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Hey, Millennial Parents: How's That Saving Thing Going?

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Once you have kids, it all changes. While we've all heard this, it's not until you have children that you realize that every single aspect of your life changes. It's not just the lack of sleep and the worries that come with the complete responsibility of another human life, 24/7, it changes the way we prioritize as well. Naturally we're going to put our kids first, but the way we spend money will also change.

A recent survey done for Presidents Choice Financial revealed that while only 44 per cent of millennial parents would have considered regular savings on groceries a high priority before kids, 76 per cent of this group agree grocery savings are highly appealing today. But groceries aren't the only thing they're looking to save money on. Ninety-two per cent of them agree that now they have a family to consider, they look for ways to save money on everyday items as well.

Kat Inokai and Heath Horejda, young parents of children aged two and six, were always careful with their budgeting before kids, but agree things change a bit. "Now, we still shop on a monthly budget but we do extensive meal planning and prep and that dictates our purchases. If we can find a coupon code, or catch wind of a sale we're all over it," says Inokai.

But besides everyday purchases, what about a weekend away? Seventy-seven per cent of those surveyed would have considered this appealing before they had kids, but a whopping 94 per cent agree collecting rewards or points on every day purchases is appealing to them today. The mindset and habitual changes aren't easy, and it can be hard to change spending behaviour into saving behaviour.

"Before kids, a weekend away was something that was saved for our anniversaries, friends' weddings, or group travel to a convention or concert with friends- we had tons of time to ourselves," says Inokai. "We collected rewards and points before kids -- what's changed is how we redeem them. I used to love collecting and putting credit card rewards towards travel. Now I'm more likely to put them towards groceries or necessities."

Fifty-two per cent of millennial parents surveyed agree they used to spend wildly in youth on things they couldn't afford, and 71 per cent agree that they'd be in a better financial situation today if they'd saved more money in their youth. While they wouldn't describe themselves as "wild spenders," Horejda and Inokai don't regret the money they did spend. "If we wouldn't have spent that money we'd arguably have more in the bank, but we wouldn't have the experiences or collectables. Quality of life goes a long way."

One of the biggest issues for millennials is getting into the highly priced urban real estate markets in Canada. Nearly half of respondents (48 per cent) agree home ownership would be a source of great financial burden, and nearly four in five millennial respondents (79 per cent) agree they had to compromise on their expectations when purchasing their home.

"We are always looking for ways to save money, even if it's just to increase our immediate cash or liquid assets for a mini vacation or a family night at the movies -- we're very goal driven, and a lot of our goals are experience based," Horejda says. Clearly, the experience of having kids certainly changes the goals for many in this market.

From July 15 to July 18, 2016 an online survey was conducted among 1,011 randomly selected Canadian parents of children aged 12 to 21 who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error -- which measures sampling variability - -is +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to gender and region. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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