Back-to-School on a Budget

Back-to-School on a Budget

CNW – August 29, 2016 – The euphoria of back-to-school shopping has begun, and many Albertans will spend thousands of dollars and a countless amount of time in shopping malls across the province. With creative television commercials and many other diverse marketing tactics, big-box retailers have refined their arts in making sure every message captures the attention of consumers just like the holiday shopping season.

According to, Canadian parents will spend approximately $472 on their children for 2016 back-to-school season. With the state of Alberta’s economy and the uncertainty, Money Mentors advises Albertans to be prudent with their finances and stick to the budget when shopping for back-to-school. To avoid overspending and not put a dent in their finances, here are some ways students and parents can curtail their spending:

  1. Check Current Inventory — As simple as this seems, there may be a surprising number of supplies already in your home from last year’s purchases. Your child may have also brought home unused school supplies from the previous school year. Make sure you check your closets and drawers for these supplies first.
  2. Create a budget — Creating and sticking to a budget based on your current financial position and back-to-school needs will help you to remain in control of your overall finances. When creating your budget you need to consider your income, monthly financial responsibilities, savings, emergency funds and other incidental payments. Heading out shopping with a realistic budget will limit you from overspending when back-to-school shopping.
  3. Only buy needs — You do not need the coolest or fastest laptop if you can’t afford it. At Money Mentors, we believe that the key to controlling spending and being in charge of your hard-earned money is about deciding on what to spend and not to spend.
  4. Don’t pay full price — Shopping around gives the best bang for your buck and there are countless retailers offering great discounts. Compare the best deals in flyers, in-store discounts, and online. Keep in mind that you do not have to buy everything new. Used textbooks, resources from your local library, clothing from consignment stores and items from buy and sell websites such as are often as good as new.
  5. Use cash — Pay with cash when shopping in stores and stay away from credit cards if possible. Generally speaking, cash limits you from being talked into buying the next level up item or adding features you do not need. Cash can limit your ability to overshop, and allows you to buy what you have only budgeted for. Additionally, using cash constantly prompts you about your spending and also protects you from impulse buying while shopping.
  6. Buy in bulk with a friend — Per item cost is often much cheaper at warehouse stores such as Costco; however, you will often end up with more than you need and can quickly overspend. By teaming up with one or more friends to purchase necessary items together, you can take advantage of warehouse prices without breaking your budget.

At Money Mentors, we counsel parents and students that they do not need the coolest gadgets or newest designer clothes to be a successful in school. What they need is a realistic budget and discipline, which will lead to wise financial decisions. Parents also have an opportunity to teach their children wise spending habits by adhering to these guidelines.

About Money Mentors
Money Mentors is the only Alberta-based, not-for-profit credit counselling agency. Through a number of services, we help families and individuals recover from financial crisis and move forward. From credit counselling and money coaching to retirement planning and community financial literacy, we are contributing to a healthier financial future for the entire province.

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Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016

Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016

A new standard Ontario automobile insurance policy will come into effect on June 1, 2016.

The new standard includes reductions in coverage particularly as they relate to the Statutory Accident Benefits (SAB) from the current auto policy.

This information is intended to assist brokers in the development and implementation of a plan for communicating with their clients about the Ontario Automobile Reforms. Further, it is designed to provide guidance on receiving and documenting client instructions relating to auto coverage in light of these reforms. Your clients are entitled to your advice on their options under the new standard auto policy. The presence of a clear and consistent approach toward communication and documentation will enable a broker to demonstrate if asked; that meaningful steps were taken to service their clients in a conscientious and
diligent manner.

ILScorp will have a brand new course on the Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016 available soon.

Highlights Summary

  1. A new standard automobile insurance policy will come into effect on June 1, 2016.
  2. The new standard includes reductions in coverage particularly as they relate to the Statutory Accident Benefits (SAB) from the current auto policy.
  3.  Brokers are specifically encouraged to make all reasonable efforts to advise their clients of these changes.
  4. As policies renew after June 1st, brokers should be prepared to review with their customers how the changes will impact them.
  5. Brokers should ensure client files accurately reflect discussions and instructions received.


As part of the Provincial budget announced on April 23, 2015, the Ontario Government has issued some automobile insurance reforms that will become effective on June 1, 2016. Of particular interest to brokers are a new Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule – Effective June 1, 2016 (“new SABS”). There are a number of other changes to related Regulations which will also be summarized in this document. This best practices document will focus primarily on the impact of the SABS reforms.


The new standard Ontario automobile policy, to be effective June 1, 2016, includes several significant changes from the current standard policy including provisions that will result in lower coverage for clients.


A Summary Chart of the most significant new policy changes that take effect on June 1, 2016, including the current policy provisions as well as consumer choices under the new policy, are set out below:

Most Significant Changes

On June 1, 2016, if a consumer is buying a new policy or renewing an existing one, brokers should be aware of the most significant changes to auto insurance:

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.09.58 AM

Some important things to remember about these choices:

Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits for minor injuries are fixed at a maximum limit of $3,500.

If clients purchase both the additional Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefit for catastrophic injuries and for all injuries, the total eligible benefit amount for a catastrophic impairment would be $3,000,000.

Other Optional Benefits

There are many other options available to purchase additional or increased benefits and coverages. The following chart lists some but not all of those and indicates if those options will change on June 1, 2016. Clients can also choose not to increase any benefit or coverage. Brokers should let clients know if they had previously purchased any optional benefits. A further review of documents is required as they may have changed.

Ontario Automobile Other Optional Benefits

NOTE: This information is a sample summary and should not be relied upon to be exhaustive. For complete information follow this link:


ILScorp will have a brand new course on the Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016 available soon.

The Toronto Insurance Conference (TIC) Scholarships Program

Now in its fourth year, The Toronto Insurance Conference (TIC) is proud to offer the first ever university scholarships for applicants sponsored by TIC brokers, partners and staff, as well as other applicants who intend on a career in an insurance brokerage.

The Scholarship Program

Managed by the Insurance Institute of Ontario, the TIC Scholarship Program annually offers financial assistance in the form of up to three (3) $5,000 scholarships to eligible applicants pursuing full-time university undergraduate studies in Canada.

Selection is based on academic excellence throughout the applicant’s high school and first year post-secondary career, as well as financial need, contribution to school, community life and/or other meaningful pursuits, major accomplishments and a strong indication of academic promise.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

 1. Applicants must be either:
a. Sponsored by a TIC broker, with the candidate sponsor being a member of the Insurance Institute of Ontario.
b. Unsponsored, but able to show a clear intent towards a career in an insurance brokerage (see essay requirement)
 2. Applicants must be entering their second year or higher into a recognized, full-time university undergraduate degree program in Canada.
 3. Applicants must be registered for a full course load in such university degree program and maintain continuous full-time studies during the academic year.
 4. Scholarships are conditional upon recipients completing their current school year with grades consistent to prior years.

The split of the three scholarships awarded annually to recipients applying under each of the two criteria options are at the discretion of the Toronto Insurance Conference.

Applicants are eligible to receive a TIC scholarship a maximum of two times.

Scholarships are conditional upon recipients completing their current school year with grades consistent to prior years.

Official final transcripts (final year of high school and first year of post-secondary) and an Application for TIC Scholarship must be received between now and no later than Friday September 9, 2016 at 5:00 pm EST at 18 King Street East, 16th floor, Toronto, ON

Download Scholarship Application

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