(She shoots….. and Sierra saves it!)
Ahhhhhh this is such a good question – one that every parent is faced with, myself included. When my oldest daughter turned 6 she asked us if she could play hockey. Her babysitter’s son played hockey, and many of the other kids at school did as well. My husband also plays hockey in a Men’s league. I ‘m all for my daughters playing sports, and developing the confidence and physical literacy that comes with it, but up until that time Sierra had only been involved in sports that were cheaper than hockey: soccer, gymnastics and swimming lessons. Sports that we could afford, along with saving for her education.
I looked at my husband and asked him:
“Can we afford hockey AND save for her education? And if we pay for her to play hockey, what do we do when her younger two sisters ask to play hockey too? How can we afford for all of them to play sports while saving for their education?
There’s no question about it, extracurricular activities are expensive. Besides the registration cost there’s the cost of the equipment, the gas going to and from practices, games and lessons, and the food cost from eating on the run. It all adds up, and it puts us parents in an awkward position of finding the balance between paying for extracurricular activities and saving money for a post-secondary education. You have to check out this info graphic on the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan’s website about the cost of hockey. Yikes!
(Brooke’s Christmas gift from Grandma!)
A recent study commissioned by the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan (CST) suggests that I ‘m not alone in my financial concerns. 60 per cent of parents agree that it’s more important for them to start saving for post-secondary education before spending money on extracurricular activities like hockey. The survey also revealed that an overwhelming majority of parents, 89 per cent, believe it’s important for parents to help their child pay for their post-secondary education, especially with tuition fees on a steady increase. Here in Canada, average university tuition fees have increased by 3.3 per cent to $5,772 ³ a year for an undergraduate degree in 2013, and could be as much as $9,000 a year by 2026 (based on a 4 per cent year over year rate increase).
Wow! That’s a lot of dough! If all 3 of my daughters go on to pursue a post-secondary education it will cost my husband and I $108,000 just for their tuition! Books, housing and other living expenses will be a further cost.
In response to my questions, my husband looked at me and replied,
“Can we afford not to?.
I agreed with him- the self-confidence, and camaraderie from being on a team is immeasurable. So we now have two daughters playing hockey (and our third daughter is anxiously waiting to be old enough to play too).
(Brooke, Amber and Sierra)
Choosing to allow the girls to play hockey doesn’t mean we’re choosing sports over a post-secondary education or banking on a hockey scholarship to pay for their post-secondary schooling. Instead we’ve started RESPS for the girls with automatic deposits going directly into their RESP accounts from our own bank accounts.
As well, we’re taking advantage of the Government of Canada, who will match 20% of the first $2,500 we contribute to our daughters RESP’s each year, up to a lifetime maximum of $7,200 per child. That works out to an extra $500 paid directly into each of their RESP’s every year. That is free money, my friends! And there are even more grants available. With three daughters, we need the government’s free money!! As I mentioned earlier, the cost of post-secondary school tuition is going up every year.
(Twister’s Tournament Gold Medal winners)
The people at the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan (CST) understand that it’s a struggle to keep kids playing the sport they love while saving for their education. Right now, CST’s has a contest going on called The Beyond The Blue Line Education Competition, where parents can help their hockey team or organization win $10,000 to help make hockey less-expensive. Submissions can be in the form of a video or picture with an essay (no longer than 1,000 characters). Entries must be received by December 31, 2013.
Check out the website, to learn more about this awesome contest!
What is your child’s favourite sport?
How do you balance saving for education and paying for the sports fees?
PS – Please join @CSTConsultants, @beyondtheblueline and @THNKenCampbell on December 17th at 9pm EST where they will be discussing the cost of hockey vs. Education and RESPs. Follow hashtag #hockeyvseducation – we’ll also be giving away 5 – $50 VISA gift cards!
Disclosure: I am part of the C.S.T. Consultants Inc. Beyond the blue line blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.