Why didn't I know how expensive starting high school would be?

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

Our eldest child is starting high school next year and we've just started getting all the bills - and now we're freaking out.

Why didn't we know how expensive it would be to have a child starting high school?

And it's not even a private school. It wouldn't be a surprise if it cost a small fortune. I seriously have no idea how anyone can afford private school fees. 

She's going to a public school so we figured costs would be similar to primary school, but we were so wrong.

So far, we're looking at having to find at least three thousand dollars for fees, uniforms, books and a laptop. And that's not including the cost of camp and excursions. 

Most families are probably in the same boat as us, I wonder if they were more prepared for the cost? We really had no idea and are now scrambling around to find the money so our child has a seamless entry into high school. 

The last thing we want is for her to feel like her education is in any way causing us financial strain.

But it's so much money for us, and something we didn't prepare for, however, we can scrape together the cash. I imagine there would be so many who couldn't. 

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I knew there would be many families already struggling without having to find thousands of dollars, during the costly Christmas and summer holiday period.

I'd while I'm on the subject, wouldn't it be great if laptops were subsidised for school students? I don't know many families with thousands of dollars spare just sitting around. For many families like us, we are hustling every day just to pay our rent and put food on the table. 

So, I'm writing this article to give all parents out there with kids starting high school in future years a heads up. Don't be blindsided like us, start saving. Not all schools have payment plan options in place so it can be a bit of a shock.

We've decided to open a new bank account to make regular payments for school fees and other school related expenses for our three kids so we don't find ourselves in this same predicament again.

We figure if we save a little bit each week that we'll have the money when we need it to buy more computers, pay for expensive school camps and get school supplies. It'll take a little pressure off us. 

This financial surprise would have been a whole lot less stressful if we were better prepared and I applaud all the parents out there who have already pre-planned and saved ahead of time. You're amazing and we definitely need some tips.