Posts Tagged ‘ budgeting ’

Putting Two Kids Through Private School on One Salary

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Editor’s Note: Parents.com has partnered with LearnVest.com to bring you a monthly series of posts about money-related topics related to moms. These guest posts will be shorter, edited versions of longer features from LearnVest.com. The following essay reveals how one mom made the tough decision to whittle her budget in order to send her kids to private school.

When my husband and I were house hunting in 2006, admittedly the last thing on our minds was the quality of our neighborhood school, because we never intended to be living there when our daughter started kindergarten.

Now, six years later, we’re paying five digits a year for our two kids to go to private schools, even though it’s putting a major strain on our finances. We’re a single-earning family, and that sole earner (me) happens to be self-employed in journalism, a field that took a major hit during the recession.

We’re not alone. In 2009-2010, there were more than 5 million American schoolchildren attending private school, according to the Council for American Private Education, which was equal to about 10% of the total number of children enrolled in school in the U.S. Plus, according to CNN, the average annual tuition bill is $22,000 for private schools, across all grades K-12.

Looking back on our own situation, sometimes I wonder how we managed to get here…

We Started Off With a Plan

Our daughter wasn’t even 2 years old in 2006 when my husband and I both quit our jobs. I left my position as a corporate marketing manager to be a stay-at-home mom, and my husband stopped teaching to enroll full-time in graduate school—where he was going to get his doctorate in music education to become a professor—in Urbana, Illinois, a full 700 miles away from where we were currently living in Rochester, N.Y.

I had major concerns about going into this situation with both of us not working. But my husband was awarded a prestigious academic fellowship that came with a $19,000 stipend, we had the option to get student loans and we had some savings as well.

After a lot of talking, and a lot of compromise, we decided we could make it work on a limited income for the time being, but it was going to be very lean.

Our first shock was the high cost of real estate in our new city. In a small college town like Urbana, sellers have you over a barrel when the housing stock is limited and you have no option but to settle there, so we ended up buying a half-built tract house in an “affordable housing” development that also offered a hefty tax incentive. After all, the plan was to move wherever my husband got a job at a university after he graduated in three years…

Where It All Went Wrong

My husband surmised that a typical doctoral program in his field took about three years to complete–two years of coursework and one year writing a dissertation. Then he would hit the academic job market, looking for (and hopefully getting) a position as a professor.

At least, those were our plans. We didn’t anticipate how having a family would impact my husband’s studies. Because we are so far from our support system, he often had to step in and take over for me when I needed to leave the kids at home for some reason, or if I was sick (in the last four years I’ve had three major surgeries). All of that took time away from working on his degree and he fell behind.

A multitude of obstacles (including those mentioned above) have prevented my husband from finishing his schooling. On top of that, his academic advisor left the university, stalling his dissertation until he found a new one. He is slated to graduate in 2013, but the bottom line is, we never expected to still be living in Urbana six years after moving here.

Read the rest of this story and the important lessons learned on LearnVest.com.

Plus: Don’t forget to also sign up for the Baby on Board Bootcamp newsletter, a free newsletter that helps moms budget and manage family finances better over a course of 10 days.

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

Camp Millionaire: Where Kids Can Become Money Geniuses

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Editor’s Note: Parents.com has partnered with LearnVest.com to bring you a monthly series of posts about money topics related to moms.  These guest posts will be shorter, edited versions of longer features written by Cheryl Lock, Editor at LearnVest.

Okay, so sending your kid to Camp Millionaire might not actually make him a millionaire, but it’ll get him excited about taking care of his finances. (Which is probably a lot more helpful for his future than making lanyards.)

Still, when we  first heard about camps geared toward teaching kids about money, we were skeptical. Isn’t camp supposed to be about fun and games? Will a camp geared toward finance and money really capture the attention of our kids the way other, more traditional ones, do?

Jan Ruskin, Program Manager, says she believes they are filling a much-needed hole. “I doubt there is anyone out there who won’t agree that financial education is important and imperative for our kids,” Ruskin says. “And the earlier and more often they get it, the better.”

To really find out about the camp, we called Kate Parker, mom of 11-year-old Simon, who attended the camp this past spring. Here’s what she had to say about his experience.

What made you want to send your son to the camp in the first place?

I have a 16-year-old son, and I’ve been watching him lately, noticing the things that he doesn’t know. He’s going off on his own soon, and he doesn’t know a lot about money, so I was wishing he had that kind of education. I decided to try starting younger with my other kids. When my youngest is old enough, I plan on sending her as well.

What kind of activities did your kids do?

The week my son went there, there were about 20 or 25 kids total, and each day was geared toward a different financial lesson. They played a lot of games that pertained to particular things about money, like holding a job, the different ways to make money, budgeting, things like that. Each day was different, but everything they did was geared toward making money and how to be smart with it.

Have you seen any changes in Simon since the camp?

He’s only 11, so he’s definitely not ready to get a job yet, but he sure does appreciate his allowance more! And he certainly understands more now about putting money aside for when he wants something–and he always does want something–that is beyond his allowance amount.

He’s saving, and that’s a big difference I see. This is the first time I’ve seen him establish longer-term goals for his money, instead of waiting and hoping for birthday money to pay for something. We talk more about money now, and he understands the concepts. He’s interested in finance in a way that he wasn’t before.

Read the full feature about Camp Millionaire at LearnVest.com.

Plus: Don’t forget to also sign up for the Baby on Board Bootcamp newsletter, a free newsletter that helps moms budget and manage family finances better over a course of 10 days.

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog