Get ready to pay up to R3.7m for your child's education

If your child starts Grade R this year, with education inflation of 9% - which is higher than general inflation - you can expect to pay around R1.6m for their public schooling up to matric and a three-year university qualification, says Marius Pretorius, proposition manager at Old Mutual.

If you choose private schools and university, the costs double to R3.7m.

He says, for this year, your monthly costs for school will be around R3 500 for public school and R8 500 for private school. This may be a significant chunk of your monthly budget and excludes any additional costs like uniforms, stationery, extramural activities, sports or club fees and extra tuition.  

Yet 55% of urban South African parents are not saving for their child's education, according to the latest Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor.

Pretorius says even finding R400 in your monthly budget now to save for your child's education will ensure that when they reach high school or university, you will be in a much better financial position to cover some of their costs.

He offers five tips to help you save.

Draw up a budget and stick to it

Knowing what you spend your money on - and how much - can highlight areas where you can cut back. Apps like 22seven by Old Mutual can help you categorise your spending and assist you with budgeting and setting savings goals. There are also other apps that can assist with budgeting and saving

Make your family part of the budgeting process so that they feel involved, understand and support it.

Increase your income

Using your skills after hours and on weekends can help you supplement your income. You'll need to balance your time carefully, but this extra money could be used to save for your child’s education, meet any monthly shortfalls, fund a well-deserved break for you and your family or set up an emergency fund.

Shop around

The internet has made virtual shopping for bargains a breeze. There are many surveys that compare specific items from different retail stores and show you which is the best deal for you.

Buying items like stationery or washing powder in bulk when they are on sale can save you quite a bit too.

Maximise your loyalty programmes

Many retail stores now offer all sorts of benefits and discounts through their loyalty programmes. Familiarise yourself with the rules, how you can earn maximum points or capitalise on savings.

Give a gift for the future

Instead of giving your children expensive gifts, opt to give them a smaller present and then top up their education savings or unit trusts with the rest.

This is a great way to teach them about delayed gratification. Let your family and friends know that they can also contribute to this fund instead of buying big gifts.

* Compiled by Carin Smith

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