Budgeting For Your Child

Set goals and plan financially for your child’s year

When last did you have a look at your family budget? A New Year can be a great time to overhaul the budget, set new financial goals and find ways to save.


Raising a child is a serious financial commitment. It may seem daunting, but it’s definitely a journey worth taking. The good news is that you’ll do it one year at a time – and you can plan, budget and cut costs to save.

Household Budget First

If you don’t already have a set household budget, prepare one. Consider your income and expenses like your bond, car payments, water and electricity, school fees, planned savings, retirement savings, credit card and other loan repayments and living expenses. Once you have an idea of how much you have available for general expenses, you can drill this down to include payments that you will need to make for your child/ren through the year.

Babies and Toddlers

  • For babies, consider clothing for the change in the seasons. For significant savings, buy at the end-of-season sales for the next season
  • If you are going back to work, consider childcare costs that need to be factored into the new budget
  • Increase your monthly amount for baby consumables as prices increase. A baby can use 1800 to 2000 disposable nappies in his or her first year
  • Plan for your child’s first birthday – a special occasion for the family
  • Budget for any additional toys that need to be purchased as your baby outgrows his or her baby toys
  • If you don’t already have one, now is the time to consider an education plan for your child’s future and life insurance to ensure that if anything happens to you, that your family is taken care of

Preschool and Primary School Children

  • The first initial expenses for the year will be school uniforms and stationery for school-going children. Consider clothes for school, compulsory stationery or toiletry items that you need to supply and a school bag
  • In addition to school fees, have you budgeted for transport and aftercare for your child?
  • Plan a set monthly amount for your child’s tuck shop money (lunch and treats) and any small payments that you may need to make for school civvies days, outings and fund-raising days. Draw cash monthly and place it in an envelope. Allow any extra money to roll over to the following month when expenses may be higher. Consider tuck lunch once per week instead of everyday – this can be a significant savings
  • Relook at extra-murals. Overscheduling can be a huge strain on your pocket financially and it can put extreme pressure on a child. Sit down with your child and discuss the activities they enjoy or would rather stop for this year. Consider the cost of equipment for new activities or a new kit that may be required
  • Consider your child’s pocket money or allowance. If you are already paying an amount should this be increased? Everyone should contribute to chores etc. Help your child learn about earning money and savvy spending and saving.
  • Consider the month of your child’s birthday. Your expenses for a present and birthday party will be higher this month. Switch from the material gift mindset to those that make memories or new experiences
  • Consider the school year and your child’s grade. Some years are expensive than others, for example, a school camp in a certain grade
  • Plan for the school holidays. Even if you aren’t going away, you’ll need to consider childcare and activities to keep them busy


  • Increase pocket money. Older children can be given the task of purchasing a few of the own toiletry items, entertainment expenses or airtime with the money they receive. This gives them a good chance to learn to budget and save and learn the monetary value of goods
  • There may be additional levies to pay for certain subjects. These are over and above school fees payments
  • Your child may need a computer or tablet for school or a new cell phone. This can be a big expense so consider where you can accommodate this. A birthday gift may be a good option
  • Matric can also be a costly year for parents. Consider additional items of clothing that may need to be purchased for year. It’s also time for the Matric dance – so consider and budget for related expenses for attire, hair, nails and transport
  • If your child is in Grade 10 or 11 this year, start a ‘matric fund’ now. If your child is chosen as a prefect, you may need to pay for blazer braiding, training camps and additional clothing. Your matric fund can assist with these expenses
  • Teenagers 17 years and older quality to do their learner’s license. Budget for driving lessons. These can be anything from R300 to R450 per hour

Resources: www.discover.com; www.mint.com; www.equifax.co.uk; www.perspectives.scotiabank.com; www.babylist.com

Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

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Posted in: Family, Finance, Financial, Health
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