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Back to School

This time of year, every piece of junk mail in the letterbox brags about Back to School Savings.

Even though my daughter isn’t yet three, I started wondering about Back To School Costs. It must be difficult to manage –  just after Christmas, you’ve had the kids at home for weeks, those extra expenses.

I asked the two most organized working mums I know about their costs, plans and whether they had any tips. Here’s what they said.

Emma, mum to Amelia (11) and Harrison (9), works four days a week.

I buy both kids a new drink bottle, lunch box, pair of shoes, socks, school hat, stationery items (even though school supply some) and pencil case.

I would spend between $250- $300. Most of this money is on shoes. Harry needs a pair every term and Amelia only once a year.

I buy my shoes generally later in the day as people tend not to be at the shops buying school stuff then.

I start putting the kids to bed earlier about ten days before so it’s not such a shock when school goes back.

I also start them reading to me or themselves before bedtime to get started with a homework routine.

Emma is one of my oldest and dearest friends. You can see why.

Kellie, mum to Kiara (6) and Tia (4) said;

My theory is that we can never be too organised. I have always talked to my girls about our plans, what is coming up etc.

We have calendars in the pantry and toilet that have things we are doing – including going back to school/kindy/work. It should not be a night before surprise!

We are also talking about going to bed earlier to get back into learning mode

We just do what we do! No real reason other than sticking with what is working and changing what is not.

Like I said, the two most organized working mums I know.

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Does working cost too much?

I read in the Sydney Morning Herald on the weekend an article about thousands of nurses threatening to resign as a result of increased costs to retrain. Apparently the Victorian Government is asking them to pay to upgrade their own qualifications and it’s not worth working anymore.  Some of them are considering other professions.

This had me doing a few sums about how much it costs me to work.

I really love my job, but sometimes I feel that, once you include work clothes, transport and day care, I don’t always “turn a profit”.

I completely understand women who don’t love their pre-kids job not wanting to go back.  Often it  doesn’t make economic sense to do so, regardless of your personal preferences.  Some days it’s worth it just so I can eat my lunch without adjusting a fairy costume from the Dress Ups box in between each mouthful.

The upside of working is that, even when my take home pay doesn’t seem that great, I’m contributing to my own retirement through my superannuation, which I know I’ll probably be grateful for later.

I know lots of women only make it work economically with the help of grandparents.  If so, did you know the Australian Government now provides the child care benefit to some families? Check out the familyassist.gov.au website for more information.  This too has an upside and a downside.  How do you talk to your mother-in-law about your toddler getting more sleep? Hmmm…

When is it worth going back to work?  How much do you need to earn before it’s worth being apart from your kids? Would you change careers to make it more worthwhile?

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