They tell you how much to expect to pay towards school fees, uniforms and books but if you have a child of school going age, then you know there’s so much more you need to invest in the school other than the subjects he or she is learning.

There’s also all those extra mural activities, from soccer to netball, as well as the school tours, art materials, money for the poor, extra sandwiches to help those who are unable to bring food to school – all items that you may not have factored into your child’s school career, but could impact your budget, some more severely than others.

 

Sports activities

If your child decides to participate in a sport such as soccer or cricket, there are shin guards, togs, bats and balls to think of, and for sports in general there’s practice time and getting to and from matches. Here’s a hint to ensure you don’t blow your budget – start off with cheaper items and make sure your child is really interested in the sport before going all out and buying the top of the range kit. Also speak to the Head of Department and find out when and where the matches take place so you can factor in fuel and time for these.

Additional school activities

Many schools take their learners on field trips, or even invite different organisations to the school, often asking parents to contribute towards some, if not all the costs to cover these activities. To avoid seeing your child’s disappointment in missing out, ask the school what activities they will be participating in during the year and the approximate costs involved. Put money aside to manage these as well as a little extra in the pot for those unexpected school expenses as well – Valentine’s Days, Casual Day etc. all have a tendency to creep up on a parent.

Being charitable

Some schools take up monetary collections and donate these to schools or other charitable organisations close by – this is a perfect opportunity to teach your child about the concept of reaping what you sow and of paying it forward, especially if you provide them with pocket money.

Some schools even request their learners take extra sandwiches in order to feed those youngsters who are unable to bring lunch to school as well as the learners at schools that may be less fortunate – again parents can use this to show their children how they can positively impact a life, and to do something without expecting anything in return.

While your child’s education and subsequent extra mural activity is important, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your financial peace of mind, and like with anything financial, it comes down to planning and managing the implications – once you’ve got this right, take the time to actively participate in your child’s school career by going to parent’s evenings, the sports matches, the open days and encouraging their every positive action, after all you only have about 12 years to do this!