Exciting as the first term of a new school year may be for both parents and children, school expenses often leave parents with a hole in their pockets – especially if they haven’t planned for the new school year.
“School fees continue to rise considerably and so have other additional costs associated with education. Parents must prioritise, plan and factor additional school expenses into their budget throughout the year as this will help lighten the expense burden and put less strain on you in January,” says Ester Ochse of FNB Wealth and Investments.
“Saving as little as R200 per month can help towards managing those additional educational expenses in the new year. Saving for education should be a priority and not left to the last minute. Ensure that you budget appropriately and save so that your child receives the best education possible.”
She highlights a few areas where you can save:
School uniforms are costly
Many schools have a summer and winter uniform, so parents should buy the summer uniform in January and purchase the winter uniform just before winter. The months leading up to winter will help you save towards the next season’s uniform. Alternatively look for a second-hand uniform at the school or even school uniform shops. Also ensure that you buy a size bigger so your child will be able to use it for longer.
Some schools include stationery packs at an additional cost for the next year. If budgeted for, this is a great option as you will not have to run around looking for stationery. But if it is not within your budget, look at in-store specials and see where you can save. Stationery has become more of a trend instead of a need which can be costly depending on the brand you buy. Budgeting per month on things like stationery will help as it does get lost or misplaced.
If you are unable to drop and pick your children up, look for reliable and affordable transport companies that offer the service or look at using the school bus service, if available.
Should there be no one to look after your children, sign your child up at the school’s after-care programme. There will be additional costs, but will be well worth it. This will also give them an opportunity to finish off their homework and any extra activities they may have.
Plan your children’s lunch meals in advance. Many schools suggest what you can include in your children’s lunch boxes like yogurt, sandwich and fruit. Stick to this suggestion as it will help you manage their lunch box costs on a weekly basis. This will also ensure that your child eats only healthy and nutritious food.