When your kids are younger, you worry about spending too much on their backpacks or maybe another outfit for the start of school (this is a good thing; controlling spending early on is a good thing for the kids, too, because it sets their expectations to the right level as well). Still, the expenses become much more interesting as they age and can balloon to enormous levels.
After driving up and down the 401 countless times, seeing, Vans, SUVs, and even Micras stuffed to the gills with furniture, computers, and clothes, it says loudly that once your kids get to University, back to school can take an exponential jump in your budget. I am not saying this is a necessity, just that it can happen with over-zealous parents who want to give their kids the best.
The point of University is to learn, and one of the things that kids need to learn is how to cultivate and develop their own Inner Frugality. If you buy your kids $3000 worth of furniture for their apartment, they are effectively living YOUR lifestyle (i.e. it’s just like home), whereas maybe they should be learning to live a frugal lifestyle instead? At University, I had a treasure trove of old, used and scrounged furniture, and I loved it. No, my living room was not something out of “Better Homes,” but it was mine (mostly my parents gave me an old dresser), and that is (I think) one of those things a kid in post-secondary education (or one that has just moved out) needs, that sense of self.
Teach your kids to live within their own means when they spread their wings and leave the nest, and that may be the most important thing they learn.
Other Back to School Thoughts?
- The Business of University Fees talks about how to look closely at all the fees your 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 are not 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.