School Savings: Where Can Parents Save Money on Education Expenses?

According to the Huffington Post, the cost to raise a child born in 2013 to the age of 18 is nearly a quarter of a million dollars. When faced with such a staggering figure, you'll do well to look for ways to defray costs, and cut corners where you can. Here are some strategies for saving on educational expenses for your child.

Consider Meal Costs
Most schools allow parents to pack lunches, but you need to do a quick cost analysis before deciding if it's the cheaper option. If your child's school offers a delicious hot lunch or salad bar, it may be cheaper for them to buy lunch than it would be for you to pack one every day. If you have a picky eater, however, packing may be cheaper if bought lunches end up in the trash, and your child comes home ravenous. If there is a breakfast offered at your child's school, consider those costs as well.

Find Deals on Uniforms
Anyone who has ever had to wear customized work uniforms knows they can be expensive. The same holds true for school uniforms. If permitted, consider bargain-hunting for next year's uniforms over the summer. Companies like SKG Uniforms can make customized workwear and uniforms with any design you need. If you are required to order from a specific company, consider getting two more uniforms than you'll think your child will need. This will avoid a costly one-off order later, should your child accidentally destroy a uniform.

Extra-Curricular Activities
Some sports, such as hockey and football, can be outrageously expensive while soccer and track may be far less costly. High school majorettes and color guard fees can be overwhelming unless someone in your household is a hair, makeup, and spray tanning expert, while marching band may be far less so. Extra-curricular activities are great for your child’s confidence and social life, so spend wisely and consider all your options before making a commitment.

Opt out of Some ‘Standard' Activities
Some schools are now holding graduation ceremonies for grade school and middle school, complete with cap and gown rental. High schools are hawking expensive class rings when the local jeweler can cut the cost in half for the same product. Schools also pressure students to fund raise or buy tickets to pep rallies. If your child shows no interest in these things, opt out. Unless it's a private school, most of these costs can be forgone.

The cost of raising a child can be enormous, and saving money at school is just one way to cut expenses. Keep these tips in mind to slim down the budget, and keep your college savings on track.

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