Reduce back-to-school costs by planning

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As schools re-open and back-to-school campaigns draw to an end, many parents and guardians are left with no option but to cough up money for registration fees, school fees and other costs related to this academic year.
A mother of a grade twelve learner, Maswabi Mokhothu, told Voice that she battles to cover the cost of her son’s education as she is a pensioner. “I wish for my son to acquire the best quality education, but unfortunately most private schools do not come cheap. I would be relieved if he could manage to pass this year with distinctions so that he could at least secure a bursary for tertiary education.”
Debt Counsellor, Zuné Coetzer, warns parents against the most common mistakes they often make during this time of the year.
She warns parents against unnecessary expenditure. She advises that budgeting and prioritising school expenses is the way to go. Coetzer said although the cost of getting children in school is often unbearable for most parents, they should plan to ensure that their children are afforded a good education.
“At this time of the year school fees are always due. By planning in advance parents can ensure that they pay the fees in advance to receive a cash discount. The most important aspects of surviving a cash flow crisis during these first three months of the year is to prioritise back-to-school costs. They should consider recycling some of the back-to-school items and only buy what’s necessary.”
Coetzer advises parents not to apply for credit or additional loans. She advises them to take the amount owed for the year and divide it by ten to work out a sum that they should include in their monthly budget.
The Economic Freedom Fighter’s Free State Chairperson, Kgotso Morapela, adds that parents should not bear the cost of education alone. He says there are means to reduce the cost of obtaining a quality education, and cited corruption as one of the sources that hinder free education. “We have proposed that as a country we prioritise education and resources needed at schools. We need to focus on ensuring that free quality education is accessible to everyone.” – Katleho Morapela 
katleho@centralmediagroup.co.za