School may have already started, but as any parent knows, the cost of your child’s education doesn’t stop at new clothes and supplies. Expenses pop up throughout the year. From extracurricular to field trips and more, education can get pricey, even at a public school … but it doesn’t have to.
Check out these tips to giving your child a quality educational and social experience at school—without breaking the bank.
Invest in durable supplies
When it comes to school supplies, it’s tempting to only focus on getting the lowest price possible. However, investing a little extra for quality can sometimes lead to bigger savings in the long run. A durable backpack may cost more up front, but it will also last longer, and won’t have to be replaced as often. If you can afford it, plan to spend a little the extra on high-usage items that need to last the entire school year.
Share the cost of extracurricular
If your children want to take up an extracurricular (sports, clubs, music), have them contribute to the costs. The idea is to teach them a lesson about financial responsibility (e.g., you have to save for the things you really want) without discouraging them from participating. And as an extra perk, mom and dad can save a few bucks.
Be selective about sports equipment
Sports are great for kids—but they’re also costly. If your child is just starting out, avoid spending money on the most expensive equipment. See if you can borrow slightly-used equipment from friends or family members first. You can also check second-hand stores or even eBay for gear. If your child gets more serious about the sport later, then upgrade to new equipment.
Donate time over money
Your child’s school may ask you to donate to fundraisers throughout the year. But money isn’t always the only way to help. Ask the donation organizers if you can volunteer time in lieu of cash. They may appreciate the assistance. And if possible, see if you can enlist your child to help during your volunteer hours. It’s a great opportunity to teach the value of donating your time to a good cause.
With a little creativity, you can let your child have a great school experience without spending a fortune.