2018 is around the corner and while we plan for the summer holidays, we should devote some time to ensuring that we manage our expenses in the new year.
Education has become a costly affair and requires much thought and consideration. Besides the normal school fees, parents need to fork out extra on uniforms, stationery, extracurricular activities, excursions; to mention a few. This sometimes puts strain on parents’ pockets; especially if these unforeseen expenses are not planned for.
Saving for long-term goals such as education should be a key objective for everyone. Here’s a ten-point plan to ensure that you have enough for your children’s needs:
Choosing a good school for your child is never easy and requires research. Some of the key factors that you need to consider are:
- Location: area;
- Accessibility: can you get to the school in time if there is a problem?; and
- Cost: Is it affordable for you and your family?.
2. Save now!
It’s never too late to start saving for education. Be it for crèche, nursery, primary or tertiary education, we need to ensure that we save enough so that our children receive the best education possible. Even a minimum amount of R300 per month can help; this action will help your children reap the benefits in the future.
3. Draw up a savings plan
If saving is difficult for you, then look at savings accounts or unit trusts that offer you great interest and return on investment.
4. Choice: private vs public schools
This is dependent on your budget and preference. Some parents prefer that their children attend boarding schools while others prefer the private schooling route. Whichever options you choose, ensure that the school is the right fit for your child and they are comfortable with the space, environment, teacher and other children.
5. Work on your budget
Ensure that your budget is up to date and that you are not overspending in places where you don’t need to. Rather predetermine what schooling expenses you think may come up and add this to your budget. There are many budget templates that you can access that will help guide you through the process.
This includes tuition, school, and medical fees to mention a few. We cannot avoid these costs and they can creep up on us at any point in the schooling journey.
7. General school expenses
Day-to-day school expenses will not end and will add to your budget quite drastically. Many schools advocate that children need to partake in extracurricular activities like netball, chess, modern dance – but most of these activities have related costs. However, ensure that you understand what your child enjoys doing before enrolling them in a class. This will leave you with a happy and healthy child without putting a strain on your budget.
8. Having a nanny
With the increase in cost of living, we find that most parents in many households need to work to sustain their current lifestyles. With this mind and given that you cannot be in two places at once, you may need help at home to look after your children during the day. This also comes at a cost, but at least you know that your child is well looked after.
9. Text books
Recycle and get your children’s text books via a second hand shop or a family friend that has just completed the course or grade. This will help reduce your costs immensely.
Uniforms have become expensive. Today, schools require that students wear a summer and winter uniform which becomes expensive. Instead of buying new uniform, go to the second hand school shop and purchase the uniform there. In addition, buy a bigger size so that they can use it the next year.
Education is a must, and while school expenses are high, we should ensure that we save appropriately so that our children get the best possible education ever.
Ester Ochse is product specialist at FNB.