High School Expenses: Planning Ahead for Budget Conscious Parents

When your children start school, there can be a brief sigh of financial relief because you no longer have to pay the same high childcare costs. The reality is though that there are still some significant costs that you need to plan for.

Don’t underestimate the number of pairs of school shoes your child will go through in a year, or how much all the after school activities, or wrap around care is going to cost you. Then there’s sponsored events, school trips, £1 here and there for a whole range of things and of course replenishing of school uniform and P.E. kit.

Once your children reach high school however, there are some larger expenses to contend with. It always pays to plan, so here are a few of the things you might need to consider when your child reaches high school.

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School Uniform

High school uniform can be a whole different ball game to primary school uniform when it comes to cost. Lots of high schools have a blazer as part of their uniform, which can range between £30 and £60 depending on the school and where you live.

Lots of high schools have branded P.E. kit, so there’s no more £3 white t-shirts and shorts from your local ASDA, you could be spending closer to £40 for the correct P.E. kit for high school.

On top of that there will be school shoes, P.E. trainers, shirts, ties and so on. So make sure you plan ahead and maybe even begin to buy things gradually the year in advance, in order that you aren’t facing a huge expense over the summer holiday.

Overseas School Trips

We all want our children to have amazing experiences in life. One way they can do this is by heading off on the overseas trips planned with their school. Every school is different when it comes to destinations for the trips, so you can’t predict that. What you can predict though is that these trips are costly. A school ski trip for example might set you back anywhere between £700 and £1500 depending on the destination. On top of that there’s the clothing to buy.

Costs will vary depending on the location and duration of the trips but even a couple of days in Paris is likely to be over £300 , and then there is spending money of course.

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You don’t want to be getting into debt to finance these trips, so try to plan ahead. Perhaps putting aside a bit each month towards the trip fund. Most schools let you pay in instalments anyway, which is helpful to parents. There is a useful article here from Cash Lady which may give you a few ideas about how to deal with overseas school trips. They mention other family members helping out, and checking to see if you are eligible for help from school.

Charity Events

There are often a lot more charity events at high schools. To the point where you feel terrible constantly asking friends and family for sponsorship, and end up just paying for it all yourself.

It is hugely important to help charities, but sometimes it can feel never ending, so don’t feel too bad if your child doesn’t collect 50 sponsors for every single event.

School Transport

For some parents, high school can bring the added expense of paying for school transport, in the form of a bus pass. My parents had to do this for me and the fees weren’t cheap either, even back then.

From memory we paid termly, and every school and local authority will be different, so if this will affect you, make sure you start planning early to avoid the strain.

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School Excursions and activities

In addition to overseas school trips, there are likely to be several other school excursions and activities. It’s rare for a week to go by here when my children don’t need £3 for transport to get to a sports match, or £8 for membership to something else, or maybe £80 for those school music lessons for the term, and then of course there’s daily lunch money.

You can’t foresee some of these costs, but for those you can, plan and save what you can when you can to ease the pressure.

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