While it’s lovely to have our kids back in school, the associated costs can bring financial worries for parents. If your expenditure is higher than your income, you only have two options: earn more money or spend less of what you have. While earning more isn’t always possible, we have four tips that might help you save some cash.
It is really important that you now plan your finances and often. My recommendation is that you should sit down and for a couple of hours every month. Like a road map, you will need to know where you are going and anticipate problems along the way. So write down all the current expenditure for the children (transport costs, lunches, additional books, school trips, sports equipment, extracurricular hobbies, pocket money). You should also think about how you can save money in other areas – such as lunches and after-school activities.
Review every cost and consider if there’s a more affordable option, like carpooling. For lunch allowances, some parents give their child up to €10 daily. A packed lunch can be prepared for less than €3 each day which would save over €1,200 annually!
As a rule of thumb, if you send your child to fee-paying schools, you will need to find €240,000 by the time they finish third level education to cover everything–just tuition for third level costing up to €42,000. Before beginning, you need to have a plan. You could start by saving the Child Benefit (currently €140 per month per child) into a Regular Saver account – where you can save between €100 and €1,000 for 12 regular months with 0.85% interest rate). Once a lump sum has accrued, invest elsewhere for a greater return on your money..
If you want to make more complex investments, always seek professional and independent advice. Even if you only invest €250 a month from when your child is 5 years old until they turn 18, at 3% growth per year, you will have accrued c. €42,000 – which covers the cost of third level education in Ireland.