Bringing up a child today is quite the budget breaker. Here are 12 ways to save on your child’s education and upbringing.
Save on education/tuition
- Choosing your child’s pre-school is a huge budgetary factor. Given the various choices and costs involved, deciding can be quite a task. Stay on the safer – and cheaper side – by choosing a government-linked or church kindergarten. These are way more economical than going the private childcare centre way. So keep social pressure at bay and enrol your child in the public school system. For older kids, again, choose the government schools. Singapore schools rank among the best and are way cheaper as well.
- In today’s age of kiasu parenting, this may border on blasphemy, but you can actually spend time with your child and take personal interest in their education and upbringing! Yes, an educated parent is fully capable of taking the reign of their child’s future into their own hands instead hiring an after school private tutor. Not only will you save on thousands of dollars in fees, but compared to cases where the child is going to a tuition centre, you save on travel costs and time as well. And there is nothing like undivided attention to help your child.
- If tuition is a necessity, choose a tuition centre that is close to your home. You could also organise a car pool to the tuition centre to cut down on transport costs. If private tuition is the way to go, then consider offering the tutor a package deal of more than one student at discounted rates.
Save on entertainment/holidays
- The school vacation break can put quite a strain on finances. If you must travel abroad, consider exploring Asia instead of far flung destinations in Europe. With all the history, culture, and entertainment in Asian and South-East Asian countries, holidays here are quite enriching for children and at the same time, affordable for parents.
- Take advantage of the long list of free things to do in Singapore. Despite being one of the most expensive places to live in, Singapore tries to make up for it with its free public spaces and activities.
Save on enrichment and hobby classes
- After-school enrichment and hobby classes – there seems to be no way around them these days. With tiger moms on the prowl, little ‘geniuses’ are herded off to classes that are supposed to bring out the best in them. Again, at the risk of sounding quite revolutionary, let your kids get home from school and try what is known as ‘free play’.
Take them to the park, let them play on swings, walk with them and let them interact with kids in the neighbourhood. No, you don’t have to send them to a storytelling session – cuddle up at bedtime with a storybook and your kid will grow up just fine.
If enrichment classes are a must, then be smart about it:
- Most classes charge prohibitively so form groups to bring the cost down.
- Check if there are bundled offers on classes
- Check if your child’s pre-school works with an enrichment centre – children from the school are usually offered a discount
- Tie up with friends to share referral bonuses
- Enrol in classes that are close to your home to avoid paying through your nose for transport
- Check for credit card offers on enrichment classes
- Use cards that allow you to pay the fee with a 0% interest instalment plan. This helps stagger costs of a one-time payment of the course.
Save on sports
- Go old school, and let kids play with each other instead of in a constantly controlled environment where everything is ‘scientifically proven’.
- If you must send them for an after-school sport, then consider carpooling, bundled classes, and multi-kid discounts to bring your costs down.
Save on shopping
School, tuition, classes, and sports – all of these require uniforms and accessories that need to be bought. Save money the following ways:
- Simplify your child’s lifestyle
- Shop online for discounts
- Borrow items from friends/family with older children
- Buy pre-owned items at second hand stores
Shopping tip: Buy school bags, shoes and other accessories using the Standard Chartered SingPost Platinum Visa Credit Card for 7% cashback on eligible online purchases.
Let the family help
- Encourage family members to gift an enrichment class to your child or contribute to a hobby class instead of the usual birthday or CNY red packet. You could also ask grandparents to replace a Christmas gift with a contribution to a Christmas holiday – the kids will remember it forever!
- Instead of hiring a domestic worker to baby sit, encourage kids to spend time with family. For example, spending time with grandparents is both enriching for kids, fulfilling for grandparents, and saves you a bundle in baby-sitting costs!
Children need not always be entertained or given the latest gadget to be shown that they are loved and taken care of. They can grow up to be well-rounded and empathetic adults if they are taught to live within their means and enjoy their time with other less-fortunate friends.