Almost every year, we hear reports of increasing tuition fees and groans from disgruntled parents scrambling to find ways to augment their already insufficient incomes. More and more kids are being removed from private schools because their families cannot afford the payments anymore.
How then do you deal with enrollment planning? Here’s what Josie Martinez, Elementary Home Economics teacher at Ashton Faith Academy in Rizal, Laguna, has to say:
Assess your options. A lot of schools now have schemes wherein parents can opt to pay for everything outright or breakdown fees into semi-annual, quarterly, or monthly payments. “Of course you have to consider the fact that paying in installments means paying more due to the interests,” prompts Martinez. “If you already have the money to pay the complete amount during enrollment, I suggest you pay for the whole school- year upfront. You will be saving more.”
Save early. It is never too soon to set aside money for our children’s education. Consciously save for next year’s tuition as much as possible during the course of the current school year. That way, it would be easier to top off the savings when the time comes to use the money. Why not open a separate bank account just for that and restrain yourself from taking anything out until it’s the proper time to do so?
Take out a loan. I have an uncle who managed to send his four kids to school by getting a loan from his company every summer and used the money to pay for tuition fees. He then proceeds to pay everything off during the school year. By the summer, he is again ready for another round of loans and payments. Now, my cousin is applying her father’s technique and says it’s a great weight off her shoulders when she’s able to pay her child’s school fees easily. Remember though that you have to be diligent in paying back what you owe if you want this scheme to work. Include the payments in your monthly budget.
Cut down on luxuries. If you can’t com-pletely eliminate something from your budget like a family eat-out every weekend, think about lessening the frequency, say, make it once or twice a month instead. When buying food or things for the house, look for good bargains such as items that are cheaper but are still of good quality than the more expensive ones you’re used to.
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Set priorities. Distinguish wants from needs. At the same time, teach your children early on to appreciate the simple things in life. Don’t let them get used to signature items that can practically be replaced with something else having the same use and quality but that is more affordable. Be careful of setting the wrong examples. You might be curtailing the kids’ spending and yet you keep on shopping for personal clothes and accessories without pause, what message are you sending then?
Talk to the kids. Children have a wonder-ful way of taking to heart something that is conveyed seriously but gently. Explain to them why the family has to decrease spending. When a child wants you to buy him something, “Avoid saying ‘Wala akong pera, anak,’” cautions Martinez, “because that is difficult to believe when you go to buy something else in a while. Tell your child instead, ‘May pera si Mommy, pero pambili natin ito ng baon mo for school, wala tayong pambili ng toy na gusto mo ngayon eh.’” You can also agree to compromises such as, “Okay, we’ll buy you a new lunch box, but you should choose one that would not go over P200.”
Make things last. Be resourceful. Recycle! Some schools require students to buy all school items from them because of personalized prints. Excess pad papers from last year for example, which are printed with the school logo, can still be used this year. Have patience too in reminding the kids every now and then why they need to take good care of their things. After all, an expensive school-issued bag should at least last for one whole year.
Look for sidelines. Extra income always comes in handy. Find out where your interests lie and see if that could lead to a small business you can do at home or during your free time at the office.
Aside from these, we also share with you some helpful advice when it comes to spending on your child's school supplies.
Read on for some suggestions on smart school-supplies shopping. Click here to move on to the next page.