Written when my oldest daughter went off to University (many years ago). Luckily we had RESPs, and she had earned a fair amount of pocket money herself. The first time this happens, it is quite a shock regarding money spent. Back to School is different at this age.
With my oldest going off to University, her back-to-school needs are a little more diverse than when she returned to middle school or high school. Now she requires more things than just the ordinary:
Now her back to school purchases have more various things added like:
- Her own computer
- A copy of Microsoft Office
- A printer
- Anti-Virus software
- A power bar
- Bed linens and towels
- A return ticket for Thanksgiving
- Living Expenses
- A desk lamp
- A stapler
- A 3 hole punch
- A year’s supply of the necessities of life
- Laundry Detergent
Life’s necessities is an interesting one, it’s not like Waterloo is like Baffin Island, where they only get supplies once a year, so I am not sure why we are buying so much of this stuff, but we are (and transporting it there too).
More School Spending
Of course, we have regular back to school shopping for my other two daughters, and luckily my son has not reached the magic school age, but as I have said before, September is a month with many very LARGE outputs of money, in many hidden places:
- Fees for courses and such, at a public school?
- Fees for sports
- Bus passes (this year only two, so I am saving there?!?!?)
- Clothing for back to school
- Basketball shoes and sports paraphenalia
- Field trip fees
- Registration for club sports
How much could all of this cost? Try well over $1000 with the sports fees and such added in!
All of this, as my last paycheque will arrive on September 30th? It sounds like we will need a budget. Oh, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, where are your mason jars?!!!!!
Have a good weekend all. I think I’ll be figuring out how many kidneys I can sell on eBay…
Other Back to School Thoughts?
- The Business of University Fees talks about how you should look very closely at all the fees you child might pay at school. Many of these fees are refundable, think about doing that.
- Back To School and RESP Time this is when to think about it. If your kids aren’t at University, do they have an RESP?
- High Tech Hand Me Downs & Back to School another area of spending. Are you buying new computers or handing them down?
- Back to School Monetary Nightmare can happen. If you haven’t saved for it September can be a painful month.
- You think you don’t need an RESP ? Maybe check out that page for some hints on how much it can help.
If your daughter lives in dorm, you’ll have to set aside dorm fee as well, usually payable in the first week or two.
Then there’s the evil called “textbooks”. Try to buy all the books online before hitting the school’s bookstore would probably save you a bundle. As far as I can remember, Amazon and Indigo now both sells used books as well. If you’re willing to go one step (or many steps, depending on your circumstances) further, see if you can buy the books from a developing country — because of arcane trade agreements, the same book usually cost a lot less in developing countries than Canada.
One way to enforce frugalness on her is to give her a lump sum of money and let her allocate how much she’s willing to spend on books, food, phone (long distance charges are a beast), entertainment, etc. Limited resource inspires creativity — she’ll soon figure out how to score free food, which textbooks are worth the money, the cheapest way to connect with her high school friends, etc. Of course, for this strategy to work, you have to make her realize you’re not going to send her money when she comes home begging for more in Thanksgiving.
Excellent points! Well put, and thanks
Why not use Ubuntu and OpenOffice rather than spend 500 bucks on Windows Vista and Office?
This is for my daughter, who has used Windows and Office and I frankly don’t want to teach her Linux and Open Office in the next two weeks.
I am thinking I may well get back to my UNIX roots very soon and take this project on myself at home, though, so I agree that is a good choice, however, Office now costs less than $100 in Canada and Vista can’t cost that much, because PC’s now cost $500 in itself!