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Discussion Starter #1
:ugh:

I'm about to blow a blood vessel or two on this.

Both of my kids will be in school all day long starting in August. DS5 starts first grade in mid-August. DS10 will start sixth grade in early September. Therefore, I have to plan now for what we'll incur for school fees in those two months.

Not to mention that both kids have birthdays in those two months (and a niece/nephew being born in September to buy lovely things for).

So I figure that with May 1st coming up, that gives me three months to plan. Right? I wish. :( My life is so busy all of the time, I mean, who really has time to plan that far ahead? If I could wave a magic wand and stop time, then sure I'd be ok. But I'm not and this is freaking me out.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that while we do have some extra money coming up (a large payment to us in July for a tax credit, two months of no school lunch checks to put into savings, my pension being free to use for whatever, etc.), we're in limbo with a lot of things. Our property tax bill hasn't arrived yet and we're not sure if we're paying more this year even with our assessment being $40k lower. We switched car insurances the other day and are in the process of cancelling one to go to the other, but I'm not sure if they're going to stop payment on the policy and not take the money out on the 1st or not with the old policy. We also have plans to start the garden outfront and the costs associated with that.

I guess what I can do is add up the fees from last year and then tack on the extra $200 for the lunch room fee that DS5 will need paid. We already have two schools to pay fees to, then there's also the bus transit fee that DS10 needs paid. DS5 lives two blocks from school, so there's no need for a bus fee there. We also have school supplies for at least DS5, but I'm not sure when I'll get the list for those. We then have the school clothes fund that we get their stuff out of...

See what I mean?

Ahh!

How does everyone else do it? How do you plan ahead and then budget in?
 

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At our school, there will be no school lists for the parents for SY2009-2010. As a staff, we decided that the economic times are making it so tough for so many families here, that we would do what we could to reduce the stress. (Families usually end up spending aoubt $100 for each child for school supplies.) We will be taking the basic needs of our students off the top of the school budget. Hopefully this will help the families and the students' self esteem.

As far as our family goes - I really don't know how we are going to deal with next year. DD is going to grad school for four years starting in August. We still need to talk with her about definite figures. I refuse to lose sleep over it and want to treat it as a factual rather than emotional issue.

Good luck with this. I'm interested in seeing what others have to offer for ideas!!
 
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My DD is only 19 months old and I am already feeling similar pressure. She goes to MDO 3 days a week for interaction. (As an only child I had issues interacting with other kids, so I refuse to let it delay her any.) That's $155 a month, but even though she goes now we still have to pay a registration fee for next year anyway. Also, she is going to take a "Creative Movement" class (dance class for little kids who won't remember stuff from week to week) and I have to register her in June and pay their fee for her to be enrolled for Fall.

The doozie come here...she will go to 3 year old preschool in the Fall of 2010 at our Church Preschool. We have to tithe $300 this calendar year or have that tacked on to our registration fees when we enroll her next spring.

I don't see how mom's of more that one kid keep up with this stuff. Not only do you have to make sure you have the money, you have to pursue the information and they make all these crazy deadlines. Eeek!! I get nervous just thinking about it all!!

I would love some advice, too!
 

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It does all work out - comes down to choices - which isn't a bad thing to do anyway. There are a lot of parents who want their children to come to my preschool, but it's only for children with disabilities - free through the DOE.

The preschool years are tough for parents - sooo expensive - here it's running about $450-500 per month - ugh.
 

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It is very expensive! I have two boys! I was lucky enough when they were in preschool to find a free one! They both went, and it was a great program! As far as elementary school...It does run about 50-100 just for supplies alone for each kid. Then the new school clothes and shoes on top of it. I guess it wouldn't hurt for me to start putting some money aside now...I usually just charge it all and deal with it later...but I am trying to break that cycle. Also in my children's school, if you are having a hard time making ends meet and need it..they have what is called the "backpack program" and the school will supply your child with a brand new free back pack, filled with school supplies...it may not be everything your child needs for the year...but it gets a good chunk out of the way. I have participated in this program the last two years and it's wonderful!
 

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We have never had any help available to us as we are always in the mid range of things. I do find garage sales greatly helpful w/ school clothes and supplies. I keep 2 tubs w/ folders,pens,paper.. the basics. It helps me spread that part out. We're doing a senior year and the cost will kill you. Senior prom,senior all night party,homecoming,senior pictures,homecoming pictures,prom pictures,senior picnic. We said no to senior break trips. We also made her renew her permit because she can't find a job and to insure her is $1000. xtra. Same with my son. Permit only w/o job. My daughter will have to take her serve safe test and that will cost $300-$400. Uniforms this year were $100. Thank Goodness neither one does sports. For the first few months of school I figure $500. start up not incl. clothes and then I put $100. in the budget for the next 4 months. It has not even been close enough this year. Tuition for college will break us come August.
I may have to drive my daughter to college this fall everyday. We currently have only one car for 4 people. Not sure how thats all going to work.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah it'll get easier for us when DS10 turns 15 because the sponsorship thing will end (it was a requirement for DH to sponsor DS10 and myself to come live in Canada as a permanent resident - the length of time that we can't ask for government assistance is about 10 years for DS under the age of 18) and he'll be able to apply for disability funds. We'll be able to tack that into savings and help out, but we need to look at the present time.

It's crazy! I have some paper and notebooks plus I pick up the other stuff when it's on clearance, but it would be nice to have a list now as opposed to June or July.

We budgeted in about $200 per child for clothes, coats, boots, etc but spent way less than that last year. Both kids have a good winter coat still and there are lots of backpacks around the house. They always get a set of mittens, a couple hats, a neckwarmer, etc and two pairs of shoes a piece for school. I try to get all of their clothes on clearance and I did that last year, did pretty well in the pants and shirts department.

I guess what I can do is stick with the $200 per kid budget, $200 for the lunch room fee, $165 for the bus fee and then $100 for school supplies that I still need to get. I'll then take a look at the fees from last year and put them in, then adjust if I need to. It's still a royal pain in the butt because I don't want to scramble for the fees at the last minute. If I budget too small, I'll need to look in other areas for that. If I budget too large, I might stress out other areas of the budget.
 

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Next year my youngest starts grade 1 too. That means I have 4 in school!

I'm not sure what ds 15 will need in terms of school fees, this year it was $180 - supplies are basic, calculator, pens, papers, binders, dividers. Bus $43/mo

DD12 starts Jr. High - $225 for first year, gym uniform and supplies as above. Bus $43/mo

DD10 and DD5 will be $100 each, and about $60 is supplies. Bus is $54/both. I send post dated checks for the elementary.

For the fees above, as well as clothing, I estimate how much they'll need, divide by 12 and deposit that each month. I do this with other irregular bills. Campsite, sport fees, registration, car repair fund. etc.

I don't do a September shop for clothes. They might get 1 outfit, but usually they don't need much at any one point during the year. We replace as they outgrow or wear out. They get an outfit or two at Christmas, a few spring items at Easter. Then we garage sale for the rest..lol.

What are your boys school fees like in Calgary?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
They both pay about between $50 and $100 in fees, not including busing or anything. The school fees for DS10 takes care of all supplies and we pay $50/mo for his lunch program (he eats a ton too!). The school fees for DS5 covers partial subsidy for school activities like swimming, field trips, etc.

I'm sure there's way more stuff that a 1st grader does than someone in Kindergarten and I don't want DS5 to miss out on things.
 

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I wish we had a good lunch program. But there's nothing for that.

One thing to think about is field trips. Our school no longer subsidizes them due to the fact that no one wants to do fundraising. I budget $40/mo for that. Sometimes it's used, sometimes not, but I still but it aside. We had one month is wast $150! Between 2 kids though. But STILL. So we budget and set that aside to use. It's rare that I need $400 in fieldtrip money in a year, but with 4 kids you never know.
 

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i would do a sinking fund/freedom account for these expenses every year.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah that's on our plan list but cutting out half of the debt was first on the list. Now that I have extra cash floating around each month, it'll go into the savings account and I'll pull from that for the slush fund.
 

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what is a lunch room fee? DO they have to pay to sit in the cafeteria or is that like lunch money? I teach in a private school and Have never heard of that. Could you pack lunches for them yourself to save money? My lunch is less than a dollar a day.

Also, would it be cheaper to drive your son to school or pay the bus fee? I'm not sure how that works either since buses are free here for public school and my private school doesn't offer a bus.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
what is a lunch room fee? DO they have to pay to sit in the cafeteria or is that like lunch money? I teach in a private school and Have never heard of that. Could you pack lunches for them yourself to save money? My lunch is less than a dollar a day.

Also, would it be cheaper to drive your son to school or pay the bus fee? I'm not sure how that works either since buses are free here for public school and my private school doesn't offer a bus.

The lunch room fee is basically a supervision fee. I can have him come home for lunch but if I want to go back to work, that wouldn't work out so well for us. I'd pack his lunches for him and then it would enable him to eat lunch at school with his friends, thus giving me a large block of uninterrupted time to either go to appointments or the gym or even clean the house without the kids around.

We have one vehicle in the house and I have no license. For me to get my license, I'd be looking at about $200/mo to insure myself (I haven't had a license in about seven years and have no driving record in Canada, so I'd be higher to insure). DH goes to work at 7am or earlier and doesn't come home until 5:00 or even later (some days are earlier, some days are later). DS10's school is way too far to walk him and there's no one around who goes to his school (it's a special education program school for his disability and there's only four of them in the entire city).
 

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I feel your pain. I do my budget for the entire year so most of her school fees are factored into my budget ahead of time (tuition, school lunches, summer camp, etc.). However, I don't put new uniform clothes in the budget because I never know when she is going to need something new. And it always ends up that she needs things at the same time.......lol. I had to buy her new pants a couple months ago because hers were floods, new shoes because hers were falling apart, last week I had to buy new shorts because hers were too short, and now she needs a new skirt.........UGH! My Mom buys most of her school clothes and a new backpack in the Fall and then I just supplement throughout the school year so I'm lucky in that regard.

I don't put school supplies in the budget, but I probably should. Also, little fees always pop up. Like recently I paid $18 to get one of her books "published", there is a gold camp fee (mandatory class trip) of $123 in May, I have to pay $7 for a speech competition she's in next month, I have to donate chocolate bars for a school event, etc. All of these little things add up. I probably should set aside a "school fund" for these items, but it's hard when you don't know when they will come up and how much they will be.
 

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I can't believe they charge you a fee to have your kid eat lunch at school!?!?!? That sounds crazy to me! I totally understand not wanting him to leave and go back. Besides being inconvenient it also disrupts his day and would get him out of "school mode." We actually frown on parents taking their kids out of school at lunch at my school... they usually bring them back late lol
 

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I am reading this thread and feeling very lucky! I assume most of you must have your kids in private school? I think it's crazy for a school to charge you a fee for your child to sit in the lunchroom. Lunch is part of the school day and should be treated as such. For a school to charge you for supervision of your child is just nuts!

My kids don't have alot of fees maybe because they are in public school. Our school supply lists are just basic. They need notebooks, binders, loose leaf paper, pens, pencils. When they were younger(they are 13 and almost 17 now) they needed things like crayons, markers, scissors, etc. I hit Walmart or Kmart when they have the back to school sales and stock up. I buy a case of notebooks, lots of loose leaf paper, etc. If we run out, I buy at Dollar General. I don't keep track but I probably don't spend more than 50.00 or 60.00 for all the supplies they need for an entire year.

I buy very few new back to school clothes. My mom volunteers in a thrift store and gets great, name brand stuff there half price. My kids have tons of clothes and I don't have to spend a dime for them! My sister only wears expensive name brands and only for one season so she passes everything down to my dd. I bet my dd owns 50 pairs of name brand jeans right now! I usually allow her to buy a couple of new things, but the girl is a bargain shopper so I don't spend more than 25.00 on her usually.

Ds is very tall and very skinny and there is only one brand of jeans that fit him well. They run 18.00 a pair. When it's time to start school he wears the ones from the previous year if he hasn't outgrown them. If he needs new ones then I buy him usually three pairs. I supplement them with camo pants I find at the Dollar General or at thrift stores. I do have to buy him new shirts at times since he tends to outgrow them lengthwise. I hit the stores and look for marked down t-shirts. I can usually get him t-shirt for under 4.00 each. Twice this year a store in our town has had plain dark colored t-shirts for 1.25 each!

Dd rarely wears tennis shoes and she has three pairs here that she has had forever and they still look new. She wears flip flops to school in the spring and fall. In winter she wears clogs or maybe they call them mules? At MOST I spend 15.00 on her for shoes all year.

Ds gets a new pair of tennis shoes as he needs them. I allow no more than 40.00 for a pair and thankfully he is in the same size as dh right now so as he outgrows them dh can wear them. Otherwise we pass them down to my nephew. He normally wears boots and my parents usually get him a new pair for Christmas. I MIGHT spend 80.00 a year on shoes for him if he outgrows tennis shoes in a year.

School lunch is 1.45 for each of them per day. They bill us at the end of the month. My kids eat at school about 90% of the time this year.

Other fees we have are......

Yearbooks - 40.00 for ds and 50.00 for dd
Field trips - we are only required to send spending money
School carnival for ds - 8.00 (and I usually end up paying for my nephews too so that's an extra 16.00)

In the last two years we have had these expenses for dd in high school

Class ring - I think it was 180.00 can't remember for sure
Letterman's jacket - she earned this for academics, taking honors and advanced classes and being on the honor roll 300.00 I think can't remember. The class ring was her birthday present that year and the letterman's jacket was her big Christmas gift

Prom ticket - 10.00
Prom dresses - this is her first year going and I bought two beautiful used dresses for a total of 16.95 plus 12.00 to have one altered. The one she finally decided to wear was free
Prom shoes - 3.00 on clearance at Walmart
Prom jewerly - 13.00
Prom wrap - 15.99
Stuff to do nails for the prom - around 10.00
She isn't getting the official prom pictures done since she is going alone. We are taking pictures here and then again when we get her to the prom. She is taking her camera to take pictures too. We will have some fees with developing them, but I will set a limit and she will be required to pay anything after that limit. Her aunt is doing her hair for free!

Next year she will be a senior and I know we will have some expense with that. She will have to order a cap and gown and announcements. Each year I take really nice pictures of the kids with my digital camera and she has said that she wants me to take her senior pics. My sister also has a really fancy camera with the different lenses and she has offered to do them also so hopefully the only expense will be in the developing. The after graduation party is free to the seniors. There will be no senior trip that I know of. Some expense with the prom but we will not go overboard. I am just in shock at the amount people are paying for the prom here this year. A mom told me this morning that she has spent over 1000.00 for the prom and her dd is only a sophomore. This isn't even HER prom! She's going with a junior or senior!

I am very blessed to have thrifty kids. My dd would pass out if someone suggested she buy a 400.00 prom dress. When she found out that my friend paid 500.00 for her dd's senior pics this year she had a fit LOL. They have always worn second hand clothes and are two of the best dressed kids in school. They both LOVE thrift stores and yard sales. So that combined with public school maybe keeps my fees down?

I don't really do a budget. Around the first of August I have them go through their clothes and try them on. Then we see what they need from there. I start watching for sales, clearance racks, etc. If they need something expensive(like ds's boots) we try to wait for Christmas or a birthday to get them. I work during the summer so we have extra money just when we need it for the supplies,etc.
 

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We homeschool so the financial pressures are different because we have choices but still there because we are responsible for it ALL. It has helped us a great deal to write education in as a line in our budget and we have a cash envelope for it. Some weeks/months we don't spend much of it but others we will have to dip in and spend it all for a resource we need so its nice to have the leftover cash still in the envelope from earlier times. Sometimes we decide we want something expensive (for example we want Wii Fit for PE when the weather doesn't permit us outside and we are in between sports seasons) and we trim way back on the extras, like going to the children's theater productions at the local college, to save up for it.

I would also suggest talking to your child's teacher. When I taught ps I was happy to let parents know what items were essential for MY classroom (we had a school list and I had to put items on my list that OTHER teachers found "necessary"). I had no problem telling people that disposable cameras weren't a necessity. :rolleyes:
 
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I am reading this thread and feeling very lucky! I assume most of you must have your kids in private school? I think it's crazy for a school to charge you a fee for your child to sit in the lunchroom. Lunch is part of the school day and should be treated as such. For a school to charge you for supervision of your child is just nuts!
I'm not in Calgary, but not far away, and in the public elementary schools here in this city, it is expected the kids can go home for lunch and must pay for the privilege of staying at school. The school ds went to did this because they hired people to supervise lunch hour, the teachers didn't do it. But that was the only fee besides field trips we had to pay.

My girls go to Catholic school, they have no lunch fees. We do have a school fee at the beginning of the year. It ends up being the same. They monitor the classes different, grade 5 and 6 volunteers monitor the younger kids and 2 teachers circulate.

But the girls school has some fantastic teachers that truly love teaching, where ds school had teachers that should have retired years before, they were resentful of being there, so they wanted nothing more to do with the kids than absolutely necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm not in Calgary, but not far away, and in the public elementary schools here in this city, it is expected the kids can go home for lunch and must pay for the privilege of staying at school. The school ds went to did this because they hired people to supervise lunch hour, the teachers didn't do it. But that was the only fee besides field trips we had to pay.

My girls go to Catholic school, they have no lunch fees. We do have a school fee at the beginning of the year. It ends up being the same. They monitor the classes different, grade 5 and 6 volunteers monitor the younger kids and 2 teachers circulate.

But the girls school has some fantastic teachers that truly love teaching, where ds school had teachers that should have retired years before, they were resentful of being there, so they wanted nothing more to do with the kids than absolutely necessary.
Yeah this whole school fees thing is new to me because I grew up in NYS where the only thing we paid for was supplies and clothes. There were no school fees and our school lunches were subsidized. DS5 and DS10 are both in public school but DS5 has an all-year school that he attends with a modified calendar. I figured that by paying the school lunch room fee, he'd get time to unwind with his friends while still in a learning environment. I'd be able to get things done around the house and still have the luxury to go to appointments and such by myself.

We got DS10's bus fee forms and all that on Monday. It's still $165 for the year and I can post-date the check until September 1st. I imagine that the school will send him a list of things that DS5 will need for Grade 1 and I'll have plenty of time to talk to his new teacher.

We're saving pretty much everything that's in great condition that DS10 has outgrown. This includes boots, coats, backpacks, etc. If it isn't tattered and torn, it gets saved for DS5. At the most, he can wear the older clothes to school and save the newer clothes for when he has special things like picture day and such. DS10 isn't so lucky though and he outgrows things so fast! I always look for clearance clothing that I know he can wear, buy it at that time and then put it away until he needs it. He's currently wearing between a size 12 and 14 and has shoes bigger than what I wear!

I'm still hunting for a list of the fees that Grade 1-6 paid last year and I'll put that in my low number area to save for. I guess it's a wait and see thing. :)
 
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