In 2013, my family was contemplating whether or not to send our oldest son (going into 4th grade) to private school. At the time, tuition for sending our only son in school would cost our family a good chunk of money. Fast forward to today, and at the start of next school year, we will be enrolling all three of our boys (6th grader, 1st grader, and Kindergartner) into private schooling. Being the frugal guy I am, I've been surprised at how easy it has been for me to depart with this money, which will cost us three times as much as it did the first year of sending our eldest.
With the decision of sending our sons to private Christian schooling, I realized that my family has made a lot of sacrifices along the way. I haven't for a second regretted sending my sons to a private school or the fact that we are diverting money that could otherwise be used for paying off our mortgage, or pumping up our retirement accounts. In our journey of sending our boys through private schooling, I've come up with a few tips that have helped me and my family make this possible that might also help you if you are considering making the same choice (or, already have).
- Get out of debt and stay out of debt. Our ability to send our kids to private school was rooted in a decision our family made early on in our marriage to rid ourselves of debt. Typically, most American's income is going towards financing large homes, cars and big credit card balances. If you make smart decisions to avoid debt, then this freedom will allow you to send your family to private school now and years from now.
- Start a side hustle. If you don't want to change your lifestyle, but still have the option of sending your kids to private school then get busy! With the advent of the internet, the ability to start an online business has never been easier. A few ideas that I've employed are blogging, selling books on Amazon, selling backyard chicken eggs, selling chicken coops, receiving distributions from my old company pension plan, and buying tax liens.
- Ask for a raise. With the job market being really hot right now, it might be an opportunity to ask for a much needed raise, which can be diverted towards paying for private education.
- Downsize your home. A lot of people are using 25-35% of their after tax salary to pay for their jumbo mortgages (especially with how low interest rates are now). If you aren't able to afford private education (and want to have this option), then consider downsizing your home to free up some cash that can be used towards your kids education.
- Solicit family members for donations. A lot of family's are supportive of private education and may even be inclined to assist you in paying for your kids education. It never hurts to ask!
- Save monthly from your paycheck. Our family likes to pay their entire tuition at the beginning of the year for our kids, because it gets us a 3% discount. With this in mind, we have to save a little every paycheck prior to August 1st to get us the discount. Through proper budgeting and slowly directing a little of our income each pay period we are able to make private education a little more affordable.
- Get a second job. If you are solely reliant on one income for your family, then consider getting a second job to pay for your kids education. You are obviously trading time with your family, but you and your spouse need to weigh the costs on whether this is worth it.
These are just a few ideas that we've either used or might recommend. I'd love to hear from some of our readers on how you pay for private schooling or if you are considering it, but something is preventing you.