child's education savings

Christmas planning for your child’s education

Christmas can be expensive and then there's school costs. Here's what to consider and what you can do now.

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Regardless of whether it’s private or public schools, Christmas and budgeting for your child’s education can be expensive.

Even in a government primary school, families can be looking at costs of up to $1,700 a year. While in private schools, you can expect to multiply that figure many times over… and over.

Children need new books, new stationery, equipment for sport and other extracurricular activities, all of which are unwelcome additional costs at the start of a new year so soon after Christmas.

Here’s the types of expenses to think about.

• General (voluntary) school contribution
• Uniforms
• School shoes
• Sports shoes
• Laptop computer
• Stationery
• Art equipment or tech equipment
• School excursions
• School camps
• Music / dance lessons
• Cost to purchase or hire a musical instrument
• Additional tutoring

The IT equipment that students are expected to have can be a particularly nasty shock for parents.

The high school laptop program for students in years 9 to 12 was part of Labor’s Digital Education Revolution, but in 2013 the Federal Government ceased funding for it. As a result, parents are now expected to foot the bill for a laptop or tablet, at the minimum.

It is particularly important to plan in advance as education costs continue to outpace wage increases in Australia.

This means parents need to be confident they are making the right choice when it comes to planning for their children’s future needs.

For many families, it will be necessary to actively plan for their children’s schooling, to ensure there are funds available to pay for fees, additional tuition, extra curricular activities and excursions.

Furthermore, formal education now spans an increasing number of years, from primary school through to tertiary education.

Bearing the cost of these expenses out of day-to-day cashflow can place stress on the family finances, and parents should consider putting money aside – even before their child starts school – to build up reserves that can be dipped into for education costs.

While the savings pool doesn’t have to cover the full cost of education, having a separate source of funds set aside to assist with these expenses can help ease the everyday burden.

To help families plan for the cost of education, Australian Unity has developed a simple calculator that helps work out how much each stage of education will cost, and what their savings will cover.

Putting just a bit extra aside at birthdays and Christmas, or as part of a regular savings program, can make a big difference when it comes to paying for education expenses.

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