Saving trumps spending for Canadian parents this back-to-school season

TORONTO, Aug.19, 2014 /CNW/ - Parents are getting the message to stop spending and start saving for their kids. According to a survey conducted by C.S.T Consultants (CST), one of Canada's largest RESP providers, parents are focused on long-term savings and won't be spending the big bucks on fancy technology, gadgets or school supplies this back-to-school season.

Almost half (47%) of Canadian parents surveyed with children under 18 say they expect to spend less than $200 on back-to-school items, with one-third of moms (33%) planning to spend less than $100. Despite all the hype from retailers, more than three-quarters (79%) of parents say they don't feel any pressure to buy new things.

Spending on summer entertainment and activities was also low this year with most families staying on budget. In general, 64% of Canadians 18+ and 65% of parents surveyed expect to have spent less than $3,000 overall on summer fun, with only 24% of parents saying they spent more than they budgeted. 

Instead, parents are focusing on building their savings – education savings, to be precise. 85% believe it's more important to contribute to their child's education savings plan before buying the latest gadgets and accessories this back-to-school season, and only 28% say they aren't planning on putting money into an RESP. Similarly, only a small portion of parents say they'll spend more on after-school activities (24%), the latest technology and gadgets (12%) and back-to-school supplies (25%) than RESPs.

"Families are clearly sticking to their budgets and focusing on the future. The average cost of a year's tuition at a Canadian university in 2013/2014 was $5,772.[1] It's only going to get higher, so every little bit you can put aside now will make a big difference," says Peter Lewis, Vice President at CST. "If you don't have an RESP set up for your child already, the back-to-school season is a great time to start. You'd be surprised by how much even the smallest contributions can grow over time. Making a firm budget to map out your spending will also help you keep costs down at this time of year and prioritize your savings."

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1Statistics Canada – Budget for student life: How much will your post-secondary education really cost? April 17, 2014


Other survey findings: 

  • 81% of parents say they didn't have to borrow money to pay for summer fun this year
  • Only 24% of parents say they know someone who isn't contributing to an education savings plan this back-to-school season
  • 87% of parents say it's important to help pay for their child's post-secondary education

The Leger survey of 1,502 Canadians 18+ (with a sample size of 436 parents with children under the age of 18) was conducted between August 11-14, 2014 using Leger's online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

About CST

The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that has been helping families save for post-secondary education for over fifty years. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Foundation, C.S.T. Consultants Inc. (CST) is the distributor and fund manager of the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plans.

Focused exclusively on growing and protecting its planholders' savings, CST currently manages $4 billion in assets for over 280,000 Canadian families. CST boasts a sales force of 590 located across the country. The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation offers its own awards for academic achievement and community engagement to those students in their Group Plans who are pursuing graduate studies.

For more information about RESPs at CST, visit www.cst.org, follow us on Twitter at @CSTConsultants and like us on Facebook .

SOURCE CST Consultants

For further information: Media contacts: Edyta McKay, (416) 445-7377 ext. 303, Edyta.mckay@cst.org; Erin MacFarlane, (416) 445-7377 ext. 247, Erin.macfarlane@cst.org