State schools may be the ‘free’ alternative to private schools, but there can still be hidden costs when putting your child in a state school. Here are just a few of those hidden costs and how you can afford them.
School uniforms can be expensive. As your child grows, you’ll have to keep buying new clothes (which includes lots of pairs of new shoes). Some items like sweatshirts and blazers may have to be bought from a specific shop, but you can shop around for other items like shirts and socks. Make sure to label clothing to prevent it getting lost so that you don’t have to buy unnecessary replacements. Learning to sew could also be a handy skill for repairing tears and getting more wear out of clothing.
You’ll also likely need to buy school supplies such as stationery, textbooks and a rucksack. These can add up if you’re not careful. The back to school sales sometimes have some great discounts, but you can save money further by using coupons. There are lots of coupon sites online for finding these. Don’t forget to also check which items you may already possess – don’t go buying pens and calculators if you already have them at home.
There will likely be the option of multiple school trips throughout your child’s education. These can cost hundreds in some cases. When preparing your child for a school trip, make sure that you’re aware of all the associated costs. There will likely be an option to pay in instalments, which could make the trip more affordable. Don’t be afraid to talk to the school if you feel you’re going to have trouble affording a trip as they may be able to offer extensions on the payment deadline.
Many parents encourage their children to take up extracurricular activities such as after-school sports clubs, music lessons or other school-run clubs. However, these clubs and hobbies often aren’t free. If your child is passionate about these activities and you are struggling to afford them, consider looking into local financial aid. There are charities out there that will be willing to pay for your child’s hobbies.
If you want to take your child on holiday during term time, you may have to pay a fine. While going away during term time can allow you access cheaper holiday deals, there is a risk that you may end up spending more overall due to the added fines, so weigh the costs up first.
Schools tend to only serve free lunches up to a certain age. After this, you will have to decide whether to pay for your child to eat from the canteen or to prepare packed lunches. Packed lunches tend to be the cheaper option – this guide on how to save money on kids’ packed lunches could be worth a read.
Disclosure: This is a partnered post