Finance

Back-to-School Financial Tips for Parents

4 Mins read

As the summer holiday draws to an end, a big concern for parents is the cost of school fees and supplies for their children. With the high price of almost everything, managing your resources is essential. Here are some back-to-school money tips as you prepare for the new session:

Plan ahead.

Parents ought to have begun preparing for the upcoming school year much earlier. Early shopping enables you to benefit from sales and discounts. Given the high demand, school supplies are likely very expensive now. If there are supplies such as a new school bag or lunch box that your child won’t need right away, you might want to hold off until they are sold at a discount.

Review the list and Budget.

Can you afford to buy every item on the school list? How much money do you have to spend? Set a budget for school supplies, such as school fees, books, lunch, the school bus, uniforms, allowance, etc. Spend with your list, prioritize and stick to it.

Choose quality

Buying a cheap school bag or lunch box is tempting, but what may seem cheap now will fall apart quickly. It pays to spend more on long-lasting, high-quality items. Quality over quantity should be your rule at all times. 

Consider scholarships and financial aid.

The challenging economic climate has left thousands of parents struggling to pay for their children’s education. If your child is bright and talented, you might want to explore scholarships and bursaries.

There are so many scholarship opportunities that pass children by daily. Don’t let your kids miss out on them. A quick Google search will suffice with these opportunities.

In a situation where you have cut back your expenses and are still struggling to meet your children’s educational obligations, it may be time to withdraw from a particular school and seek an affordable option. The most expensive schools are not necessarily the best. Don’t jeopardize your livelihood to fund an education you cannot afford or to keep up with the Joneses.

Review the school list critically. 

Can any items from the last term be used this term? You will be surprised to find that some things are still in usable condition. This way, you can avoid wasting money or duplicating them.

Don’t look down on “hand-me-downs”. Naturally, every child would love new uniforms, textbooks, shoes and bags when school begins. Still, where older siblings attended the same school, it makes sense to use hand-downs if in good condition, even if you can afford to buy new ones. 

Additionally, reviewing school items with your child is an opportunity to teach some valuable money lessons. Teach them the difference between needs and wants. This provides vital lessons in costs, prioritizing and budgeting. It is also brilliant to have them accompany you on shopping trips.

Spend time with your children.

Our lives have suddenly become a bee-hive of activities, with parents finding it difficult even to have me-times talk more about spending quality time with their children. However, this shouldn’t be the case.

As a parent, quality time with the kids is a priority. It would help if you made time physically or over the phone to see how they perform in school. Also, keep them accountable by giving them a list of their school items and your expectations at the end of the semester or term. Let them know you expect the items to be intact when they return. Tick off items together as they unpack. Also, consider rewarding their efforts to detail and care. It will reinforce a habit of accountability.

Balance with extracurricular activities

All work and no play makes Ola a dull boy—spice things up with some extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities help children develop and nurture their skills and talents. However, your child can only take part in some activities. There must be some balance to ensure that they are not under pressure. Select their favourite activities or those they have shown some interest in. Look for budget-friendly and quality alternatives that will help them harness their talents. Examples of activities they can engage in include swimming, art, reading, music, tennis and dance clubs.

Health is Wealth

Before your children return to school, a general health check is essential – eyes, teeth, and overall health to prevent festering problems. There are affordable health insurance covers to ensure that your children have access to quality medical care in the case of an emergency. Also, homemade meals are more nutritious than fast-food alternatives. You can draw a meal plan and meal prep over the weekend to ensure your kids eat healthy. 

Carpooling

The high fuel cost has increased school bus fares, which has become worrying for most parents. A way to deal with this is to consider carpooling for the daily school run and extracurricular activities. With carpooling, parents take turns taking children to the same school, with huge savings on fueling and running costs.

For boarders, carpooling is also a good option for visiting days and holidays. Collaborate with other willing parents in the neighbourhood to schedule carpooling timelines. Ensure to work with trusted persons whom your children feel comfortable with.

Create an education savings plan for your children. 

While in university, a friend shared with me that her father had opened a savings account for her as a child and deposited an amount in it monthly towards her university education. When it was time to get into uni, it wasn’t a financial burden because her parents had planned ahead. This was encouraging because my friend was financially confident and adequate in school. This also gave her time to focus on her education and make good grades.

Time is your greatest asset in building financial protection for your child. Starting early gives their savings the opportunity to grow faster, thanks to compounding interest- today’s interest will start earning interest tomorrow. You can open a Locked Savings plan on HerVest towards your children’s education. The Locked Savings Plan allows you to save for long-term goals while earning up to 14% interest PA. Get started here

Planning ahead for your children’s education reduces financial pressure. You also give your children the quality education they deserve. Here’s wishing your child a successful school year ahead. Also, what other tips would you recommend? Let us know in the comments.

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