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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104 thoughts on “Five Easy Tips to Encourage Your Child to Contribute to Their RESP
  1. Fan R

    Our kid is quite little to learn much about RESP, the only thing I tell him these days, if he wants to continue learning some art we need to reduce the number of gifts and toys.

  2. Judy Cowan

    My niece and nephew do and for holidays they receive some money along with a small gift and the money gets put into their RESP.

  3. Gillian Morgan

    Sophie has a RESP. We encourage her to contribute to it by taking a portion of her chore money and putting it towards her RESP. Everything she puts in we match. She would rather use the money for shopkins but she will be happier in the future that she put her money elsewhere.

  4. LauraD

    I don’t have kids yet. When I do, I feel like it’s important to teach them about money, finance and budgeting. I will definitely start saving early for their education

  5. Amy Heffernan

    We do here. 🙂 Since he was small. We always put half of any money he gets for bdays ect!

  6. Jeannie

    We do have RESP set up for our kids. My kids are still young so they don’t know they are contributing their birthday money, christmas money into their RESP./

  7. charityk

    they both recently got resps set up from their grandparents. it’s a great gift that keeps on giving.

  8. Belinda McNabb

    my son has had a plan since he was a baby. he has put a portion of bday and christmas money into it

  9. Jonnie

    My kids have RESPs but I’ve never thought to get them to contribute. We have automatic deductions that go into those accounts.

  10. Glogirl

    I don’t have kids but would encourage them to add a portion of their Birthday and Christmas money to an RESP.

  11. andrea amy

    Unfortunately my children don’t have RESPs. We are pay cheque to pay cheque and don’t have the extra money to put away.

  12. Amy C

    I encourage them by suggesting that they split their money into thirds. One to spend now, one to spend later and one to be saved for the future.

  13. Darlene Schuller

    We don’t have a RESP, however she has a safe she saves all her money in. In just over 2 years she’s saved $102.00 so far.

  14. kristen visser

    my oldest daughter is 2.5 so my two little ones are still to young to know what an RESP is. My husband and I would love to start one for our daughters we are just waiting for the right time to do so as money is really tight

  15. Melissa F

    My kids each have an RESP, and the eldest has a saving account that he contributes a portion of the money he receives.

  16. Nate Fuller

    Thankfully my kids grandparents are all contributing to a fund right now for the kids education, they are all little right now so by the time they get to university age they should have some decent money

  17. lynn clayton

    my son takes part of his allowance for saving we dont have an rrsp but we do have a disability one for kids with special needs.

  18. Jenness M

    My kids are still too young to contribute to their RESP’s. We contribute and the grandparents also.

  19. Rebby

    I don’t have kids yet but I would encourage them to do chores for money to be put into their RESP

  20. Krista M

    My children don’t have RESP’s yet. But I am getting my son a SIN # this year to register him for the Canada Learning Bond for children born after Dec 2003, which will be a start for us.

  21. maria

    We don’t have an resp yet but we do have money set aside that they get for bday or Christmas from relatives

  22. Alayne Langford

    With our eldest daughter, we saved for her a basic RESP and then when she became of age, she got a scholarship into school that helped and she basically paid the rest of her 4-year program at University because she worked not only during summers and when off school, but all year long. I think she went over and above but she earned her BA and now has two great jobs that she “loves”. She more than ever put her share into her education plan and we are proud parents. Now Daughter #5, another story… 🙂

  23. Elizabeth R

    I honly have nieces and nephews, an resp is a good thing to contribute with the matching funds.

  24. naiddia p

    I encourage my son to save half his money into his RESP and the other half he can spend.

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  26. Lori Jackson

    We started off with a piggy bank, then we opened a savings acct and if they are a child the govt matches half of what you deposit up to $2500…our banker told us about this! It goes toward their education but if your child doesnt go to Univ or College they take it back.

  27. Nicole Jubleew

    By teaching a rule of thumb that any money received be split three ways, 10% into a long term savings account like an RESP, 40% saved into a short term savings towards a particular goal, and 50% can be spent now.


    start the grandchildren with a bank that counts their money, they see how fast it can add up

  29. Tracy Morin

    I bring my daughter to my job and share with her that this is what happens when you don’t go to college/university. She is only 13 but she saves the money that a neighbour gives her from cashing in his recycling (aka: beer empties)

  30. Jody D

    My girl did and the grandkids certainly will. Great place to stuff birthday money!

  31. lisa bolduc

    I had to pay for all of my schooling and I really want to help my son out. So when he was born we set him up one. He is only 15 months so he is still to young

  32. seham merzib

    they think of their future career already and want to save, and not yet

  33. Erinn Lishman

    We have three little girls, 4 yo twins and a 3 year old, and we are trying to save for them through an RESP. We talk about money and saving quite often and when they are old enough, perhaps when they receive money as a birthday gift, I will encourage them to put a little away for their RESP.

  34. Amber Y

    I’d never even considered getting them to help contribute to their RESP. That it an excellent idea!!

  35. Victoria Ess

    My niece is still too young for thinking about this but my sister has started one for her.

  36. Lee-Ann

    I encourage by example. It’s important that they see you doing the same thing. ie. rrsps for me.. resps for her.

  37. Andrew P

    I have no kids, but I encourage my young cousins to save up their chore money, birthday money into their piggy banks

  38. Mary

    My parents opened an RESP for the kids when they were born and we add to it instead of buying presents all the time…they have so many toys!

  39. Sunshine G

    We started an RESP for my daughter when she was born, and we’re about to start one for our second as soon as she’s born as well.

  40. Lisa Neutel

    my kids put a potion of theyre birthday and christmas money towards thyre RESP

  41. Brenda Penton

    My kids have a RESP but they have never contributed to it. I’ve never thought to have them contribute.

  42. Amie

    I try to teach them its important to save and why , they are learning , Its important they can handle money well

  43. Monique L.S.

    My daughter is just 2, but we started a RESP for her when she was born. We contribute monthly to it, and put in any money that is given to her. Once she gets older, we will teach her to save some of her money, and use some as spending money.

  44. Maria

    We teach kids that it’s important to save money, but they do not contribute as they are still young

  45. Taylor Hawkins

    I would really really love to have RESPs for my kids, and I feel awful we don’t, but with my husband working on and off due to a back injury and myself in university, it’s something we unfortunately can’t do. Otherwise, I do feel post-secondary education is extremely important and I plan to do everything in my power to ensure they can go. 🙂

  46. Bree

    My boys are to young to explain many details but I put a small amount every pay into each, and will teach them to do the same when they are old enough

  47. Lori L.

    To be honest I’ve never thought about involving my children when it comes to putting money towards their RESP’s. I think it’s a great idea though and I will think about doing so in future!

  48. Dianne

    My grandchildren are given money for special occasions by grandparents and great grandparents. They are free to use it on what they want but encouraged to put it into their education fund which they have been doing.

  49. Doris Calvert

    I opened one up for my niece and nephew, for their brithdays I put in an undisclosed sum and tell them to try and beat me, works out well

  50. Rhonda W G.

    I’m not sure if all my nieces and nephews plus godson have them. I plan on asking now for interest sake. I give them all Birthday money…lol.

  51. jessica s

    my child is only 2 so he doesn’t contribute yet, but that is definitely something to think about for the future!

  52. stacey dempsey

    Mine dont have RESPs yet but they have been taught how to save so hopefully soon we can get that done