The extra costs of education

Extra costs of education
Have you ever wondered what the extra costs of education are?
My son started grade one in 2015 and the journey I had travelled to that point, was actually the inspiration for starting my blog. I didn’t want other parents to struggle with the parenting realities that caught me off guard.
During the process of shortlisting schools, my biggest concern was the fees, as was the values and culture of each school. I was a single mom at the time and needed to be extra sure I would be able to afford his education. When it came to considering the fees, I purely looked at the annual fees as well as aftercare costs – but so many extra costs came flying in my direction!!!
Liberty is all about empowering parents, so I was pleased when they challenged me to share my experience with the extra costs of education, with parents who are currently or yet to walk this journey.

School Application and enrollment fees:

 Extra costs of education
The concept of putting your child on a waiting list at the so-called “best schools” while you are pregnant or just after they are born, was one which I was not aware of nor prepared for! Not only that, but the reality that I could not afford the hefty application fees that most schools expected to accompany each application, was a humbling one to say the least. I came across many schools that needed large deposits before I could even submit an application for my son and in many cases, his placement was not guaranteed. I was shocked and devastated. The average application/enrollment fee was R5000-R10,000.

Professional therapy:


 Extra costs of education Extra costs of education
In his very first term and year of primary school, I had a meeting with his teacher, who recommended that I get him assessed for speech therapy. Having spoken isiZulu exclusively for almost 4 years, his pronunciation of some of his English words needed improvement. Of course the assessments came back with a strong recommendation for speech therapy. At the time, it cost about R800 per month and he needed it for almost 2 years. I definitely saw the benefits thereof.
In addition to this, in that grade one year, I was told he needed occupational therapy, which I didn’t proceed with, due to affordability and my medical aid not covering it. I still wonder what he could have benefited from it.

Extra murals:

I’m grateful that my sons school offers a diverse range for free extra murals, such as cricket, soccer, chess and coding which he participates in. However, his talent and passion for soccer, meant that he needed additional professional classes to build and nurture the skill.
Both of my children have swimming as an extra mural – the oldest for fitness and skill and the youngest for safety. Drownings are the leading cause of death or injury in children under the age of five, so I see this as a non-negotiable.
Lastly, where extra murals are concerned, my son attends reading therapy once a week. Initially, it was an activity to supplement the speech therapy; however the level of confidence it gave him and the direct correlation we saw in this academic results, led to us deciding that it would be worthwhile for him to carry on, despite the speech therapy coming to an end. Reading is an important skill that is needed for every single subject at school.
Combined, our costs come to about R2250 per month.

Tutors and extra support:

As a working mom, juggling the corporate life and parenting doesn’t come easy for me. When it comes to homework, my son is quite disciplined (we’ve come a long way). He gets home from school and does as much as he can, then leaves out the sections where he needs my guidance. My work schedule for each day looks very different and I’m not always able to be home before 6pm to support him with the extra projects, cycle tests and exams that are continuously on the go.
Accepting that I needed help, in the form of a tutor, was a big step for me. However, sitting up with him til late at night to finish school stuff was making both of us very miserable. With limited resources to help with school work, with my husband working in a different province, I really didn’t have much of a choice here. The peace of mind of having a tutor has been great, but it comes at a cost that I’ve had to budget carefully for. Depending on his academic calendar for each month, the cost ranges from R300-R800 per month.

So how do we prepare for the extra costs of education?

  • Prior to enrolling your child at a school, attend the schools open day and ask as many questions as you can, such as the cost of extra murals and educational support like extra lessons.
  • As soon as you are able to, get yourself a financial adviser, who will guide you on various savings and investment options for your child’s education. You can read about my experience with a financial adviser here.
  • Limit your child to a few extra murals to avoid cost build-up.


Giveaway – WIN with Liberty:

The extra costs of education may throw you off completely, as it did me, however I hope this post prepares and gives you an idea of some of the extra costs of education.
Together with Liberty, I am giving away an amazing hamper which includes:
  • a children’s lunch recipe book
  • a really lunch box and a
  • Liberty sports bag
To enter, leave me a comment, telling me what your extra costs of education are. Would love to hear from you!
Full T’s and C’s are available on this website and will apply. Giveaway will close on 22 February 2019.
Good luck!
Modern Zulu Mom

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  1. Wow thank you so much for this post. My son just started pre-school this year, i didnt know that these so many extra things a parent must always consider. I have been trying to enroll him for swimming lesson but unfortunately the place that provides them only does them during the week, and well my schedule during the week is very tight. Thank you so much for the educational blog.

  2. The extra costs honestly frustrate me! Awesome post.
    My son has OT which sets me back R1880 a month (if I don’t consult with the therapist as that’s an extra R380), my daughter has weekly speech therapy which is R1600 a month.
    Since it’s the beginning of the year, they’ve signed up for paid extra murals, termly fees aren’t bad but in January we pay annual registration, that set me back R780 between my two babies and then the term fees came to R2620. I hope they don’t opt for anymore:)

    1. Shu Pali, I feel you girl. Before I was informed that my son would need speech therapy, I hadnt considered it as part of my monthly expenses. All the best with the extra interventions this year, I must say, they are beneficial.

  3. Extra mural activities for Nolo who is 4years old alone is a lot. I realized last month that we are going to spend more after paying her school fees. at first I didn’t want her to do extra mural activities at school as I thought she’s fine but in Jan all the different activities were presented to them and each day she was filled with excitement. already we had swimming lesson t the gym which was once a week on Saturday and this year we changed it to twice a week during the week. that is on Tuesdays and Thursday. Because the other kids are doing the extra mural activities and she loves some of them, the first week after that she didn’t attend but came home talking about the other kids attending. Luckily her school only allows two activities per child. We finally allowed her to do baking on Mondays for R400pm and play ball for R350 per month. her gym budget is R1030pm (Gym membership at R230 & R800) which sets us at a total of R1780pm on extra mural activities.

    Weekends she wants to be entertained and we always budget for that including those holidays which she visits granny. they always call for money regardless of how much you’ve given them.

    Our kids budget is costly and indeed it’s advisable for us to spend while saving for their future correctly. This year I bought her a money box to teach and cultivate the culture of saving money for her. We also have a box for saving our sunday church money for offering, we don’t touch that during the week unless we putting in money for sunday.

    1. Oh Moshala, I love the money box idea! It’s really important for us to pass on these critical life lessons. The costs really do add up hey! PS. Baking sounds sooo cute, I can only imagine the cute and yummy stuff she will be preparing for you.

  4. I have 2boys that goes school Grade4&5 .Then its my twin girls going to pre-school in boys have extra mural, extra activities like music ect.its a struggle but your post help me alot and love it ..inspiring too.

  5. Love your blog and how I can relate it to; we have recently moved our son to a new school and the fees have are more than double what we were paying before including after care; then there is swimming that he has been doing for about 3 years now and that is R 530.00 with chess and Phyzz Ed R 380.00 together(he wanted to do more but I had to curb it at two due to costs). He went for an assessment last week and I am anticipating that he will either need speech/occupation therapy meaning more money being spent. We do what we can to afford them the best

  6. Thank you for the post, very informative. My child is currently too young to attend school, however, I see great benefit in parents preparing themselves by saving for a child’s education from as early as possible. I have read numerous articles which indicate that in South Africa, the inflation on education costs exceeds inflation on other goods and services (scary!!). So I think it’s a great idea for us to stay informed so that we can make beneficial long term financial decisions.

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