We are entering the second month of the year, which means we have somewhat adapted to the 2020 school and family year. This also means that we are now aware of how much would be required from us monthly. Sometimes we experience rainy days and as parents, it is important that we plan for these, regardless of how unknown they are.
Here are some tips to help you plan better financially in 2020.
Include the schools’ fees in the monthly budget
According to Sanlam, it is always a better idea to pay the full fees upfront. This is because the school offers a discount to people who use this method. This, however, would have required prior financial planning. So if you are paying the fees monthly, ensure that the fees form part of your monthly budget so that you know how to plan properly.
Plan for your once-off expenses
If you don’t plan for Valentine’s Day or your daughter’s birthday, you might end up using your savings to plan for these occasions. So make sure that you plan ahead, especially for events that will require some effort from your side e.g a birthday party.
Budget for clothes
Nothing disrupts a parent’s bank account like clothes. This is why parents have to be smart about how they purchase them. This is particularly relevant for smaller kids that are not using a uniform yet. Every parent wants their child to look nice, but you also want to do this one a budget. Jen from The Suburban Mom blog suggests buying store brands and not expensive name brands. For people that are constantly growing, it is smarter to choose value over name brands.
You can also be strategic and buy clothes quarterly instead of monthly. This will give you time to check what still fits, and ensure that your child actually wears everything you buy. How many times has your child not worn an outfit that is now too small for them?
Save money for healthcare or sign up for medical aid
Medical expenses can become overwhelming for families. Even for those who have medical aid, some plans do not cover all the Dr’s or healthcare provider’s requirements. If yours does not cover medication and other expenses, ensure that you set money aside on a monthly basis to cover you should you fall ill, or your child does. Regardless of the number of multivitamins you give your toddler, they might catch something at school that requires medical attention. Be prepared for this.
Save for the next year
The biggest mistake parents make when entering a new school year is starting off on a clean slate. It is always a mission in January to try and put money together to buy uniforms, stationery, pay the fees, transportation, and other school requirements. Save up the invoices that you used when purchasing things for the kids. This way, you can tally everything up and be able to set an estimate of how much would be required from you for the next year. Then you save up effectively.
Circumstances are never the same and a lot of people are living hand to mouth. The biggest assumption that one can make is that you need to save a lot of money each month. One can save as little as R200 a month. This can make the world’s difference when it’s time to purchase items for the new year.
It is also advisable to involve your children where appropriate when planning financially.