Enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit: Use It To Teach Kids

Is anyone else weary of opening their wallet….constantly? We are not doing our children any favours but always supplying their wants. What can be done to teach fiscal responsibility to our kids?

Here’s an idea using a payment qualifying families across Canada have recently received.

uccb teach kids

The Extended Universal Childcare Benefit lump sum payment was retroactive from January 1, 2015.

Read our article Enhanced Universal Childcare Benefit for an overview of the program. We also offer suggestions on what to do with July’s lump sum payment including:

  • Open an RESP (or make a significant contribution if you already have one)
  • Put it towards a large item for kids (ie. sports registration, braces)
  • Plan a summer adventure the whole family can enjoy

But let’s take this one step further.

Beyond cheering for July’s lump sum payment, let’s look at something significant that can be done with the regular monthly payments.

How can this unexpected money be used to teach our children to handle money?

My parents had a great idea when I turned 12 years old. At that time families received $30 for each child, and they decided to give me that money. The money was to be used to cover:

  • All clothing including shoes and coats
  • Eating out
  • Recreational activities

I thought I was rich. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. And along the way, here’s what I learned about handling money:

1. How to Save

If I knew I needed a larger item, I would have to save a few month’s worth of money. I recall gong on a spending freeze for 2 months to get a new winter coat.

2. How to Shop Carefully

This may have been the launch of my frugal living. Knowing the money was my own, and was limited, made me a thrifty shopper. I still remember searching high and low for the best price on socks.

3. How to Develop a Work Ethic

Having a limited budget motivated me to earn more. I took on babysitting jobs whenever I could, and worked hard to meet larger goals.

I believe that many lessons about handling money were learned while I managed my $30/month. Those life lessons helped me put myself through university and learn to pay cash for large items such as braces for the kids and a new-to-us minivan.

Having this increase to the UCCB might be the perfect time to train our children to handle their own money. Realistically, when children are handed everything freely, what chance will they have to learn how to manage money?

 

Would you consider giving $60/month to older children to cover their own expenses?

By: Karen Gauvreau

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