By: Genna Jenkin
The Your Smart Money Moves Mom
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Barely a week into our back to school routine and I’m already aware of some very disconcerting patterns forming. The kids’ interest in helping get their lunches together is waning, bedtimes are not being adhered to and I’ve badgered them all about their homework more times than I’d like to count. However, the most troublesome of all, is that every evening I find myself with my checkbook “paying” for my children’s public school education.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that public education in this country can tend to get the proverbial short end of the stick, so I am well aware for the need to ask parents for some financial assistance. It’s the changes I’ve seen since I enrolled my oldest in kindergarten (12 years ago) that concern me. I’m sure that everyone with school age children can identify with the lengthy and detailed list of school supplies that every child is responsible to provide, but as I’ve discovered it doesn’t stop there.
My evening activity of check-dispensing is for a myriad of other NECESSARY items. For example, the PTA/PTSA membership fees which require a separate membership for each school. So three kids in three different schools equals three memberships. Do you want a school directory? Write a check please. Ditto if you’d like one of those magnets for your car. Also each grade has their own special t-shirt so you’ll need one of those and don’t forget your gym uniform and if you’re in chorus or band or orchestra you have to order those outfits as well. Let’s not even get started if you play a sport! My personal favorite is for the wonderful trips your children will be taking, make sure those deposits are in this week too!
Now, none of these purchases seem that unreasonable on their own, but by the end of this week I will have written out almost $300.00 in checks and that doesn’t include the down-payment for the trips and none of my kids are on a school sports team yet. Trying to be more mindful of where our money goes and how it’s spent raises a troubling question in my mind. When did it get so expensive to attend a public school?
What are you doing to keep your family costs down?