Kids can be expensive. According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the cost of raising a 6-year old girl is $137 per week (or $7,124 for the year) and a 10-year old boy is $203 per week ($10,556 for the year).
This doesn’t even include costs for things like computers, bikes and equipment, extra-curricular activities like weekend sport or music lessons. And the sum is even higher if you decide to send your kids to a Catholic or private school.
Here are 5 tips to help you prepare and manage your kids’ expenses:
1. Dedicated savings account
Consider setting up a high-interest savings account dedicated to your kids and deposit a portion of your monthly income to it. This can help give you the discipline to set money aside and be more prepared for current and future expenses. You can even set-up individual accounts for each child to help you (and your kids) budget.
2. Teach your kids about money
Teaching your kids basic savings and budgeting skills will help develop good habits earlier in life and save you money as your children start to appreciate its value. Check out ASIC’s MoneySmart website for some useful tips on ways you can get started.
3. Be prepared and plan ahead
Plan ahead on items you’ll need in the future and look out for special offers. Make a list of things your kids will be needing in the next six months (e.g. equipment for sport or extracurricular activities, clothes and bags for upcoming excursions and trips) and see if you can buy it earlier to take advantage of sales or online promotions.
4. Reuse and recycle
See if your school has a second hand uniform shop or reach out to other families with kids in older years who are looking to give away old uniforms or second hand books. You can also check out online exchanges for uniforms, books and equipment like The Uniform Swap Shop, The Uniform Exchange and The Sustainable School Shop.
Uniforms are often in perfectly good condition but just become obsolete as older kids transition into a senior uniform or grow out of them. The same can be said for books as senior students no longer need the textbooks for younger year levels. At the very least, you can pay a much lower price for these additional school purchases that can easily add up.
5. Borrowing and refinancing
There are many types of loans and credit available if you’re looking to fund larger expenses, including personal loans, credit cards, refinancing your existing home loan and more fit-for-purpose options like Edstart for education expenses. It is best to have a look around and be aware of the benefits and potential pitfalls.
When working out the total cost, factor in the interest rate, the terms of the loan (e.g. length of repayment period, the amount that the interest applies to) and any potential fees. For example, families dipping into their mortgage to pay for bigger ticket items like school fees or an overseas excursion can often benefit from a lower interest rate. But a lower interest rate doesn’t necessarily mean that you end up paying less money over the long term. The effect of compound interest over the life of the home loan, which is generally a much longer period, can mean you end up paying more in total interest if you don’t also increase the repayment amount.
Gillian from @edstart_au has spent 15+ years working in the education sector and is a mother of a teenager. Edstart offers flexible payment plans to help families manage education expenses, including tuition, tutoring, boarding, extra-curricular activities, excursions and technology items. To find out more and to calculate a personalised plan, visit edstart.com.au.
The information provided for general information only and should not be taken as professional or personal advice. Before making any financial decision, we recommend that you consider seeking independent legal, financial and other advice to ensure that it’s appropriate for your personal situation.