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Save to buy a house or change schools and pay fees


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#1 ~ river song ~

Posted 17 February 2017 - 09:57 PM

Bear with me it's complex.

I have three children.

DS is in grade 1 at a catholic school 20 mins away. It's big, lots of kids which he doesn't really like about it. Is in reading recovery and it's battered his confidence a bit. Otherwise pretty settled but he catches bus to and from which is about 30 mins each way. Fair hike when you're 6. Nice school, my extended family have kids there too (not always a good thing) School fees this year just under $4000

DD1 has just started kindergarten at the local public school (for a variety of reasons mostly that we changed our minds last minute this year and enrolled her. She will be 5 in early May. Settling in ok, bright kid. Again big school - she often says it's noisy and too many kids like her brother does. School seems ok, no major dramas we live semi rural I suppose and no complaints overall in the community of the school. Minimal school fees - voluntary contribution  plus the extra bits like excursions

DD2 is a baby in FDC 3 days a week while I'm at work.

We rent where we are and will be for awhile longer while we attempt to buy something where we are (1-1.5hr out of Sydney but prices still nuts). We have been here nearly a year after our last house sold from under us :( I'm desperate to buy but saving and renting plus raising a family it's hard slog. No family help for a deposit.

1km from our house is another catholic school which has just over 100 kids. Lovely staff and I like their teaching style and classroom management from what I observed. I'd like to ideally move both kids there resulting in fees then close to $6000 plus uniforms etc and FDC costs which will put us over $10K p.a.

So do I put $6000 toward our house deposit and send them to the public school or consider that $6000 an investment in their education and especially their social and pastoral care needs by sending them to the close by catholic school.

I'm going out of my brain trying to decide what to do. Especially in case we make the move and this house gets sold or we have to move and can't find another nearby...
Basically money for fees would be taken from what would be house savings...so what's more important?

Help wise ones

Edited by ~ river song ~, 17 February 2017 - 10:01 PM.


#2 mother of teen

Posted 17 February 2017 - 10:12 PM

Honestly, if the school your daughter is in atm is nice, I'd put your son there and save, save, save.  I'm not anti-private school, but it seems you are generally happy with the public school, so I see no reason not to use it.

#3 LUV-MY-KIDS

Posted 17 February 2017 - 10:32 PM

Just on the smaller school, that would be 1 class per year group.  It means all kids in the grade are together for 7 years, it gives them not much choice in friends and then also not much of a chance to avoid kids they don't get on with.

Our school has gone from 2 classes each year to 3 and I much prefer it as gives much more choice in who is in their class and the teacher they get.  Small is not always what is best.  

To me I wouldn't sacrifice home ownership for private school fees unless local public was something I wouldn't even consider putting the kids in.  If there is not a lot of difference then I'd go public.

#4 Cheerful Prancer

Posted 17 February 2017 - 10:33 PM

It would depend a little on how long before I thought I could buy.  But to me it does not sound like DS will be happy at DDs public school and while secure housing is important, so is social and pastoral.  I see a lot of value being so close, not catching the bus etc.

Is $6k, pa, going to make a difference of 1 year or 10 years getting you into your own place?

#5 little lion

Posted 17 February 2017 - 10:56 PM

Ideally I'd prefer to buy a house in a cheaper area and send the kids to the local public school. I realise this might not be an option though.

#6 lizzzard

Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:17 PM

I would generally err on the side of minimising change required to have all kids in one school that you're pretty happy with- hence, I'd probably go with putting your DS into the same public school as your DD. I'd then  reassess in a few years when your littlest one is ready to start school, whether to move them all to the smaller Catholic school. I also like small schools (ours are in a very small school now) but there are pros and cons to small and big so that alone wouldn't necessarily sway the decision for me. The financial upside would be a nice bonus if they both go to the public school, but also not the deciding factor for me personally.

Edited by lizzzard, 17 February 2017 - 11:39 PM.


#7 jayskette

Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:32 PM

how significant a deposit boost is the 6k? what are house prices like in your area?

#8 SeaPrincess

Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:48 PM

I pulled my eldest out of a catholic primary school because social and pastoral care were non-existent. We've been very happy with our local public school.

#9 c.sanders

Posted 18 February 2017 - 12:03 AM

I would use the money to buy a house and keep looking for a public school that might fit better. Over the years that money will add up.  Just doesn't seem wise. I went to a Catholic school and my friends too. I also spent time in public schools in primary. It just didn't make a real difference and I don't see that my friends in private schools (catholic, Islamic etc) have done particularly well or quite successfully overall. Unless there was a specific reason I would not bother.

#10 Morally Bankrupt

Posted 18 February 2017 - 05:35 AM

With me it would depend if the $6k would actually  be a genuine help towards the deposit or just a drop in the ocean.

So if house prices were low enough for the $6k to make a significant difference then yes, we would go public and use for a deposit.

But if the average house price was $1.5 mil, and the $6k wouldn't be much use for a deposit but would provide a great education, then I would use it for that instead.

#11 ~ river song ~

Posted 18 February 2017 - 06:26 AM

View Postjayskette, on 17 February 2017 - 11:32 PM, said:

how significant a deposit boost is the 6k? what are house prices like in your area?

We're going to need a minimum of about $25K as we are planning to build and buy further out where land prices will allow us to avoid stamp duty. But that's $6K every year for 6yrs at least, probably more as fees rise each year a bit.

#12 ~ river song ~

Posted 18 February 2017 - 06:46 AM

View PostCheerful Prancer, on 17 February 2017 - 10:33 PM, said:

It would depend a little on how long before I thought I could buy.  But to me it does not sound like DS will be happy at DDs public school and while secure housing is important, so is social and pastoral.  I see a lot of value being so close, not catching the bus etc.

Is $6k, pa, going to make a difference of 1 year or 10 years getting you into your own place?

Yes DS I'm not sure if the local public would be the best place for him. He's a fairly sensitive and quite kid. I don't want his reading to fall further behind either. That's a main issue at the moment too.

#13 SugarplumSnoozyfig

Posted 18 February 2017 - 06:48 AM

View Post~ river song ~, on 17 February 2017 - 09:57 PM, said:

Bear with me it's complex.

I have three children.

DS is in grade 1 at a catholic school 20 mins away. It's big, lots of kids which he doesn't really like about it. Is in reading recovery and it's battered his confidence a bit. Otherwise pretty settled but he catches bus to and from which is about 30 mins each way. Fair hike when you're 6. Nice school, my extended family have kids there too (not always a good thing) School fees this year just under $4000

DD1 has just started kindergarten at the local public school (for a variety of reasons mostly that we changed our minds last minute this year and enrolled her. She will be 5 in early May. Settling in ok, bright kid. Again big school - she often says it's noisy and too many kids like her brother does. School seems ok, no major dramas we live semi rural I suppose and no complaints overall in the community of the school. Minimal school fees - voluntary contribution  plus the extra bits like excursions

DD2 is a baby in FDC 3 days a week while I'm at work.

We rent where we are and will be for awhile longer while we attempt to buy something where we are (1-1.5hr out of Sydney but prices still nuts). We have been here nearly a year after our last house sold from under us :( I'm desperate to buy but saving and renting plus raising a family it's hard slog. No family help for a deposit.

1km from our house is another catholic school which has just over 100 kids. Lovely staff and I like their teaching style and classroom management from what I observed. I'd like to ideally move both kids there resulting in fees then close to $6000 plus uniforms etc and FDC costs which will put us over $10K p.a.

So do I put $6000 toward our house deposit and send them to the public school or consider that $6000 an investment in their education and especially their social and pastoral care needs by sending them to the close by catholic school.

I'm going out of my brain trying to decide what to do. Especially in case we make the move and this house gets sold or we have to move and can't find another nearby...
Basically money for fees would be taken from what would be house savings...so what's more important?

Help wise ones
if there is nothing wrong with the school your daughter is in then go there. When I considered a school, I took into consideration the local public high school, which is terrible here, so I chose the local catholic school so we can then be considered for the local high school (if that makes sense). Also chose the catholic school because it makes it easier overall to get them confirmed and have communion etc..

Edited by SugarplumSnoozyfig, 18 February 2017 - 06:49 AM.


#14 laridae

Posted 18 February 2017 - 06:52 AM

Your already paying 4K, so 6k isn't actually that much more. So it's actually a cheaper school than what your ds goes to now?
How far off until dd2 goes to school? It'll be an extra $3k I guess then, but you'll save a lot not using daycare any more.
It sound like it make sense to move you DS either way. Either to the public or close catholic.


#15 blimkybill

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:08 AM

Personally I would stick with the local public for both and save the money. $3k for each child per year adds up to more than $60000 over their primary school years. Buying a house is important to me so I would prioritise that. Especially as you have no genuine problems with this school.

#16 halcyondays

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:11 AM

My income is scalable, so while the school fees are a big deal now, I know I can always work more to earn more if needed. I also can work into my 70s if I stay well.
However, in your case, I would move all to the public and save like mad to get a deposit together. If they are unhappy, you can always move to the private school later.
My youngest goes to a very small school and still complains of the noise. 30 kids on a basketball court or in a music lesson is still a lot of noise when they have only been used to fdc.

#17 Silverstreak

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:23 AM

Yep, I would move your DS to the public school and put any extra towards the deposit.

#18 ~ river song ~

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:48 AM

View Postlaridae, on 18 February 2017 - 06:52 AM, said:

Your already paying 4K, so 6k isn't actually that much more. So it's actually a cheaper school than what your ds goes to now?
How far off until dd2 goes to school? It'll be an extra $3k I guess then, but you'll save a lot not using daycare any more.
It sound like it make sense to move you DS either way. Either to the public or close catholic.

She's 8 months so a while yet.



#19 born.a.girl

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:54 AM

It's so hard when each decision seems, in isolation, to be the right one, but you have to choose one, and keep vacillating.

I'd be putting the money towards a deposit if I were you.  I do think prioritising home ownership over school fees (provided you are going to get a half decent school) is the right decision.

I say that as someone who chose private at the end of year three due to serious issues at the state school - but it meant at retirement we pretty much owed the same on our mortgage as when we started her there.   We couldn't have done that with two.

Good luck with the decision.

#20 Agnetha

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:55 AM

I would probably move them  all to the local primary school. I suppose it also depends on why you chose the bigger catholic school In the first place.

#21 ~ river song ~

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:55 AM

The difference will be us saving $700 a fortnight or $1000 a fortnight for our house.

#22 ~ river song ~

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:57 AM

View PostAgnetha, on 18 February 2017 - 07:55 AM, said:

I would probably move them  all to the local primary school. I suppose it also depends on why you chose the bigger catholic school In the first place.

He was going to a local public then during the 2016 summer holidays our house went up for sale by the owner. We knew finding another rental in that suburb would be nearly impossible so chose the bigger catholic as their are buses from far and wide get there so it gave us greater flexibility with finding another rental at the time. That local public was excellent and I'm still p*ssed off we had to move

#23 IamzFeralz

Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:58 AM

For me, the house deposit would be more important and I would go public.

If you are going to move at some point anyway due to buying a house then you can research ahead of time where you would like to move to, based on the schools in that area.

For your DS, maybe get some targeted reading tuition for a few weeks to get his confidence up?

#24 teaspoon

Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:03 AM

I'd buy two things.

A house ... and Reading eggs for your son :-)

Unless it's a simply awful place, I reckon schools are schools are schools. There'll always be upsides and downsides to any school.

#25 nasty roses

Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:26 AM

Please forgive me for suggesting this if it's not an option, but do you need to live where you do for work/family etc?

My experience of living regionally (not tiny town or backwater) is that housing costs are much, Koch cheaper, and - pick the right place - and there can be both excellent schooling and employment options.

I realise it's not for everyone, but it'a worth at least eliminating as an option.




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