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									 A New Parent’s
 Guide to Money

5 Simple Steps to
Financial Health
Table of Contents
Getting Started....................................................................….......3
Step 1: Understanding Your Benefits…………….…………......…4
          a. Maternity Leave and Benefits……………………….......…….5
          b. Federal Benefits for Your Family…......................…..…10
          c. Provincial Benefits for Your Family........................…..15
Step 2: Arranging Child Care..................................…......22
          d. Deciding to Stay Home or Return to Paid Work.........23
          e. Child Care Options….…………………...............…......……28
Step 3: Managing Your Money......................................…......32
          f. Planning Your Spending..............................................33
          g. Dealing With Debt.......................................................37
Step 4: Investing in Your Child’s Future............................45
          h. Canada Learning Bond.................................................46
          i.   Registered Education Savings Plan.............................49
          j.   Canada Education Savings Grant.................................52
Step 5: Protecting Your Child’s Future...............................56
          k. Buying Life Insurance..................................................57
          l.   Preparing a Will...........................................................60
Having a baby affects our lives and our budgets. There is a
link between financial security and overall health. This
booklet, A New Parent’s Guide to Money, is intended to give
new parents the tools they need to make better decisions
about their money and to take control of their finances for
the benefit of their whole family. It is a pilot program
developed by students and faculty of the Gerald Schwartz
School of Business and Information Systems and the
Department of Adult Education at St. Francis Xavier
University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

This program is supported by a grant from the Social
Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
(SSHRC), the Canada Research Chair in the School of
Business and Information Systems at St. Francis Xavier
University, and the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health
Authority (GASHA).

We want to offer our thanks to the individuals who provided
suggestions for this booklet, including Madonna MacDonald,
Jan Hanifen, Amanda Ashe, Lisa MacDonald, Jennifer
Leuschner and Laura Crouse of GASHA; and Juliana Julian,
Dawn MacIntosh and Tom Christmas of the Paqtnkek Health
Centre. We also want to especially thank the new parents
who agreed to read various drafts of the booklet and who
provided very helpful suggestions.

The diligent and enthusiastic students who worked on this
project included Kristie Forbes, Elizabeth Woodworth, and
Justin MacLennan. Faculty team members included Dr. Ken
MacAulay, Dr. Tom Mahaffey, Dr. Leona English, Prof. Leo
Gallant, Dr. Tim Hynes, and Dr. Todd Boyle.
From pinching cheeks to pinching pennies, we’ll help you
every step of the way!

                          After reading this book, you should
                          be able to tackle your finances with
                          confidence. We will walk you
                          through programs that are
                          designed for Nova Scotian families
                          just like yours. This book will also
                          list helpful contacts and provide
                          the application forms that you will
                          need for your new baby.

After reading a few short chapters, you will know how to:

 Receive money from federal and provincial programs for
  your family
 Choose whether or not to return to paid work and how to
  arrange child care
 Organize your finances by learning basic budgeting tools
 Receive up to $2000 from the government to start saving
  for your baby’s education
 Provide security for your baby by buying life insurance
  and making a will

You’re probably eagerly awaiting your baby’s first
step. Consider reading this book your family’s first
step toward financial health.

Getting started…
Having a newborn is always a source of joy,
happiness… and paperwork.

There are a few documents you will need in order to receive
money from the government for your child – the most
important are a Social Insurance Number and a Birth
Certificate. First Nations families must also register their
child with Band Membership. Make it a goal to have these
documents by the time your baby is three months old.

Applying for a Social Insurance Number

You will receive an Automatic Benefits Application during
your time at the hospital. This form will register your child
for birth, for a social insurance number, and also the Canada
Child Benefits.

Applying for a Birth Certificate

Fill out the application found in your form folder. The
application includes details on how to apply in person, by
mail, or online. The basic birth certificate costs $29.70. 1

Registering with Band Membership

If you’re a member of a First Nations family, you should
contact your local band membership clerk to register your

    Questions? Call
     Service Canada
Step 1: Understanding
    Your Benefits

 Ok, we’ll be honest with you. Reading
  about tax benefits is like going into
 labour: it’s not exactly fun, but in the
     end you’ll be glad you did it.

     The government has programs to
provide money for new parents. The key
 is finding out which ones apply to you,
  and then filling out the applications.

           What will I learn in this section?
           1. Maternity Leave and Benefits
           2. Federal Benefits for Your Family
           3. Provincial Benefits for Your Family

This section is about getting free money.
The only catch: filling out the paperwork.
      Maternity Leave
       and Benefits
We all know maternity leave is not a vacation, but it is still
important to plan out all the details beforehand.

What’s in it for me and my baby?

   You are allowed to take 17 weeks of maternity leave, or up
    to 52 weeks including parental leave. Keep in mind that
    you get paid for 50 weeks, with a two week waiting

   You can receive maternity or parental benefits if you have
    worked 600 hours in the past year.

   These benefits pay 55% of your previous weekly income
    up to $477 a week.2

     Questions? Call
      Service Canada
Maternity Leave and Benefits
What rights do I have?

   Employers do not have the right to refuse work or fire you
    from your job based on your pregnancy.
   You need to choose approximate start and finish dates for
    your leave; this generally makes planning easier for
   In Nova Scotia, you must have worked for an employer
    for at least a year before qualifying for maternity leave.3
   Some employers may allow you to take maternity leave
    even if you haven’t worked for them for a year. But if you
    haven’t worked at least 600 hours you won’t be able to
    receive benefits from the government.

When should I tell my employer I’m pregnant?

                          You should discuss the details of
                          your maternity leave with your
                          employer at least 15 weeks
                          before you’re due. Some
                          employers offer their own
                          maternity benefits, separate
                          from the benefits you may
receive from the government. Make sure you ask your
employer about the maternity programs they may offer!

Make sure you ask your employer for a “Record of
Employment” near the beginning of your leave, as
you will need it to apply for maternity benefits.
Maternity Leave and Benefits
What are Maternity Benefits?

Maternity benefits are part of the federal Employment
Insurance (EI) program, and are paid weekly to mothers who
have just had a child, for a maximum of 15 weeks. The
payments can be collected within the 17 weeks surrounding
the date of birth. You can start receiving payments as early as
8 weeks before your expected due date.4

Can my partner receive benefits too?

                                     On top of maternity
                                     benefits, parental benefits
                                     are now available for both
                                     new mothers and their
                                     partners. Parental
                                     benefits are available for
                                     up to 35 weeks, and can
                                     be shared by either
parent. So if your partner wants to take time off work, he or
she can receive benefits too. Their benefits will be based on
their income, so the benefits they receive may be more or
less than yours. If a couple is adopting, they can also apply
for the parental benefits, they just have to include the
adoption papers in the application. These benefits can be
collected within 52 weeks following the birth of the child. 5

So if your partner doesn’t take any time off work,
you can receive benefits for an entire year!

Maternity Leave and Benefits
When should I apply?

As soon as you stop working, you
should apply for your maternity and
parental benefits. By “not working”,
we mean that your regular weekly
earnings have decreased by more than
40%. If you take too long to apply, you
can end up losing out on potential
benefits, so do it as soon as you can!

In order to receive either maternity or parental
benefits, you are required to have worked at least
600 hours in the last 52 weeks. 6

What if I’m self employed?

If you’re self employed, then you wouldn’t have been paying
into the Employment Insurance program. Unfortunately,
this means you can’t receive maternity benefits. If this is the
case, you should start saving well in advance of your planned
maternity leave so you can be prepared when your income
stops for a period of time.

How do I apply?

You can apply by filling out an Employment Insurance
Application either online, at http://www100.hrdc-
drhc.gc.ca/ae-ei/dem-app/english/home2.html or in person
at your local Service Canada Centre.7

Maternity Leave and Benefits
Is there extra money available for low-income

Low-income families with
children are given extra benefits
called the Family Supplement.
You do not need to apply
separately for these benefits;
they will simply be added to
your maternity or parental
Employment Insurance
benefits. 8

If you or your partner received the Canada Child Tax Benefit,
then you are eligible to receive the Family Supplement, so
long as your family income does not exceed $25,921 a year.
The amount you will receive is based on your family income,
as well as the number of children you have.9

                           Make sure you’re ready for the big
                           day! Here’s a list of things to pack
                           for the hospital:

                           1.   Clothes to wear in labour
                           2.   Toiletries
                           3.   Massage tools (lotions, etc.)
                           4.   Camera and batteries
                           5.   Car seat for baby
                           6.   Going home out fit for baby
                           7.   This book !

Federal Benefits for
   Your Family
While the joy of having a new baby seems to be enough to get
you through anything – extra money from the government
definitely doesn’t hurt.

What’s in it for me and my baby?

Here’s an estimate of how much you would receive each

                            Family Annual Income
     Program            $20,000      $40,000      $60,000
                       Estimate amount available per month

Canada Child Tax
Benefit (including                    $131.24
                        $284.66                    $81.54
National Child
Benefit Supplement)

Universal Child Care
                        $100.00       $100.00     $100.00

     Questions? Call
     Revenue Canada
Canada Child Tax Benefit
Don’t count yourself out! Make sure you qualify, and
then apply. After all, this is free money we’re talking

Can our family receive the Canada Child Tax

You can receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit if:

 You live with a child who is under the age of 18. If
  you and your partner live separately, and the child is
  going to live in two different homes, you both need to
  apply for the benefit. Attach a note, signed by both
  parents, to explain the living arrangements. Each parent
  will receive 6 months of payments in a year.
 You are the person primarily responsible for the
  care and upbringing of the child. In the case where both
  parents live together, the mother is said to be primarily
  responsible and should be the one to apply. If the father
  is applying, the mother needs to attach a signed note to
  the form stating that the father is primarily responsible
  for the child.
 You are a resident of Canada
 You or your spouse or common-law partner are:
  a Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident, Protected
  Person, or a Temporary Resident 10

In order to receive any benefit, you need to make
sure you file your income tax return each year.

Canada Child Tax Benefit
You have met all the requirements, but
you feel your family’s net income is too
high to qualify: apply anyway. The
government recalculates your benefit
every July, based on your family’s net
income in the previous year.
The amount of money received each month depends on your
family net income from the previous year and the number of
children in your family. 1 1

The government also uses your application to check if your
family qualifies for any other programs, such as the
Universal Child Care Benefit and the National Child Benefit
Supplement. 1 2

When should I apply?

You should apply as soon as possible:
   After the birth of your child
   When a child starts living with you
   When you become a Canadian citizen

How do I apply?

When registering your child for birth in the hospital, you will
have an option to also apply for your Canada Child Benefits
and a Social Insurance Number on the same form. If you do
not choose this option, you can find the application form in
your form folder. You will need to provide proof of birth (a
Birth Certificate) and your child’s Social Insurance Number.

Universal Child Care Benefit
What is the Universal Child Care Benefit?

The Universal Child Care Benefit is a payment of $100 per
month, per child. Cash from the government is hard to beat!
The only catch is that the money is taxable, but it is still more
than you would have had in the first place!

All Canadian families with children under the age of six can
benefit from this program; it doesn’t matter what your
income level is or what type of child care you choose. 1 3

How do I apply?

If you already receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit, you
don’t even have to apply! Otherwise, you can apply online at

In order to qualify for the Universal Child Care Benefit, you

 Be the primary caregiver of a child under the age of six on
  or after July 1, 2006

 Be a resident of Canada 1 4

You should start receiving payments within 80 days of your

         Check out this site:

Service Canada Locations
Where can I talk with someone about federal

One of the easiest ways to apply for federal benefits is to visit
your local Service Canada office. They can answer your
questions, and help you fill out the forms.

Here are the addresses of Service Canada offices in the

Federal Building, Floor 2
325 Main Street
Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Chedabucto Centre
9996 Highway 16
Guysborough, NS

15926 Central Avenue
Inverness, NS

New Glasgow
340 East River Road
New Glasgow, NS

    Provincial Benefits
     for Your Family
The Nova Scotian government offers a variety of programs to
help families meet their basic needs. From the cost of drugs
to child care expenses, these programs will help cover the
cost of raising a healthy child.

What’s in it for me and my baby?

   With Nova Scotia’s Pharmacare program, you can receive
    up to 80% coverage when your drug expenses are high. If
    you or your baby gets sick, this program can help make
    sure you can afford the medication you will need. 1 5

   Depending on your situation, the Nova Scotia Child Care
    Subsidy can help cover the costs of child care for your

        Check out this site:
You should never have to worry about whether you
can afford to buy your family the medication they
What is the Nova Scotia Pharmacare Program?

The Nova Scotia Pharmacare Program
helps cover some of the costs of certain
drugs, services and medical supplies.
While those without private insurance will
receive more money from the program,
those with other coverage can still apply.
The exact amount of coverage you receive
depends on your family income and size. 1 6

Can I receive Pharmacare benefits?

You can receive Pharmacare benefits if you:

 Are a permanent Nova Scotia Resident
 Have a valid Nova Scotia Health Card 1 7

How can I apply?

The program covers an entire family, so you only need to fill
out one application for your family. The form is provided in
the form package.

    Questions? Call
 NS Department of Health
Child Care Subsidy
What is the Child Care Subsidy?

The Child Care Subsidy is
designed to help with child
care costs. If you qualify,
the Government of Nova
Scotia will help you pay for
the cost of child care so that
you can work outside the
home, look for a job, or go
to school. 1 8

Who can get the Child Care Subsidy?

You may be able to get the Child Care Subsidy if:

 Your child is under 12 years of age
 You are applying to a facility that provides full-day child
 You are a resident of Nova Scotia, and your income is
  equal to or less than the amounts shown below. 1 9

 Max imum Incom e Levels Eligible for the Child Care Subsidy

             $62,731    $62,731       $76,461   $93,200   $108,200

Number of
                 1         2            3          4         5

Child Care Subsidy
If the conditions on the
previous page apply to you,
a caseworker will then look
at your family’s situation to
figure out your level of

When you contact the Child
Care Subsidy Caseworker
you will be told whether or
not you qualify for the

You will also find out how much the government will pay
towards your daily child care costs.

                                     Even if you meet the
                                     requirements, you will
                                     have to pay part of the
                                     child care fee. The
                                     amount you will have to
                                     pay depends on your
                                     family income, how many
                                     families applied for the
                                     subsidy and the child
                                     care centre fees.2 0

Every situation is different, so if you think that this
program can help you, apply!

Child Care Subsidy
How do I apply?

There are a few ways to apply for the Child Care Subsidy.

1. Get in touch with a Child Care Subsidy Caseworker who
   will walk you through the application process. 2 1

2. Fill out the application provided in your form folder.

Once you’ve sent the application in, you can set up an
interview to talk about whether or not you qualify for the
subsidy.2 2

You will have to provide proof of your income, as well as
your Social Insurance Number.2 3

Is there anything else I should do?

It is up to you to find a child care centre in your area that has
space for your child. Remember, you will be expected to pay
your share of the child care fees. You also will need to file
your tax return each year to keep receiving the benefit. 2 4

                                Did you know?
                          Taking a multivitamin with folic
                           acid every day BEFORE and
                           AFTER you conceive is very
                           important in preventing birth

Community Services Locations
Where can I talk more with someone about provincial

If you have questions about provincial programs, you can
visit your local Nova Scotia Community Services Centre.
Along with helping with the application processes, they can
give you more information on the services offered for low-
income families.

Here are the addresses of Community Services offices in the

                           Antigonish District Office
                           325 Main Street
                           Antigonish, Nova Scotia
                           (902) 863-3213
                           Guysborough District Office
                           P. O. Box 90, Chedabucto Mall
                           Guysborough, Nova Scotia
                           (902) 533-4007

                           New Glasgow District Office
                           678 East River Road
                           New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
                           (902) 755-7363

My To-Do List

    □ Talk to your employer about
      your maternity leave, set da tes,
      and find out about maternity

    □ Apply for maternity an d
      parental benefits

    □ Apply for Canada Child Tax

    □ Apply for Pharmacare

    □ Apply for Child Care Subsidy

  Step 2: Arranging
      Child Care

     Whether or not you decide to stay
    home permanently with your child,
    you will still need to consider your
  child care options. Even the best stay-
     at-home parent needs a night off
   every once in a while. Child care can
  be expensive, and there are often long
    wait lists, so it’s important to start
   thinking about it now. Luckily, there
  are lots of child care options, and you
     can save money by claiming child
     care expenses on your income tax

         What will I learn in this section?
         1. Deciding to Stay Home or Return to
            Paid Work
         2. Child Care Options

The most important part of planning for child care is
identifying your options, and then choosing what is
            best for you and your baby.
     Deciding to Stay
    Home or Return to
       Paid Work
Deciding whether to go back to paid work or to stay home is
different for everyone, and you need to decide what will work
best for you and your baby.

What’s in it for me and my baby?

   Making the decision whether or not to return to paid
    work can be very difficult, so this chapter will help you
    make an informed choice.

   No one can tell you what is right for you and your child.
    However, whatever you decide, you need to decide sooner
    rather than later. Many child care centres have waitlists,
    so it is important to start planning now.

           Check out this site:

Deciding to Stay Home or Return to Paid Work

Should I go back to paid work or stay at home?

Some moms go back to paid work early and some take all the
maternity time that is allowed. Other moms may choose to
stay at home with their child. All options have pros and cons,
so make a list and talk with your partner about what is best
for your family.

The chart below has a few important points to consider:

 Staying at home                  Going back to work

 If you don’t go back to paid     Lots of moms have jobs they
 work, you’ll lose income.        love, and are happy to get
                                  back to work.

 By staying home with your        Going back to paid work
 baby, you’ll save on the cost    before you’re ready means
 of child care as well as any     you might miss your baby
 work-related expenses.           during the day, or feel guilty
                                  for leaving him or her.

 Staying home might give you      If you’ve been out of the
 the opportunity to try new       workforce for a while, it can
 things. Maybe you have a         be hard to get back in the
 great home-business idea;        swing of things.
 now could be the time to try

Just remember: what is right for someone else won’t
always be right for you!

Deciding to Stay Home or Return to Paid Work

What are my options?

The maximum time allowed for maternity leave is 52
weeks, so you will want to start thinking about your options
early on.2 5

Going back to paid work

For lots of moms, going back to work
after having a baby is the only option.
Every mother needs some time off
work after having a baby. The
problem with maternity leave is that
your income is reduced as long as you
stay home. For lots of families, this
means that in order to cover expenses mom will have to go
back to work as soon as she’s ready – staying home isn’t an

Staying home with your new baby

You may decide that staying home with your new baby is
what you want to do. This is a great option if it is available to
you, because it means you will save on the cost of child care,
and your baby gets to stay in a place that is comfortable and

Talk to your employer

If you find that it’s hard to be away from your baby all day,
talk to your employer. You might be able to work more
flexible hours or switch to part-time.

Deciding to Stay Home or Return to Paid Work

Still not sure about what to do?

You might also want to go back to paid work at first, but after
being there for a while you may decide that you really want
to stay home with your baby. This happens to many new
moms, so just make sure to talk about it with your employer
if this is what you decide to do. The important thing is to find
an arrangement that works for you.

                                   Baby Steps

                         Sometimes it is more cost effective
                        for one parent to stay home with the
                         baby. Try making a list and adding
                              up all of your work-related
                        expense s. These are things that you
                            wouldn’t have to pay for if you
                         chose to stay home. For example,
                         child care, transportation (ga s, bus
                           fare, etc.), work clothes and dry

Deciding to Stay Home or Return to Paid Work

How do I know if I’m ready to go back to paid work?

You are the only person who can decide whether or not you
are emotionally or physically ready to go back to paid work.
If you do decide to go, here are some tips for making being
away from your baby easier:

 Practice your routine. A week or two before you start
  paid work again, try getting up early and practice getting
  the baby ready. This will give you time to iron out any
  wrinkles in your plan for a morning routine.

 Get used to leaving your baby for short periods of
  time. A week or two before you start paid work again,
  try leaving your baby with the person who will be caring
  for him or her for an hour or two each day. This will help
  you and your baby get used to time apart from each other.

 Visit your baby during the day. If you have time
  during your lunch break or at some other point during
  the day, visit your baby. This will help to ease any worries
  you might have.2 6

                         The weeks after giving birth can
                        be difficult for you and your baby.
                         When your baby goes in for any
                        type of check up or even to get a
                         needle, one of the best ways to
                        ease their pain is also the easiest:
                              skin-to-skin contact!

    Child Care Options
Child care is something you want to start thinking about
early. Day care centers often have long waiting lists, and
other caregivers can be hard to find.

What’s in it for me and my child?

    This section will help explain and compare child care

    In order to claim the cost of child care on your tax return,
     you’ll need to get a receipt from your child care provider.
     You will also need receipts to receive money from
     government programs. Make sure to ask if your child care
     provider offer receipts!

      Questions? Call
    Child Care Connections
Child Care Options
Where can I find child care?

If you’ve decided to head back to your job after your baby is
born, check with your employer to see if they offer on-site
day care services. If they do, this might be an option worth
thinking about.

You can also look online, as the government of Nova Scotia
has a directory of licensed child care facilities specific to
where you live.

         Check out this site:

What type of child care options are there?

                              The general options for child care
                              are: live-in nannies, casual
                              babysitters, day care, and care by
                              family members. There is also a
                              difference between licensed and
                              unlicensed providers; licensed day
                              cares are regulated by the
government, and have met certain standards. These
standards include training, adult-to child ratios, and the
quality of the facilities. Also, licensed providers will provide
receipts which you need to receive the UCCB and the Child
Care Subsidy.

Child Care Options
                           The most important part of
                           choosing child care is finding out
                           what works best for both you and
                           your family. If you’re sending your
                           child to day care, make sure you
                           meet with whoever runs the day
care first. If you’ve decided to use a babysitter or family
member, make sure it is someone you trust.

How much does child care cost?

Here’s a summary chart that shows estimated weekly costs:

    Type of Child Care                  Average Cost

       Live-in nanny                Approx. $235/week2 7

          Day care                    Approx. $150/week

                                    This can depend on your
                                     arrangement with your
 Care by family member
                                 family member. Usually, this
                                 is very low cost, or even free.

If you’re working outside the daycare hours, you may want to
look into combining a few types of child care.

Make sure you have read the first chapter, and you
have applied for your Universal Child Care Benefit
and the Child Care Subsidy.

My To-Do List

    □ D ecid e wh eth er or not to
      r eturn to p aid work
    □ If returning to p aid
      work, choose a child car e
      m ethod th at is righ t for
      your family and cont act
      th e provider as soon as
      possibl e

 Step 3: Managing
    Your Money

    Life without a budget is like
  grocery shopping without a list.
     You can do it, but you will
  probably end up with things you
  don’t need, and spending more
         than you expected.

 Now is the perfect time to organize
 your finances. Not only will it help
 you prepare for your baby’s arrival,
   it will help you spend and save
  your money wisely in the future.

         What will I learn in this section?
         1. Planning Your Spending
         2. Managing Your Debt

Creating a budget is like exercising after giving birth: at
 first it’s frustrating, and you might want to quit. But
soon you’ll wake up feeling great, and you’ll be so happy
                    you pushed through it.
          Planning Your
When you’re not keeping track of your spending, your costs
can skyrocket. You have to plan ahead to make sure you’re
not overspending , especially with a new baby.

What’s in it for me and my baby?

    The estimated cost of raising a child to age 18 is
     $155,000. Read this chapter, learn some budgeting
     techniques, and you will be ready to handle the costs of
     having a new baby.2 8

    The more comfortable you feel about your family’s
     finances, the more relaxed you can be in other parts of
     your life.

          Check out this site:
Planning Your Spending
How to create your family budget

Creating a budget can be as simple or as
complicated as you like. All you need to
know is how much money is coming in,
and how much is going out. Finding out
how much money is left over will tell you
if your spending habits need to change.

Step 1: Add up your income

Your income includes not only your salary, but also the
money you will receive from your maternity/parental
benefits, child benefits, or any other programs. (Check out
Step 1: Understanding Your Benefits for more information.)

(A) Income in a month = _________________
Step 2: Add up your current expenses

Try saving your receipts for a week or month to figure out
how much you’re spending. Make sure you’ve included rent,
food, travel, insurance and other expenses you may have.

Add up the new expenses you think you will spend on your child.
Some expenses you will only have to buy once a year, so you
can take that amount and divide it by 12 to get your monthly

(B) Current monthly expenses + monthly baby
expenses = _________________________________

Planning Your Spending
Step 3: Finding out what is left over

(A) – (B) = Money you have left over each month

If the amount left over is small, or even negative, you know
something has to change.

Play around with your expenses and determine what is a
reasonable amount to spend in each category is. Choose
spending plans for groceries, entertainment, travel, etc.
Make sure when you add everything up, that the amount you
have left over is enough for your family.

                           Breastfeeding is one of the
                        greatest ways to save on baby
                             Doctors recommend you
                        breastfeed for at least 6 months.
                        It’s better for your baby’s health,
                                  and it’s FREE!

Planning Your Spending
How can I stick to my budget?

An easy way to stick to a budget is to
develop a money-in-a-jar system.
Try keeping jars or envelopes that
contain a specific amount of cash
that you are allowing yourself to
spend in a month in each category.
That way, when the cash runs out,
you know that you shouldn’t be
spending any more on that item.
This is a great system for expenses
like groceries, or entertainment. If
you don’t end up spending all your
cash, put the extra money in a separate jar for savings,
paying off debt, your child’s education, or even a vacation

Remember, your budget can be as simple or as complicated
as you want it to be. But having any type of system in place
can help you cut back your spending, and will make you
think “do I really need this?” next time you’re out shopping.

       Check out this site:
Planning Your Spending
Take a look at this chart to see the average cost of baby supplies,
and try to plan how you can trim down your spending.

Item 2 9                                           Cost
Crib and Mattress                                  $250 – $500 +
Car Seat                                             $120 - $250
Stroller                                            $100 – $500
Baby Carrier                                         $40 – $140
High Chair                                          $60 – $150 +
Diaper Bag                                            $40 – $60
Baby Gate                                             $30 – $80
Change Table (some choose to use a
change pad on a bed, instead of buying a              $70 – $250
separate change table)
Monitor                                               $40 – $80
Bedding (incl. sheets, blanket, quilt,
change pad, receiving blankets)                      $125 – $200

Sleepers (10 6mo.; 10 18mo. @ $15)                      $300 +

Essential Clothes (hat, sweaters,
                                                        $150 +
Disposable Diapers @ 20-35
cents/diaper (70 per week = 3650 diapers            $700 – $1,000
for first year)
                                                      $1,000 –
Reusable Diapers (cost is similar for first
                                                     $1,500 for 2
year, but dramatically less after that)
Batteries (many toys need batteries, and it
adds up quickly. Try buying reusable                    $100 +
    Dealing with Debt
Having a baby can cost upwards of $10,000 by the end of the
first year, so it is not hard to imagine why some families take
on extra debt to try to cover their expenses. It may be
tempting to take out a loan or use your credit card, but if you
don’t have the resources to pay down your debt early you
could be heading down a slippery slope.

What’s in it for me and my baby?

   With the arrival of a new baby, the last thing you want to
    stress about is your rising debt.

   Sometimes borrowing is unavoidable, so it’s important to
    learn the best ways of borrowing, and what kind of
    situations to avoid.

   Be a money-savvy parent and be able to recognize when
    interest rates are too high, and develop repayment plans.

     Questions? Call
    Financial Consumer
     Agency of Canada
Dealing with Debt
What are some important questions I should ask
myself before borrowing?

Are there any other ways I can get what I need?

Maybe you’re thinking about buying a new crib and change
table for your baby’s nursery. These items are expensive, so a
money saving option might be to buy these items used, or
borrow them from a friend.

Do I understand the agreement I’m making?

It is important to make sure that you fully understand the
type of financial agreement you’re making. Make sure you
know how much interest you will be charged, and be aware
of what could happen if your payments are late.

Have I read the fine print?

Make sure you’re familiar with the ins and outs of the
contract you’re signing. You know the old saying, “If it
sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Keep this in mind
when you’re considering something like a credit card or
payday loan. Interest rates for these services can be very

Do I have a plan for paying back what I borrow?

Make sure you set a time that you want to have the debt
repaid by, and stick to it. As long as you budget for payments
each month, you won’t be surprised with a big bill.

Dealing with Debt
What are the different ways I can borrow money?

Type of
                         How does it work?

           When you take out a personal loan, a lender
           gives you money that you agree to repay later,
           often in the form of monthly payments. Be
           careful though, because these loans can have
           high interest rates.

           When you use a credit card, you will receive a
           monthly statement showing exactly what you
           purchased, and how much you owe. You have
Credit     the option of paying the amount in full, or
Card       paying a minimum amount and carrying the
           remaining balance to the next month. Interest
           rates can be extremely high.

           To take out a payday loan, you visit a store or
           website where you fill out a loan application.
           You’re then expected to pay back the amount
Payday     you borrowed when you get paid, plus interest.
Loan       Companies often tack on hidden charges in
           addition to extremely high interest rates. This is
           the most expensive option, so you should use
           this service only as a last resort. 3 0

Dealing with Debt
What are the warning signs of trouble with debt?

Many people find themselves buried in debt, but can’t seem
to understand how they got there. Have a look at the table
below, and check off anything that applies to you.

      Warning Signs                Healthy Habits

 You find yourself paying    You have a budget, and you
 for necessities like food   have a good idea of where
 or diapers on credit more   your money goes each month
 and more often

 You’re barely making the    You have only one or two
 minimum payments on         credit cards, and you use
 your credit cards           them only for emergencies

 You’ve been using one       If you do put things on credit,
 credit card to make         you pay off the amount in full
 payments on another         each month

 You often pay bills late    You always pay bills on time

 You feel anxious when       You’re never surprised when
 the phone rings or the      you receive a bill
 mail arrives3 1

Dealing with Debt
If a lot of warning signs apply to you, it’s time to take
a look at your finances. You could be headed for big
trouble with debt.

If you’re displaying a lot of the healthy habits, keep
going! You’re managing your debt the right way, so
keep up the good work!

If you realize you might be headed for trouble with debt, take
a deep breath and don’t worry! There are steps you can take
to fix your finances and put your mind at ease.

                                  Baby Steps

                         One great way to avoid debt
                          is to limit yourself to one
                           credit card. Pay off your
                          most expensive bills first,
                          followed by the rest. You
                         should eventually be able to
                         survive with one credit card.

Dealing with Debt
I think I’m in trouble with debt: What should I do?

Many people find
themselves in trouble
with money, and it’s
nothing to be ashamed of.
By admitting that you are
in trouble, you’ve taken
the first step toward
healthier finances and a
healthier life. You do have
options to deal with your debt, and there are people out there
who are willing to help. So face your finances head on! The
sooner you do it the sooner you’ll be on your way out of debt
and back in control of your life.

If you feel you’re in real trouble, you should contact someone
from Nova Scotia’s Debtor Assistance Program. This is a
government service that can help you organize a family
budget and get advice about how to handle your debt.

   Questions? Call
  NS Debtor Assistance

My To-Do List

      □ Calculate your income
        minus your expenses

      □ Make a monthly
        spending/saving plan

      □ Limit yourself to one
        credit card, and pay off
        the rest

      □ Seek help if you’re in
        trouble with debt

Step 4: Investing in
Your Child’s Future

     It might seem a little early to start
   thinking about saving for your child’s
education when you’re still thinking about
 saving for diapers! But if you start saving
   small amounts now, it will add up big

For example, if you save $20 a month for
 18 years, it will add up to $4300. BUT, if
you have a modest income, qualify for the
  Canada Learning Bond and the Canada
  Education Savings Grant, and put your
 $20 in an RESP each month for 18 years
  you could end up with up to $20,600!

           What will I learn in this section?

           1. Canada Learning Bond
           2. Registered Education Savings Plan
           3. Canada Education Savings Grant

Start investing in your child’s future
today. The earlier you start, the better!
     Canada Learning
It’s never too early to start thinking about your child’s future.
If you open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), the
government will give you up to $2000 towards your child's
education! 3 2

What’s in it for me and my baby?

   If your child qualifies, you receive $500 from the
    government which is placed in an RESP and $100 each
    year until age 15. Best of all, you don’t need to put any of
    your own money in to receive the Canada Learning Bond.
   Maybe you never saw your baby going to college or trade
    school, but it’s too early to rule anything out. If you apply
    now, you will be opening a door for your child.
   Not all banks or credit unions offer the Canada Learning
    Bond, so make sure you check before opening up an

    Questions? Call
     Service Canada
Canada Learning Bond
There’s no excuse not to open an RESP and start
saving! Who could turn down $2000 for their child?

Can my child receive the Canada Learning Bond

Your child can receive the CLB if:

 Your child was born after December 31, 2003
 You get the National Child Benefit Supplement as part of
  the Canada Tax Benefit (also known as the “baby bonus”).
  This generally applies to families with a net income of
  $38,832 or less.
 Your child has a Birth Certificate
 Your child has a Social Insurance Number
 Your child lives in Canada 3 3

Canada Learning Bond
How can I apply for the CLB?

1. Apply for a Birth Certificate for your child.

2. Make sure your child has a Social Insurance

3. Open a Registered Education Savings Plan
   account (RESP) with an RESP provider. Most
   major banks and credit unions offer the CLB, but you
   should double check with your bank to make sure. Some
   organizations charge a fee to register for an RESP, so the
   Government also contributes an extra $25 to help cover
   any fees. (See the next section for more information on
   RESPs). 3 4

That’s it! You can continue to put your own
money into the RESP to help increase your
savings. So any amount you add to the RESP
grows each year. 3 5

Family and friends can contribute too;
there’s no better birthday present than a
chance to save for an education!

It’s not often you get money for filling out a form…
so make sure you apply today!

    Education Savings
While plans for college or university may seem to be in the
distant future, it is important you start thinking about it
now. The earlier you start to save, the more you can help
your child follow his or her dreams in the future.

What’s in it for me and my baby?

   You can open up an RESP at any local bank, credit union,
    or other financial institution, so you don’t have to go far!

   Like they always say, every penny counts. Try giving up
    your morning coffee run or keeping a change jar on your
    counter to help you save for your RESP.

   This money can go towards trade schools, colleges,
    universities and many other programs your child might
    choose after high school. 3 6

         Check out this site:

Registered Education Savings Plan
What is a Registered Education Savings Plan?

A Registered Education Savings
Plan, or RESP, is a special
savings account that can help
you, your family or your friends
save for your child’s education
after high school. 3 7

When you open an RESP
account for your child, the Government of Canada will help
you save, through special incentives. These incentives are
called the Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada
Learning Bond, and you only receive them if you first
open an RESP. 38

How do I open an RESP for my child?

In order to open an RESP for your child, there are two
important steps to follow:

1. First, you will need a Social Insurance Number
   (SIN) of your own, as well as a SIN for the child you are
   saving for.

2. Second, choose an RESP provider that best meets
   your needs. Most financial institutions such as banks and
   credit unions offer RESP services. 3 9

Registered Education Savings Plan
What should I ask my RESP provider before opening
an RESP?

   What will happen to my savings in the RESP if my child
    does not continue his or her education after high school?

   Does it cost anything to open an RESP?

    Once I have opened an RESP, will I have to pay any fees?
    If so, what are they and how much will I have to pay?

   Do I have to put a minimum amount of money into an

   Do I have to make regular payments?

   What happens if I cannot make regular payments?

   Can I withdraw money if I need it? Are there any fees or
    penalties for withdrawing money early?

   Can I transfer the RESP to another person, or to another
    RESP provider? What is the cost to transfer?

    Does the RESP provider limit the types of qualified
    educational programs that I can use my RESP for?

   What happens if I close my RESP early?

   What if my child decides to go to school part-time?4 0

Remember that the earlier you start saving, the
more your money will grow!
   Canada Education
     Savings Grant
Everyone knows it can be difficult to start saving money. So
the government has offered to add money to your child’s
RESP on top of what you have saved already!

What’s in it for me and my baby?

The more money you save the more money the government
will give you! On your first $500 saved in a year, the Canada
Education Savings Grant will give you:

                     Family Income
  $38,832 or less      $38,833 -$77,664        $77,664 +
    $200/year              $150/year           $100/year

When you save more than $500 each year, the Canada
Education Savings Grant could add up to $400 on the next
$2,000 you save.4 1

Not all banks offer the Canada Education Savings Grant, so
make sure you check before opening an RESP!

   Questions? Call
    Service Canada
Canada Education Savings Grant
Can my child receive the Canada Education Savings
Grant (CESG)?

Any child up to the age of 17 can get the Canada Education
Savings Grant, as long as they live in Canada and an RESP
has been opened for them. Special rules may apply if your
child is between the ages of 15 and 17, so if these rules apply
to you it is important to understand them.

How much do I have to contribute?

There is no minimum amount that you must contribute to
your child’s RESP to receive this grant; however, you are
required to contribute something. This means that the more
of your own money you contribute, the more grant money
you will receive, up to a lifetime maximum of $7,200. 4 2

Canada Education Savings Grant
How can I apply for the CESG?

To get the Canada Education Savings Grant, all it takes is two
easy steps:

1. First, make sure to get a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
   for your child.

2. Next, open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
   account through a financial institution like a bank or
   credit union. 4 3

That’s it! The Canada Education Savings Grant will now go
directly into your child’s RESP, so all you have to do is start

                          What is the most effective,
                          easiest, and cheapest way
                           for your baby to learn?

                                   Talk to them!

My To-Do List

     □ Register for an RESP
     □ Apply for the Canada
       L earni ng Bond i f you
       are eligi ble

     □ M ake a s aving plan,
       no m att er how larg e or
       sm all, that works for
       y ou

   Step 5: Protecting
  Your Child’s Future

    It’s scary to think of what might
   happen to your family if you pass
    away. With a new baby, you will
      have even more responsibility
        than before. By buying life
     insurance, choosing guardians,
        and writing a will, you can
   continue taking care of your loved
       ones even after your life has

             What will I learn in this section?
                 1. Buying Life Insurance
                 2. Preparing a Will

  While many people don’t like to think about
passing away, it’s very important to plan ahead.
   Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
              Buying Life
Life insurance helps ensure that if anything happens to you,
there will be money available for those you leave behind.
That is why the most important time in your life to be
insured is when you are starting a family.

What’s in it for me and my baby?

   Your need for life insurance changes throughout your
    lifetime, but when you have young children, your need is
    the greatest.

   With life insurance comes peace of mind. If anything
    happens to you, you want to make sure your new baby is
    taken care of.

   You should also talk to your employer to find out if your
    company offers any life insurance packages.

       Check out this site:
Buying Life Insurance
What types of life insurance are out there?

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance does not expire, and it provides
constant coverage for your entire life. This is a good option if
you have a lot of assets, and you don’t think your need for
insurance will decrease as you age.4 4

Term Insurance

Term insurance provides coverage for a certain period of
time, and unlike whole life insurance it does expire.4 5

Term insurance works for the vast majority of cases. The
start-up costs are less expensive than whole life insurance, so
it may be the right choice if you are looking for coverage for a
specific time. For example, you may just want to be covered
while your children are living with you. 4 6

In general, term insurance is a great deal for new parents
looking for coverage only while their children are
dependent.4 7

                                 Be active parents!
                          Not only will you feel better about your
                        body, but being active can also set a great
                          example for your child! Try making it a
                         habit to go for a family walk aft er dinner
                                with your stroller every day.

Buying Life Insurance
Prices for life insurance vary between companies, so
it’s very important to shop around.

What about life insurance for my child?

Because your child doesn’t
have any income, he or she
has very little need to be
insured. Try to avoid plans
that have high costs; a great
child insurance plan can
cost as low as $1.00 a
month on top of your
insurance payment. This insurance only covers funeral
expenses should anything happen to your child. 4 8

How much insurance do I need?

With a new family, your need for life insurance is greater
than any other point in your life. While the exact amount can
be different for everyone, a ball- park figure can be found by
multiplying your income by 10, and adding any outstanding

For example, if you make $30,000 a year and you have a
$100,000 mortgage, you should have around $400,000
worth of coverage.

Remember: some insurance is better than none!
Don’t worry if you can’t afford the full package.

          Writing a Will
Thinking about writing a will is never a pleasant idea, but it’s
a necessary one. This is one more step to make sure your
child will be safe if anything happens to you.

What’s in it for me and my baby?

   Preparing a will is a chance to decide who will take care of
    your children in the event of your passing.

   A will can help ease the stress for family members after
    your passing.

   While you aren’t required by law to make a will, having
    one lets you choose how your property will be distributed.
    If you don’t create a will, your child could end up with
    very few of your possessions.

     Questions? Call
     Legal Information
        Society of NS
Writing a Will
Do I need a lawyer to write my will?

No lawyer is required, although a lawyer can give advice
when you are designing your will. You can create the will
yourself, use a will kit, or hire a lawyer to help you. A lawyer
can also help make sure that the document is legal, and the
will is clear about who will take care of your children.

Where do I start?

Start by gathering important documents that should be listed
in your will:

 Birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates

 Mortgage papers

 Banking information: banking numbers, investment
  portfolio numbers

 Insurance policy numbers4 9

Writing a Will
What should I say in my will?

Make sure you consider the
following questions when you are
writing your will. It is very
important to address each issue in
clear language, as you want
everyone to understand your

 Who will be the guardian for your child? Make sure you
  discuss this with the potential guardian and make sure
  that they have agreed.

 Who will be your executor? (This is someone you trust to
  carry out the instructions in your will).

 Do you want to leave any specific items or sums of money
  for any of your relatives or close friends?

 Who do you want to receive the rest of your estate?
  Partner? Children? Charities? If it is being left to
  children, should it be immediate or at a certain age?

 If someone you have given property or money to in your
  will passes away, who would you like their items to go
  to?5 0

My To-Do List

      □ Buy life insurance, or
        make sure you’re
        already receiving the
        right amount of coverage

      □ Choose who will look after
        your children if
        something happens to
        you. Make sure you have
        discussed this with them.
      □ Create a basic will

As you prepare for parenthood, you are learning how you will
take care of your new baby and provide a healthy home
environment. What some people don’t know is that during this
time it is also important to consider their financial health, too.
When people don’t manage their money well, they may have
more stress, lower levels of activity and a lower quality of diet.
They may also not be able to take advantage of government
programs designed to help them save for their baby’s future.

But with some planning, we hope that the information provided
in this booklet will help you manage your family’s money, and
improve your family’s overall health.

For more information on the topics covered in the guide, please
visit our website:

   If you have noticed any errors in the guide, please


 Access Nova Scotia, “Birth Certificate,” Government of
Nova Scotia,
  Service Canada, “Employment Insurance (EI) and
maternity, parental and sickness benefits,” Government of
  Service Canada, “Employment Insurance (EI) and the
family supplement,” Government of Canada,
  Canada Revenue Agency, “CCTB, Application and
Eligibility,” Government of Canada, http://www.cra-

  Service Canada, “Universal Child Care Benefit,”
Government of Canada,
  Department of Health, “Nova Scotia Family Pharmacare Q
& A,” Government of Nova Scotia,
  Community Services, “Child Care Subsidy,” Government of
Nova Scotia,

  Service Canada, “Employment Insurance (EI) and
maternity, parental and sickness benefits,” Government of
  Robin Elise Weiss, 150 Tips and Tricks for New Moms
(Massachusetts: F+W Media Inc., 2009), pp. 141-49.
  Canada’s Best Nannies, “Nanny Services Frequently Asked
  The Vanier Institute of the Family, “From the Kitchen
Table to the Boardroom Table,”
29 Adapted from Today’s Parent Magazine, “New Baby
  Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, “The Cost of
Payday Loans,” Government of Canada, http://www.fcac-
  Office of the Superintendant of Bankruptcy Canada,
“Dealing with Debt: A Consumer’s Guide,” Government of
Canada, http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/bsf-

  Human Resources and Social Development Canada, “Get
$500 For Your Child’s Education After High School,”
Government of Canada,
   Human Resources and Skills Development Canada,
“RESPs: Special Savings Plans for Education,” Government
of Canada,
   Human Resources and Social Development Canada, “Get
Money Now For Your Child’s Education After High School,”
Government of Canada,
  Glen Cooke, “Term Insurance vs. Whole Life Insurance,”
Term Life Insurance Canada,
  Glen Cooke, “Life Insurance Riders,” Term Life Insurance
Canada, http://www.thetermguy.com/category/life-
   Public Legal Education and Information Service of New
Brunswick, “Wills and Estate Planning,” http://www.legal-


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