty of educational and science based films that inspire, educate and entertain. The hardest part will be choosing what to watch first!

Get Inspired with Science Based Films on Netflix Canada!

Why not start with one of everyone’s favourite topics – volcanoes. Deadliest Volcanoes explores the wonder of these sleeping giants that millions of people live in the shadow of. This show follows scientists around the world exploring volcanoes, the likelihood of eruption, when it may and how deadly an eruption could be.

Some other great titles for your older child and yourself: Nova: Hunting the Elements, Cosmos and Let Your Mind Wonder.

Maybe you have a young crowd and the wonders of Miss Frizzle’s bus may suit them better. The Magic School Bus (my favourite show as a child!) returns!

Be Science Inspired with Netflix Canada

Some other great children titles: Sid the Science Kid, Fetch! with Ruff and Animal Mechanicals.

Follow up these great shows with your own science experiment at home by making a volcano erupt! You can find the whole experiment instructions on Meet the Dubiens or you can follow my mini version using three ingredients.

Become Science Inspired with Netflix!You will need:

  • plastic water bottle
  • six drops of dish washing detergent
  • two tbsp of baking soda
  • one cup on vinegar


Place you plastic water bottle in a baking pan to capture the eruption (and save yourself a major cleanup!). Fill your water bottle about 3/4 with warm water and add the dish washing detergent and baking soda.

Slowly add the vinegar to set off your eruption!

What activities have you been up to this March Break?

Disclosure: I am member of the Netflix StreamTeam and receive perks with this affiliation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Creating a Budget: The Do’s and Dont’s

Budget Spreadsheet


I feel like cringing whenever I hear that word! I am not going to lie budgeting is hard. We live in a society where we want and need things in that moment. Having to tell ourselves to slow down, set aside money, pay off debt and live in the moment can be hard.

While I am by no means a financial expert, I have learned many valuable tools over the last few years. In the last seven years, I have paid off my University debt ($15,000), planned and held our wedding (using no credit) and put a down payment on our home. This was met with sacrifice and hard work but it has been well worth it.

My first step was to write it all down. I love my spreadsheets! So pop open Excel or if you don’t like that Google Drive offers a great spreadsheet. Make a table showing the bill item (rent/mortgage, hydro, water, gas, etc..) and the monthly amount due. Make sure you include all debt you owe, an amount for food (for a family of four we set aside 500/month), an amount for transportation (whether it be gas or bus fare), bank fees, child care and an amount for savings.

Here is an example:

Budget Spreadsheet Outgoing FundsFor my savings category, it is important that you have something in mind for this as it may affect how much you put into this category each month. Are you saving for a trip? A down payment? Wedding? Rainy day? Pay off debt? Take that total amount and divided it by the amount of time you need to pay it off in. Ex) You need to pay a down payment of $15,000 in three years: 15,000/36=417.

Add up your outgoing payments at the bottom.

Next you want to look at all incoming income you have. Look at your income, your partners (if applicable) and any monthly tax credits (baby bonus, childcare bonus, etc..) I like to add this below my outgoing amounts.

Here is an example:

Budget Spreadsheet

It is important to leave yourself some breathing room with your outgoing and incoming funds. Emergencies happen and you want to make sure you feel comfortable having enough funds in your bank account. This is what I like to refer to as our “play” cash.

What to do if the money isn’t adding up?

This happens to a lot of us! Here are some tips I suggest:

  • Decide what you can do without. Do you need that home phone? Expensive cell phone plan? Probably not. Make the necessary cuts where you have to. Eat in more, bring coffee to work, don’t go out for work lunches. Sacrifice isn’t always easy but it is well worth it.
  • Price match and use coupons. This has cut our grocery bill substantially and only requires minimal prep work.
  • Earn more money. While this may seem hard at first but even earning an extra $100 a month makes a difference.
  • Consolidate. If you have large amounts of debt and high interest rates see if you can consolidate your debt into a lower interest rate. Paying off your debt will help you greatly each month. Make sure you cut those high interest rate cards after!
  • Be honest. Keep open communication between yourself and your partner. Speak to each other about your spending habits. Talk about major purchases.

How have you designed your budget? Do you have tips for keeping to your budget and increasing savings?

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Ensuring Financial Security and Well Being for Your Family with

One of the most important documents you will ever develop for your family is putting together a will to ensure that your family and friends know your wishes and that the minor details are taken care of.

Have you thought about who your estate will go to? What if your children are minors – who will take care of them in the event that both your spouse and yourself pass away? While these are not the most pleasant questions to have to ask yourself they are necessary to ensure the security of your family in the event you pass away.

FormalWill.caWhat is a will?

A will is a legal document that will grant your executor the power to divide your property, name who will control your estate and if you have any minor children who will be their legal guardian to care for them when you are not there to do so.

Why does this matter?

This matters for so many reasons. Without any legal document containing your wishes, your estate could go undistributed or be distributed to individuals you did not wish your estate to go to. Your family may not be able to access the necessary funds that they need. Your children may not go to the guardian you had spoken to and wished for them to go to in the event that something happened to you.

So what is holding you back from getting a will? For us it has always been finding the time and the cost of creating a will, not to mention the whole concept is scary. I am terrified of leaving my children alone but it is because of them that I know how important it is to ensure my will is complete and up to date.

Here comes the easy part! has made preparing a will simple and convenient. You can now complete your will online from at home in a few, quick steps.

First step: Speak with your spouse about your wishes and who you want to step in as guardian and executor if your spouse does not survive you. You want to make sure this person is aware of you appointing them as guardian and executor. Now this may be an awkward conversation (trust me on this one!) but you will feel so much better after you have done so!

Second Step: Visit and create an account. This will take you literally seconds and you will receive a confirmation email with your account details. On the second screen you will enter basic information (name, where you live, spousal information, children).

Third Step: Name your beneficiaries and executors of your will. You can name up to three executors. If you have specific gifts in mind (wedding bands, special jewellery) you get to name those gifts and who you would like them to go to. If your children are minors at the time you can list up to three guardians to be appointed to care for them as well as the age they must be in order to receive money held in trust for them. Any donations? Name them here.

After making a payment of $69 CDN, your will is complete! Whew! What a relief, right? The will is sent via email to the email account you entered on the initial set up. This email will contain instructions on how to have the will signed and witnessed as well as suggestions on how to safely store your will. has simplified the process of creating and putting together a will for individuals and families. With three easy steps, those you love will have their future secure in case you aren’t there to be able to do so.

Have you started putting together a will? Have you looked at possible executors and/or guardians for your children? If not – what is holding you back?

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Fun Family Activities at Blue Mountain Village #WinterWarrior


After wrapping up three days at Blue Mountain (staying at the gorgeous Westin Blue Mountain) we were amazed at how much the village has to offer. Blue Mountain Village has something to offer for every member of the family, from the youngest to the eldest.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

We started off our stay at Westin Blue Mountain by dropping off our bags early and hitting the Hike and Tube. It was a short walk (less than five minutes) to the location and easy to locate as it was right on the main road.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

I haven’t had that much fun in a long time! The staff were fantastic and hilarious as they spun us down the hill. I honestly don’t know how they don’t go home sore from twirling people all day but it looked like they were having a fantastic time! Our youngest was terrifying me as he was laughing and telling them to spin him more. The ‘hike’ up the hill was short and easy to do for most individuals. Our youngest kept getting free rides up the hill by staying in his tube and getting us to drag him up (oh the joys of being young and lightweight!).

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

On our second day we were ready to hit the slopes (or in our case the novice course!). Blue Mountain has an incredible novice area with excellent and patient instructors. I would highly recommend if this is your first time trying out the sport to meet with an instructor and have them go over the basics with you – honestly this is so important both for your own enjoyment and for personal safety.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

My eldest son took to snowboarding like it was nothing! He was doing his second turn across the open area while I was still navigating how to push the snowboard with one leg and pull my leg across without falling. I could not believe how much work it was – these guys make it look super easy.

It was truly amazing to see the amount of young children on the course. They took to the skiing and snowboarding like it was second nature to them. They were fearless in getting up the mini hills and gliding back down the hill. My son had tried snowboarding before in the past but I was so grateful for all the time and energy our instructor spent on teaching my son the basics. It truly made a big difference.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

The Kids at Blue Mountain located out of South Base Lodge is the perfect opportunity for your youngest members (ages 3-5) to learn in a quieter environment with the focus solely on children. A short walk (roughly ten minutes) or you can take the shuttle from the Westin hotel lands you at South Base Lodge and the Kids at Blue Mountain area. The children were adorable as they stepped out on the skiis and up the ‘carpet’. The instructors were fabulous as they came down the hill behind the children holding on to the jacket and guiding them through each stage.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

The Plunge Aquatic Centre is located just adjacent to the Westin Blue Mountain. It took us under five minutes to walk there from the hotel. The Plunge Aquatic Centre contains both an indoor and outdoor pool (with access through the pools), indoor water playground, hot tub, rope swings, slides and basketball nets. Swimming outdoors in the cold temperatures (-26C) was an experience to remember. Your face could barely feel the cold but your eyelashes would have frost on them! The steam from the pool would become thick at times and you could sometimes only see a couple of feet in front of you which was pretty awesome! There were plenty of lifejackets and the pool space was quite spacious. Each pool is kept quite warm so you never felt cold.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

The Ridge Runner Coaster is an exciting single person (or you can go with your children) that runs through the mountain. The coaster takes you on a 1,085 metres down the mountain. It was fun, scary and exhilarating all at the same time! At times you felt like you were going to fly over the side of the mountain. While I screamed the whole way down the mountain both of my children laughed the whole way!

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

We also spent an afternoon at Crock A Doodle painting our own ceramic creations. There was a wide variety of ceramic options to choose from and which you can settle in right away. Your creations are left over night and can be picked up the next day after four or for a small fee can be mailed to your home. We just received our creations in the mail today!

Blue Mountain Crock A Doodle

Here is a collection of some of my favourite photos around Blue Mountain village:

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

What are your favourite winter activities? What activity would you love to do at Blue Mountain?

Come back again tomorrow for more Blue Mountain fun!

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