Upon first thought, it may seem impossible to fit private school expenses into your household budget. However, with a little planning and exploring of resources, you can be on your way to affording a private education. Even if you are thinking about private school for a few years from now, it's not too early to put some plans into action today. Here are some ideas to get you started on budgeting for your children's education.
New cars can quickly depreciate in value and often come with a high monthly payment. For a lower expense and a higher value, look into purchasing a used vehicle instead. Better yet, set money aside for your next vehicle purchase. Car payments can be a significant part of the household budget. Explore ways to reduce these costs.
2. Cell phones
Even though cell phones seem to be a necessity these days, this is a big expense in most households that can be reduced in some cases. Keeping in touch with older kids is important. While cell phones do provide a way to communicate with the kids, there may be another way. Instead of an expensive talk and data contract with your cell phone carrier, try getting your child an iPod Touch. The iPod Touch does not make calls, but it does have text messaging. Voice communication can still be made through FaceTime to family and friends. Another option would be a pay-as-you-go phone for necessary communication and emergencies. Making this change could add up to big savings!
3. Inquire about discounts
Tution rates often include multiple children discounts. If you have more than one child, it's wise to send them to the same school and ask about a monthly tuition discount. Most private schools offer this.
Here is an area where getting creative can be fun and a great way to save money. Consider traveling to places within driving distance and save on airfare. Try staying in locations with a kitchen in the room and cook some of the meals instead of dining out.
5. Take advantage of rewards programs
Another way to offset school costs is to take advantage of rewards programs in your everyday spending! Many private schools participate in some sort of reimbursement incentive program (TRIP or SCRIP) that gives reimbursement when you purchase gift cards through the school. Parents, grandparents, or family friends may purchase a gift cards from participating gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and retail stores. The cards are usually purchased directly through the schools coordinator. The participating retailers then give a certain percentage of the gift card amount back to the school, and the school passes those savings onto the family in the form of tuition reduction or applies it towards other required costs associated with the school. It's a great way to save on the monthly expenses associated with private school. You are essentially taking the money you would already be spending on monthly groceries, gas, etc. for your family and purchasing gift cards ahead of time for this spending, then getting an amazing rebate to help you save on costs!
6. Get family support
Consider having a sit down meeting with your parents, grandparents, or any other close family members to see if they may be willing to contribute towards your child's private school tuition. You would be surprised at how far just a small donation from family can go when paying for your child's school. You may also find that after talking to family members they will be more inclined to invest in your child's education than spend the money on toys and clothes for them.
7. Cut some monthly expenses
Take a look at what types of "extra spending" your family may have currently. Most likely there are some areas where you'll find room for adjusting. Some ideas may be: making your own coffee for work rather than a coffee shop trip or dining out less often and making more meals at home. Little things like this can really add up!
Monthly planning can make affording a private school education much easier. The key is to sit down and make a monthly spending plan, then stick to it. How have you made some changes in household expenses? Have you found some resources you'd like to share with others? Do you have some great ideas to add to this list? Please share them in the comments below.