Saving for education requires careful planning


Giving your children access to a good education is one of the best ways to help them achieve future financial freedom. And although every parent wishes this for their children, providing for your children’s education can feel like a burden. In this tough economic environment, with the cost of school fees, uniforms, books, transport and excursions going up, it can all become overwhelming.

However, there are many practical things you can do to be able to afford a decent education for your children (or even yourself, if you are keen to study further).  

It starts with sticking to a monthly budget


Drawing up a budget helps you to know exactly how much money you get each month and how much you spend and makes it easier to plan for big expenses like school fees. Here are a few tips on how to budget:

  • Keep track of your spending by keeping all your receipts or statements, so that you can monitor your actual expenses versus your budgeted expenses carefully.

  • Be realistic about your expenses and live within your means. The more realistic you are about each expense, the more likely it is that you will stick to your budget.

  • Differentiate between your needs (important things like food and rent) and wants (less important things like eating out) and eliminate wasteful spending.

  • Include saving for education as an expense in your budget (for example, set up a separate savings account into which you deposit money every month).

  • Do not become a victim of instant gratification – don’t buy items on the spur of the moment that you have not budgeted for.

  • Cut out unhealthy habits like drinking or smoking – and add what you save on these expenses to your education fund.

  • Pay off any credit cards in full whenever you can afford to, to save on interest.

  • Review your budget regularly, paying special attention to any unnecessary expenses that you can rather redirect to saving towards education.

  • If you are struggling to stick to your budget, pay cash for small expenses to help you become more conscious of your spending.

Start saving for your children’s education when they are born


The earlier you start, the longer you will save, and the more you can benefit from compound interest. Even a small amount can grow extensively if it has enough time. If you start later, you will have to save more each month to ensure you save enough by the time your children go to school. To make the most of your savings, consider the following:

  • Take advantage of tax-efficient savings options such as unit trusts, tax-free savings accounts, education policies and fixed deposits.

  • Instead of buying your children expensive gifts for their birthdays, Christmas or other events, contribute to an education savings plan. Encourage their grandparents, godparents and other family members to do the same.

Look out for bursaries or scholarships to help cover the costs


If you’re paying for your own studies as well as your children’s, and you haven’t made specific provision to fund your own studies, you can explore alternative funding and savings options:

  • Find out if your employer offers study bursaries that you can apply for.

  • Apply for a scholarship at the place of tuition – most tertiary institutions offer a variety of scholarships.

  • Find out whether there are scholarships and bursaries available for your children.

If you are in financial distress, consider taking drastic action


  • If you are living beyond your means and spending more than you earn, start cutting down on expenses immediately. Living beyond your means is the perfect recipe for spiralling into financial disaster, so take whatever action you need to – it will be worth it in the long term.

  • See if you can move into cheaper accommodation or sell your car and buy a smaller one.

  • Consider postponing your studies and starting them again once your financial situation has stabilised.

A comprehensive personal financial plan can give you peace of mind


A financial plan helps you see the bigger picture and enables you to plan for both your short- and long-term goals, including saving for education. It helps you make informed decisions about your money that support your goals for yourself and your family.

If you’re not a client yet and want to find out more about how we can help you plan for your children’s future, we would love to hear from you. Please complete our online contact form, and one of our consultants will call you back.