Back to University Could Also Cause Financial Woes [column]

“While the big back-to-school buzz is settling down for many parents it now means back to university or the beginning of tertiary education for their children,” said Vicky Muranda, FNB Group Communications Manager. “And this education, unlike primary school and possibly soon secondary school, is not free of charge and can cost parents a pretty penny over a period of three to six years, depending on the studies.”

Muranda added that tertiary education often means class fees, transport, accommodation, stationery, books and the like and exceed schools costs by thousands of dollars on a yearly basis. “It is, therefore, aisable to try some of the following savings tips to ease the financial burden that studying might cause a family.”

Purchase supplies bit by bit

“Buying supplies in bits and spaced out over the year when you do your monthly or weekly grocery shopping is lighter on the pocket than buying all the items at once. Buy the basics of what your child will need in January and purchase the rest later – this could be a saving grace after the December festivities,” said Muranda.

It also gives you the opportunity to teach your children about budgeting with smaller amounts that they can wrap their heads around. Once you have divided the stationery purchases into sections, plan a budget for each shopping spree and ask your child to “shop around” in the weekly paper for the best deals before you hit the shops and grab the best ‘back-to-school’ deal. This will teach them valuable financial lessons such as planning for expenses, staying within a budget and delayed gratification as some of the items might have to be placed on the list for the next round of purchases,” she said.

Buy dual gifts

The use of technology is becoming ever more present in the schooling and university environment and it is likely that students will need tablets and laptops. Instead of incurring the cost in the New Year, be savvy and make a birthday gift out of it. Alternatively, use a match-funding approach to teach your children the value of money and the principle of delayed gratification.

“Make the proposition that if your child saves half or third of the device cost, you will come to the party with the additional funds. Such techniques instil a savings culture in your children and will result in them taking ownership in looking after their devices,” suggested Muranda. “Don’t forget rewards and vouchers Various retailers have rewards programmes such as cash back or points that accumulate. Don’t forget to use your points or cash back to save on purchases.

Plan ahead

Saving for tertiary education should be done as soon as the child is born or enters school. There is a great variety of products available which means you save a bit every month for 18 years, thereby ensuring that you have money available when the day comes that your child wishes to further their studies. This will also ease the burden of having to all of a sudden find the huge funds in one year. “FNB Namibia has products available and our bankers are more than happy to assist,” says Muranda. “These include 7-day notice accounts, call accounts, flexi-fixed deposits, 32-day interest plus, First Save, SuperSave and unit trusts, to name but a few,” she concluded.

Source : New Era