You would think I'd know that when the school year starts it means lots of expenses. Whether your child goes to a public or private school it costs money.
There are new clothes or uniforms and shoes. A new backpack. School supplies. In some cases there is a textbook or locker rental fee and a lock. Art supply fee. Field trip fee. Hot dog days. School pictures. The list just goes on and on.
I've put 3 children through the school system. But it's been a while. I just started to think about all the costs I've got coming up in the next couple of months and I'm feeling a little shell-shocked.
My youngest daughter starts full day kindergarten in the fall. This year she doesn't have to wear uniforms, although she's allowed to. When we went to the orientation back in January we were told most of the children don't start off with uniforms but by the end of the year they start creeping in. I'm trying to decide what to do. I don't want her to look or feel out of place but uniforms are frankly cheaper and easier. You don't waste time in the morning, you don't run around trying to find the tights that go with the skirt, or trying to match the hair scrunchie to the pattern on the blouse. Your child can dress herself and, no matter what combination she picks (skirt or tunic, blouse or turtleneck, short sleeves or long), she'll look good.
But I doubt that any of the other girls will start out in uniforms and she will be wearing them for the next 12 years. So, I think we're going to go with a middle of the road decision and get white tops and black, navy and white tights and let her wear them with a variety of skirts and jumper dresses. Then, if the other girls are starting to wear uniforms, she can get a couple of tunics but it's not a huge expenditure at that point.
Regardless, I have to buy her 2 pairs of shoes (and later on a pair of boots) because they're required to change into a pair of 'indoor shoes' in the classroom, plus a backpack and a lunchkit.
The school provides supplies but we have to pay a flat fee for them and I haven't gotten the bill yet.
So, I know what I have to do but I don't know how I'm going to pay for all this yet. And I have less than 2 months to do so. There are really 2 possibilities for coming up with the money. First, I'm still waiting for the retroactive payment of my Child Tax Benefit money from last year. Second, I'm going to be working full time for 3 weeks in August so I'll have a couple of larger than normal paycheques. So, one way or the other the money will be there, but it highlights the need to put away a little money every month for these costs next year.