We recently decided that Hamish was going back to school, which, as we are currently living on one income, can become quite costly.
This is how we kept costs down.
Most preschools will ask you for a non refundable deposit. These are anywhere from a few hundred rands to 2 full months fees so it’s best to save this over a few months in a savings account before looking at putting your child into a preschool. This way you won’t have extra expenses.
Most schools also offer a discount for siblings, if you pay your fees up front for the year or if you sign a debit order with them.
We currently save R200 a month just by signing a debit order.
It helps to ask the school what their options are.
Hamish did not need much stationary, just a small notebook. However I always buy extra basic stationary if there is a sale to stock up so I don’t need to buy that much at the beginning of a year.
We bought in bulk. You might not think R5 adds up but if you saving R5 over 10 items of toiletries that’s a R50 saving.
Also doing this we are able to buy the entire years school toiletries in one shop.
Makro have great bulk prices and we love the 3 for 2 promotions at Clicks.
What to stock up on
Most schools ask for the following per term and you can ask for a list from your chosen school.
🔸️ hand sanitizer
🔸️ bum cream
Hamish currently also takes his toothbrush and toothpaste as the kids brush their teeth after breakfast.
You will also be required to send more personal items like :
Making products last
Obviously how much of a product you use will differ to how much a teacher uses. So expect items to be used up more frequently or in rare cases last longer.
Here’s a few ways to make sure some items last longer …
🔸️ sunscreen – buy a large spray on Sunscreen. These last much longer than a lotion and are easier for teachers to apply.
🔸️ bum cream – I only use Bennetts for school. It is easy to apply, a little goes a long way and clears any sign of rash within hours.
🔸️ wetwipes – I always buy the most cost effective wipes for school. If I’m sending 4 packets to school and only use 2 packets at home I need to budget.
This may not be a factor in how you choose your school but it’s always good to look at the location of the school. Is it miles out the way resulting in having to get up earlier and use more petrol or is it on route to your work?
I use the public bus system so it also needs to be on a bus route that isn’t too far out of my way or else I’m spending double the bus fare and actually not really earning a salary.
This can be a tricky one as we all want to feed our preschoolers a healthy diet.
Hamish receives breakfast and a cooked lunch at school so I send fresh fruit, a yoghurt and a snack for 10 am and 3pm for him.
I find that buying just the right amount of fresh fruit every 2 or 3 days results in not wasting it and the fruit not over ripening.
I buy his yoghurt weekly as a six pack .
As for snacks he likes-
🔸️mini rice cakes
🔸️ mini biscuits
🔸️ mini cheddar biscuits
🔸️ breakfast / health bars
🔸️ packets of dried fruit
All of these can be bought in bulk and stored. So I can buy for a month and not stress about running out of snacks ( which in our home can happen 🤣)
And here mom’s I really want to speak openly as a teacher first and then a mom …
Your children look amazing in the latest and greatest outfits but they aren’t able to dress themselves correctly with all the buttons and bows and zips and ties.
Simple outfits of pull up pants and shorts and t-shirts work beautifully. PEP, Ackermans and Jet sell affordable kids clothing often in double packs that are plain, simple and easy to put on.
Expect mess. So send them to school in comfortable clothing that you are prepared to throw away if it’s too messy.
Shoes as well…its best that your child has shoes that they can take off and put on. As hideous as they are Crocs are great for slipping on and off . Velcro shoes are awesome and pick n pay sell affordable gumboots for winter.
7. Emergency fund
Once at school you will slowly start to notice the R5 here, cake sale there or last minute must have item for that event announced this morning.
Keeping an amount aside each month for these will allow you to not feel the pinch on your budget and you will be more prepared.
Do you have any tips you could add to this ? I’d love to hear them.