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The Grandparent Budget: How Much Should You Spend?

By Helen Reaume

Published April 13, 2017 • 3 Min Read

So, how do you hold onto your title as the ‘Greatest Grandparent in the World’ and still keep your spending in check and your retirement plans on track? Here are some suggestions.

Set a Budget

Your grandson might be obsessed with the latest talking train show, but should you buy him a whole tabletop play set? Having a budget can help you not get carried away when you see something in the store you think they’ll love. It can also help you spend equally on all your grandchildren. Decide how much you want to spend on an annual basis and divvy that up across all the occasions when you typically give gifts or spend money on your grandkids. You might want to spend more money on birthdays or around the holidays – just make sure that you spend less on other occasions.

Maximize Your Impact

Rather than buying something you think they’ll like — find out what they desperately want. Ask your grandkids before going shopping to make sure you get them a gift that they’ll use and love. Just make sure to coordinate with their parents to ensure no one else is buying them the same thing. You don’t want to upstage Santa!

Give Small Gifts More Frequently

If you love the warm feeling you get when you give your grandkids gifts, you can still give them gifts frequently – just make them smaller or less expensive gifts than you might usually give. A dollar store toy or colouring book can be just as fun as a fancy gadget.

Focus on Experiences

Sure, your grandkids will be excited if you buy them a cool toy, but if you spend the same amount on an experience you can share – they’ll remember it forever. Take them to the zoo or to see that cool dinosaur exhibit at the museum and you’ll make memories for life.

Consider Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) Contributions

Buying your grandkids toys might make you the cool grandparent now, but if you spend some of your gift budget investing in their future educational needs – you’ll be the cool grandparent for life! Many students struggle to pay for post-secondary education and have to resort to student loans. Not only does giving them money for their RESP encourage them to start thinking about their future now, they’ll be so grateful when they do go to school and can use the money you gave them to help pay tuition.

Being a grandparent can be one of the best parts of growing older. It’s no wonder so many people thrive in the role and sometimes get carried away giving gifts to their grandkids. Sticking to a budget can help you have fun, give great gifts and experiences, and enjoy more time with your grandkids.

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This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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