September used to mean a month of big expenses. When we had 3 kids in University the amount of money spent was astounding. Back to school meant fees, moving costs, rent and many more big expenses. Luckily we had RESPs to help out.
For those of you who are worried about buying pens, pencils, binders and such, allow me to say, “You have no idea of what is coming down the tracks at you”. As your child moves up the academic levels, it all starts getting much more expensive, and it does so at a higher rate than you might guess.
So far this summer we have already paid for:
- Four months rent on an apartment that no one has lived in. To be fair no one lived in it for 3 months, someone has now moved into it.
- A new computer for school, because you can’t go to school without one now.
- Back to school supplies on steroids, allow me to share a photo of the stash so far (this is only for 1 child):
- Tuition for 1 child, however, since she is attending two different schools (effectively), I still have to pay the other school’s fees. That is for one child, then I have the other child’s fees still to pay.
- A new student orientation weekend, which sounded like fun, but sure wasn’t cheap.
- Oh and I have paid for a car trip to and from Nova Scotia, and will have to pay for at least two trips to Peterborough in the very near future.
- Did I mention my son’s tuition costs? No, don’t worry you will hear about that one soon.
Does this sound like me whingeing and moaning? Spot on, is anybody else living through this, or have you lived through it and now are enjoying having disposable income again? Feel free to reply with “suck it up butter cup” as well, I look forward to the “why are you paying for your kids post-secondary education” comments too.
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?
- You think you don’t need an RESP ? Maybe check out that page for some hints on how much it can help.
- Student High Tech Hygiene is another important topic. If their computers are full of viruses and malware, what are you going to do about it.
I am going thru this myself, only, I am the student. Buying all the nessessary crap was actually lower in cost for me, as I had a lot of paper and pens and notebooks and I ended up freecycling a bunch of binders from someone who needed to get rid of about 50 binders. (SWEET!!!) They are decent enough condition that I have enough to last me for the 4 semesters and summer classes I need for the pre-reqs for one of the classes. With all the stuff I have collected over the years for various times I have been in school, I barely had to buy anything and might have gone thru about 100 bucks.
I feel for the parents with multible kids though…
For anyone reading this who’s kids are still in diapers, put money aside in a good RESP, and not the one by that baby food company. There is crap out there in the RESP industry just like there is in anything else. Do your research and don’t just plug into the first one that comes by. But do it!!!! When your kids start college/university, you won’t regret having done it!
Excellent advice, from someone living the life.
Yes, I do wait and put it in something of low risk (if I can really understand the risk).
@Money and Earth my daughter and her friends found it quite hard to sublet their 4 bed house for 4 months. Lots of work and stress during exam studying showing to prospects (many who didn’t show up for appointments) and in the end they were only able to sublet 3 rooms at less than what they had to pay in rent. The plan is to be the subletter from now on.
I’ve commented before, co-op programs, especially Waterloo’s, are the best financially. After $18k RESP money to get through the first two school semesters, co-op work has more than covered all tuition and living expenses for a frugal kid. A pleasant surprise for me.
@Greg great point, in fact I graduated with a CO-OP degree (from Waterloo) and those experiences still serve me well now.
I rant like this (on occasion) just so some newer parents might be reminded (or jolted) into figuring out a plan for their children’s futures.
On behalf of students everywhere who got help from their parents to pay for University (myself included), we thank you!
Why are you paying for an empty apartment instead of subletting it to someone else over the summer? I made it a little easier on my parents by going to a University that was only an hour’s drive from our home, and I worked part-time during 2 of my 4 years. You should encourage your kids to get an on-campus job. Its not that much extra work (I guarantee they can spare 10 hours a week), and the on-campus jobs usually pay a decent wage that will really help with covering monthly expenses.
And on behalf of those parents who do help out, we say “Your Welcome”. We also apologize for bitching and complaining about it sometimes, but hey, we are human and need at times to vent. You have some good ideas here, I will pass them on!
I’m happy to say that both my kids were able to pay for their own tuition for the upcoming term. Summer jobs are a wonderful thing.
Now if you could just figure out why your Rum, Scotch and Beer supply keep evaporating so quickly, you’d be set. Maybe you have your thermostat set to high (couldn’t be dead beat friends who mooch off you)?