Money Matters with Nimi

As the holidays draw to a close, the start of the new school year is fast approaching. A new academic year is full of promise for your children as they move one step closer towards fulfilling their potential. It also comes with some major challenges for many parents.

The academic year comes with significant costs; school fees,uniforms,supplies,meals,transport costs,books,extra-curricular activities, and all the paraphernalia that must be paid for.

Planning ahead will take some of the pressure off you so that you can enjoy one of life’s most fulfilling events; educating your children. Ideally parents should have started planning for the school year long before now. When you shop early, you can take advantage of sales and discounts.

We realise that many parents are going through much anxiety over school fees and other expenses. This week we will be sharing some back-to-school money tips to help you save some money.


Set out a budget for school supplies including books, lunch, transport, uniforms, allowance etc. How much do you have available for school shopping? You don’t have to buy every single thing on the school list. Shop with a list, prioritise and stick to it.

This is a great time to communicate with children about the costs associated with their school needs. Going through the school list with your child is an opportunity to teach some valuable money lessons. Talk through the difference between wants versus needs, value and values.

There is so much peer pressure that you cannot ignore; they must understand that there will always be people that have more than them and that its OK. Take them along for some of the school shopping trips so they can compare the various prices themselves, and learn practical lessons.

If you’ve found yourself caught off-guard this year by school expenses, plan ahead for next year so that it doesn’t happen again. Set up a specific education fund to meet this goal that you contribute to each month so it’s not such a huge expense all at once. Ideally, we should all start to build our children’s educational fund from the time they are born.

Chances are your child attends the same school as some other students living in your neighbourhood. Look into the option of car-pooling for the daily school-run as well as for extra-curricular school activities orsports practices. With car-pooling, parents take turns in taking children to the same school with huge savings on fueling and running costs as well as freeing up some time out from the hectic school run.

For boarders, car-pooling is also a good option for exeats, visiting days and mid-term holidays. Plan in advance to draw up a schedule with other parents and
share the journey to cut costs on long-distance travel. Here are some advantages.

  • Convenience of a reliable, efficient carpool system.
  • With a carpool, you save on petrol because you don’t have to drive your kids to and from school every single day. You also save on the wear and tear of the car.
  • Carpooling is one of the best ways to reduce environmental pollution, simply because there are fewer cars on the road
  • Carpooling is a good way to make friends; not only for students, but for parents as well. The relationships established through carpooling can transition into valuable friendships.

Even the best plans do not always go according to plan; be thorough with your due diligence before you settle on a car pool.

We often complain about teachers, schools and the exorbitant cost of education and assume that the most expensive school has to be the best. We seldom talk about the fact that parents are the most important
factor in a child’s education.

Good parenting is more important than a good school to a child’s academic success, according to a study. It considered their academic performance and the quality of parental involvement in their lives; ‘family social capital’

Children do best when their parents are involved with their school work, attend school events, and of course spend quality family time at home or in activities with them, passing on knowledge and values. Children with supportive parents, even if they attend poor quality schools, tend to outperform pupils at good schools whose parents take little interest in their education.

Some parents think that the school system is totally responsible and abdicate all responsibility for their kids’ education. Money is not the most important factor as
we make it out be. Parents are more important than teachers, money, or any other factor when it comes to their children’s education.

Should you buy in bulk?
Buying school supplies in bulk is most effective for households with multiple students. For single-child families, consider doubling up with others for extra savings on basic supplies. If you buy too much they may go to waste as they will get lost, lent out, given away, misplaced or just never used.

Please don’t look down on “hand me downs.” Naturally, every child would love to have everything brand new each year, but where older siblings or cousins attended the same school, it makes perfect sense to use handed down uniforms if in good condition, even if you can afford to buy new ones. Some schools offer almost new (“fairly used”) special-wear uniforms such as blazers etc; quite frankly, at the rate at which children outgrow clothes, it makes sense to buy som

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