How to raise kids on a budget

(NC) Between school supplies, extra-curricular activities and weekend entertainment, family life can get expensive fast. Fortunately, there are many resources out there offering free or affordable fun, as well as financial support. Here are a few that can help you raise happy and healthy kids on a budget:

Take advantage of community amenities. Many communities offer a wealth of activities and events to keep the whole family busy. Whether it’s subsidized daycare, sports activities at your local community centre, fairs and festivals, or the skating rink or soccer field at your nearest park, you’re bound to find something exciting and rewarding to do on evenings and weekends. Check out local newspapers and social media groups to find out about upcoming events and activities.

Access child tax benefits and credits. Even if you don’t have an income to report, when you do your taxes you can access many benefits and credits that can help you pay for important things like skating lessons or tutoring throughout the year. You can apply for federal credits, like the Canada child benefit, and you may also qualify for additional provincial or territorial benefits and credits depending on where you live.

Tap into your local library’s resources. These days, libraries are about much more than books. In addition to borrowing things like learning tools, ebooks and DVDs, you and the kids can visit your local library to experiment with a 3D printer, take a cooking or sewing class, or hear your favourite author speak and sign books. Most events are free or pay-what-you-can, and many libraries have dedicated activities for kids of all ages.

Is your community lacking in some of these services and facilities? One of the best ways to ensure your neighbourhood receives funding for these and other benefits is by participating in the upcoming census in May 2021, which can be completed online as well as on paper. The information collected helps determine where parks, libraries and other amenities are needed, as well as which tax credits Canadians will benefit from the most.

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