Think Carefully Before Opting for Private Education

(1000 Posts)
PRMum2012 Mon 29-Apr-13 23:50:44

i am a mum of two (23 months and 3 in august)I am self-employed, part time and married to a lovely architect. We have a great life and two happy kids.

On paper I would say I have not done too badly with my life and my aim is to work full time as soon as possible now my kids are a bit older. If the work was available I would happily work full time now.

Despite setting up my own business I can't help feeling like a failure that I can't afford for my own children, what my parents did for me.... It annoys me that I put so much importance on it ... I am now passionate about finding a decent local primary school for my children so they don't feel the same pressure i do now, when they are older and looking for schools for their kids ....but i'll be honest ......assuming i can afford it i would try and do it from 11 if i can....!!!!...

Hopefully by then, my kids will have an input too and they will be forming their own opinions on the issue.

Depending on mortgage and family support I can't see that it's possible for anyone with two kids earning under £80,000 - £1000,000 + (as a family income) to afford private education anymore, my advice is unless you have a thriving business or two, work as a dr, lawyer or banker.... Forget it.

It's really hard to watch my younger sibling do it for her kids, they are paying for private prep while we cant afford it.... But it really upsets me I feel like this... why can't I just be happy for them and quietly satisfied that I don't need to pay on top of my taxes for my kids education.

For my own primary education i went privately, tried the local school for secondary education but was bullied so moved back to the private system.... I had a mix of private and state during secondary - my second private school was amazing but the second state school I attended for 6th form (my choice) was great too so why is this all having such an impact on what I want for my own kids.

My DH is much more laid back, he went privately all the way through but doesn't place as much value on it as I do/did....I wish I felt the same way but all I feel now is pressure to earn more money so I can pay for them both from 11.

SingingSands Tue 30-Apr-13 00:11:16

My friends parents mortgaged their home 4 times to pay for his and his sister's private education. That's hardly "affording it". The only person putting pressure on you to privately educate is yourself.

caroldecker Tue 30-Apr-13 00:56:02

trouble is private is the only way to go unless you happen to live in the exact right place for the right state school.

MirandaWest Tue 30-Apr-13 01:03:54

Private can hardly be the only way to go seeing as about 93% of school places are in the state sector.

caroldecker Tue 30-Apr-13 01:09:05

Best secondary school in my catchment area has less than 50% a-c gcse - even with fiddling the results with non subjects - what is my choice?

MirandaWest Tue 30-Apr-13 01:15:30

That's an overall percentage - some will do better than that, others worse. My secondary school probably had a fairly low percentage of gcse passes but I still got very good exam results. Most people can't afford private schools so they make the best of what they have

givemeaclue Tue 30-Apr-13 05:50:12

You are disappointed you can't afford private education. But with the money you save you can do a lot of other things with you, kids

PRMum2012 Tue 30-Apr-13 08:15:34

Thanks 'givemeaclue' - very true

mumsneedwine Tue 30-Apr-13 08:17:02

I have lots of friends who have felt like you. However, using the state system has not proved as scary or meant their kids are on the scrap heap. My husband & I both went to comps, both went to Oxbridge and have raised 3 kids who are now there too. 2 more to go (if they want - one wants to be a painter). Never paid a penny for their education - it is possible and there are many, many good schools. I know, I work in them ! Don't be envious about what others have or you will miss those lovely school years watching your kids achieve and grow. Do the things they don't do at school as fun clubs - swimming, rugby whatever. Let them climb trees and explore with freedom - find a nice school you like (at senior I agree this is important but there are lots out there). It will be ok because you care and will support your kids.

mirai Tue 30-Apr-13 08:20:29

Totally agree OP. Without winning the lottery there is no chance our kids will be privately educated and it does disappoint me that I will actually be providing less to my children than my parents did for me. I also have a residual guilt that despite the thousands they spent on my education I haven't managed to get myself into a position where I am one of those high earners - mostly due to an awful lot of bad luck on my part. But that's another thread. Anyway I do feel your pain.

Llareggub Tue 30-Apr-13 08:21:25

I live in an area where there is just one private school, no grammar schools and everyone uses the state comps. It's liberating to live in an area without the angst of deliberating over school entry.

I don't know anyone here that would pay for the private school. It doesn't get the grades the others get!

givemeaclue Tue 30-Apr-13 08:36:32

Also op only 7% of kids go to private school,

AuntieStella Tue 30-Apr-13 08:59:51

And that's 7% over all age groups. It's much lower at primary age, and much higher at sixth form.

Just do the best with the choices that are available to you at the time you need to choose. And the input from the home environment will be a huge factor, whichever school they end up in at whatever point.

wordfactory Tue 30-Apr-13 09:02:08

I am a firm believer that there is no point worrying about things you cannot afford to give your DC. It is utterly corrosive. One has to concentrate on what one can give.

And I say this as someone who very happily sends their DC private: do not allow it to become an issue!

wordfactory Tue 30-Apr-13 09:04:51

But I should say it is very silly not to give your DC somehting you can give for fear that they might feel bad if they can't.

You could say that about anyhting. Oh better not buy that nice house in case it makes my DC feel sad if they can't afford one. Oh better not go that nice holiday...better not buy decent food...

mummytime Tue 30-Apr-13 09:13:18

Even with an income of £80,000 to £100,000 we could not afford private school for our children. Especially if you factor in private school fee rises of 5% or more a year.
The one friend who I know who does manage it, has no pension.

Afford a good house in a good area near good schools, at least you can sell the house at the end to help with: retirement costs, university costs, your children buying their own homes/cars, and the unexpected.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Tue 30-Apr-13 09:15:19

I think the option to find a decent local school and top that up with some tutoring can be very viable. It depends on your kids and your local schools.

We can afford to pay private but have chosen not too as our local schools and colleges are good. I like being able to help the DC's out now that they are at University. Private schooling is extremely expensive.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 10:09:30

I agree with your maths OP. We live SE, have always had a reasonable mortgage- not horrendous and possible to cover on one salary- and a similar income. We could have afforded 1 sec school privately but not two without me working full time and for various reasons I couldn't.

However, what we did was live in a house in a very good area where we were in the catchment area for 2 good schools- single sex former grammars and excellent primary schools. We topped this up with tutors when necessary at A level, and the usual extra curricular activities.

My DCs have done very well- both going to 'top 10' Russell unis and now have good jobs.

Your priority should be to find the best schools you can even if this entails a house move.

To give you the other side, we have friends and neighbours who spent small fortunes on private education and their DCs have done no better- and often worse - than ours.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 11:24:50

Mumsneedwine you said Never paid a penny for their education

Let's not forget that we are all paying for education very heavily through our taxes, whether we use it or pay again to go private!

PRMum2012 Tue 30-Apr-13 11:38:38

7% is very low .... that certainly puts it all in perspective, not feeling so wound up by it all now. Cheers

harryhausen Tue 30-Apr-13 11:43:45

OP I can kind of see how your feeling.

My Dsis, is an expat and has 3 dd's who all go to a very expensive private international school. The facilities they have is unbelievable. My dcs on the other hand go to the local primary in a fairly un-affluent area. Both me and my Dsis were state educated.

I will openly admit to bring jealous of my Dsis and her posh school. However, my kids are doing very nicely thankyou and in fact dd is currently racing ahead with literacy especially.

My eldest neice did well in her GCSE's but by no means straight A*'s like many would expect. She's now looking at a non-Russell group university. I think she's done as well so far as any other engaged and bright pupil from a fairly decent comp. She's a lovely person which is the most important. She's made lots of 'social' ties though that have a very international feel that will stand her in good stead.

In my circle of friends I have 3 friends who went to private schools. One of them was a teacher (she gave up when she had her dc3) and the other two are happy but career-less. A private school is no guarantee of academic/career/life success.

What exactly stresses you about a state education?

I had a wonderful education at a good comp. I went to school with children who went to Oxbridge and children who went to prisongrin. I even went to school with some now famous people.

In my job, I visit lots and lots of school children and talk a lot to them. Some children in private school seem unhappy as well as some state school children - and vice versa.

State education does not mean some drug riddled sink ghetto in a city.

We have not been able to afford private primaries for our two sons. They have a full life, with activities and interest, and plenty of time to play and have fun, and just be. They are happy and well adjusted boys. Our oldest is going into a private secondary next year, he passed the exams without problem. Save your money to have a good life with your children, and prepare to put money aside for secondary if this becomes necessary.

TuffEric Tue 30-Apr-13 11:55:44

Just wanted to say, I'm a doctor and couldn't afford private schooling for mine. Please don't put us in the same bracket as lawyers and bankers: those of us who work for the NHS are public sector workers with significantly lower salaries (although a decent pension, I'll grant you). We'll be going with the house-in-a-good-cachment-area option!

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 30-Apr-13 11:58:21

We have a family income of around £60k abd currently have two children in private education (we earn too much to qualify for a bursary). It's not easy and I would never criticise there's for making different choices.

Our local secondaries GCSE results (including all these vocational qualifications is around 40%. When we first decided to go private it was 36%.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 30-Apr-13 11:58:38

Not all private schools cost a fortune.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 12:01:52

Is that £80k pre-tax? DH and I earned just that combined and we can't afford private schooling for two. (We aren't even in London or the home counties). I don't know how anyone does it. We only have one DD now and I don't plan to send her private. Don't feel bad about it. As someone already said, 93% of people go to state schools.

hatsybatsy Tue 30-Apr-13 12:09:15

ROFL at the idea that a qualified doctor cannot afford private education....

OP - you seem to be getting some good persepctive on this? If you can't afford it, then there are other ways to enrich the children's education that are equally as valid.

I think it is a question of prioritizing. Some people have large houses, big mortgages, many expensive cars, and complain they cannot afford private education.

Others live more modestly and rather pay for good education than luxurious living. wink

It seems to be where you choose to live. Like Llareggub I live in an area with no Grammar schools and the nearest private schools are a long distance. Therefore everyone uses the local schools which are on the whole good. You would never get this if you live in the south east.

I also think it's about how much you as parents are prepared to put into educating your children. Not in tutoring or helicoptering but as others have said, spending time on enriching their lives yourself.
If you are rich you pay for others to do it for you, that's all.

mummytime Tue 30-Apr-13 13:06:56

Hatsybatsy I know a lot of Doctors who can't afford private education: all the GPS at my surgery and several other GP friends, and at least two Consultant surgeons. My Dentist does afford it, but he has v. Few NHS patients (we are part of that select band).
A friend who was privately school educated said that the local exclusive prep has gone down hill as it is "full of builders children" nowadays. No idea why she said that to me, but .....

seeker Tue 30-Apr-13 13:11:17

"I think it is a question of prioritizing. Some people have large houses, big mortgages, many expensive cars, and complain they cannot afford private education.
Others live more modestly and rather pay for good education than luxurious living. "

grin always good to see the old "beaten up old Volvo/camping holiday in Cornwall" trope turning up again!

I was state ed all the way and went to RG uni, DH went to convent, local comp and then boarding school for A Levels. Our two DCs are both currently at private schools, but they have attended local state primary and DS will attend local state school for post 16 education. The reasons for the choice of all these schools is that they were the best solution to domestic issues and needs of the children at the time- not because they were state or private.

So the only question you need to worry about is finding the best school that you can- that is all you can do. And as many people say private doesn't necessarily guarantee the best results, the happiest kids etc. It is not about private vs state but one school against another.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 13:20:24

I think this is very geographical. In many senses.
Houses in the SE and Home Counties are very expensive. I can't see how anyone on £60K could afford 2 x £10K ( guesstimate) for private schools if they have anything like an average mortgage.
A day prep school for 1 child- say @ £7K might be possible.

The only people I know who can afford private schools for 2 or more children are seriously rich- earning over say £300K combined- and for whom £30K a year is small change. OR families where both parents work full time and scrimp and scrape to afford it on less.

This puts a huge pressure on parents to keep their jobs, and on the children to do well, as their parents sacrifice so much.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Tue 30-Apr-13 13:23:53

My DS is a med student. If we were not helping him out he would be racking up a huge student debt over the five years of studying and starting salaries are really not that great. confused He didn't choose medicine for the money sad

infamouspoo Tue 30-Apr-13 13:24:11

it always looked liked a vicious circle to me. Private education to get a high paid job so they could pay to send their kids to private school to get a high paid job to send their kids to....etc
Where's life n fun? And you can get good grades and go to good universities without private school. 2 of mine went to Cambridge. Apparently thats considered 'acheiving'. Personally I think its over-rated, full of drugs and angst and its pastoral care is shite.
But what they make of their lives is up to them. One is going to be a scientist. Poor pay, short term contracts but she is happy. The other is pushy and into theatre and is off to New York. You dont need private education, you need interest.

newgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 13:33:52

My dd got a place at very academic private school but we were lucky to get a place at state good/outstanding school. I would have liked the private school as it would have appealed to my ego (hey I'm being honest) but tbh the state school suits her more. It's better for sports, it's mixed, good music etc. Private is not always best - but because you pay for it people think it is - not that simple.

Seeker - you called?

Not a Volvo, but an old Peugeot! grin

JuliaMB Tue 30-Apr-13 13:36:50

We could probably afford to send our 2 privately but have decided not to as we both have done very well from our own state education, went to a top Uni and now have professional jobs with good salaries. We chose to save our money to pay for the activities they may have got at private school such as rugby, swimming, tennis lessons. And then we can still have nice family holidays, allow me to work part time and most importantly show them that not everyone is as materially well off as they are. I think it's so important that they don't spend their lives surrounded by only middle/upper classes and nagging me for a pony or something in the future but to have a balanced view of the world and people so they appreciate what they have and that you have to work for it, it doesn't just fall in your lap from above.
And with private schools, even if you can stretch to the fees, can you afford the expensive trips and keeping up with the Chalfont-Smyths?! (apologies if I just criticised your surname!)

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 30-Apr-13 13:41:04

I don't drive, we take the bus! I only have 1 child so one sent of school fees is manageable. There's only so much stuff you can put in one house so apart from holidays what else is there to spend money on? confused

JuliaMB Tue 30-Apr-13 13:44:38

HatsyBatsy stop ROFL, how much do you think doctors earn?
Clue - nothing like what it says in daily mail. I am a GP and do ok but hospital doctors' salaries are a lot less than you think for terrible hours too! I know plenty that couldn't even consider private school.

motherinferior Tue 30-Apr-13 13:46:02

Er...what exactly is your point? That private schools cost money? That's what they are, businesses that you pay for.

Even I can work that out and I went to a comprehensive and send my lovely daughter to a school that half of you lot would consider rough as a badger's arse.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 13:48:53

Errrrrrrrr...driving lessons and a car perhaps?

I think the cost of the house is the factor. In the SE where I am you can't get anything for much less than £200K where I live for a 1 bed terraced cottage.

A 'normal' 3 bed house is around £350K.
A 4 bed family house is £500K.

Figures are half these in some parts of the north.
So many couples are working simply to buy a house.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 30-Apr-13 13:50:23

Why do I need a car when it's quicker to get somewhere on the bus? confused I can't drive anyway (illness).

seeker Tue 30-Apr-13 13:54:54

"There's only so much stuff you can put in one house so apart from holidays what else is there to spend money on? "

Ooooooh, I don't know. Food? Electricity? The occasional pair of shoes?

Seasonal curtains and cushions?

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 30-Apr-13 13:57:53

Why do you think I don't eat, pay the bills or buy shoes? confused

Curtains? Who needs those? Just nail an old blanket across the window, that will do. wink grin I could spend it all on handbags and Jimmy Shoes I suppose. hmm

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 13:58:46

Make your mind up people.

Either private education is inequitable because Oxbridge and top jobs are biased towards ex indie pupils


Private education is a waste of money because it conveys no benefits.

You can't have it both ways.

By the way OP, thanks for the great advice. I'm sure a lot of parents decided to spend £15k pa times x DC times y years without thinking things thru [sarcasm emoticon]

seeker Tue 30-Apr-13 13:59:48

Just in case you aren't joking-

<I was going to explain, but I find I can't be bothered>

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 14:04:17

People round here just seem to put them in private education from Year 10 onwards.
Not sure whether that is because of money [though even the GPs do that], or because the schools round here are reasonably good.
Also, our area, is quite an inclusive area, and most people of whatever means and status like that.

FadedSapphire Tue 30-Apr-13 14:12:13

Op- as others have said- do the best with schools you have. My children go to a primary some sniff at but it is a lovely school and they are thriving. The catchment secondary is a school which had only about 50% a-c [including maths and English] I think but at moment not writing it off as children can and do do well there. Also my eldest only seven so will watch how school develops.
We couldn't possibly afford private school. My brother could but has stuck with state as feels he did well in life [so far!] and can mix happily with people of all backgrounds which he feels his education helped with.
My cousins have gone private [one parent works as teacher in the school]. They are desperate to have all their 3 children there. Their eldest was ill with stress of 11plus and I found it hard to watch his sadness. They are panicking as their younger children not so academic and may have to go to local state. They really are stressed.
I think as you cannot afford private just try to go with the flow and realise it is not the be all and end all in life.
Good luck and keep calm!!

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 14:14:41

"There's only so much stuff you can put in one house so apart from holidays what else is there to spend money on? "

The mortgage?

I'm in the SE and not the home counties. And even here a 'normal' 3-bed is around £300k. I guess it depends on your age and whether you got an inheritance. If you have a small mortgage, everything is easier. Ofc, you could be earning a lot too. But the OP is quoting £80-£100k combined. We are at £80k and we wouldn't dream of private schools. DH has a colleague just asking how to get out of the auto-enrollment of her pensions at work. They have a university final salary pension. She hasn't been paying into it because she's been spending it all on her son's private schooling. To me that's just stupidity.

And we hardly have lots in our house. All our furniture are ikea. My only weakness really is loving to eat out. But DD has put a stop to it as she doesn't have the attention span to sit through a meal.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 14:45:48

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 30-Apr-13 13:50:23

Why do I need a car when it's quicker to get somewhere on the bus? confused I can't drive anyway (illness)

But that's you !

Where I live there are around 3 buses a day and none back after 6pm. A car is essential.

I think if people are talking about money, the most useful figures re. enough for private ed would be
* income after tax
* mortgage repayments per month and term
* council tax

For many people those add up to an awful lot and what's left goes on food and utility bills, car fuel and clothes.

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 15:08:05

OP - My income is in the band that you mentioned and we have two DCs in private school. Both our cars are 10 years old so our only major outgoing is a £1k+ pw mortgage.

We bank DP's salary (the plan is to retire early) but the point is that we live on one income and we can afford private. So I am a bit confused at your confused

happygardening Tue 30-Apr-13 15:17:16

MTSgroupie and I have had this argument before. I personally believe you've got to be on a significant income to easily afford senior day school fees and as for boarding fees we reckon £180 000 + to effortlessly put two through.
Unless you are affording it effortlessly you have to be absolutely convinced that what your getting is better than if you don't pay. This comes down to state choices, what you personally except of education and if you have a child that will thrive in a independent school; some don't.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 15:19:34

I just don't know how you do that!

How much are the school fees in total pa?

How much is your council tax, water rates, utilities, insurance ( contents & buildings, life assurance etc) on top of your £1K a month mortgage? it's not just the mortgage- it's everything else.

And unless you are paying into a pension then your DPs saved salary will be peanuts with the impact of inflation in years to come.

As I said earlier, I think it's meaningless for people to talk money here unless they are absolutely open about their outgoings and term of mortgage etc.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 15:22:47

I don't know how MTS is doing it either. We only have one car and a mortgage of similar size.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 15:23:03

IMO the cost of private schooling has to be in the region of at least £10K per child per annum. This means pre taxable income of around £35K- £40K for school fees alone.

I don't think there is any point people posting about how they can afford school fees without saying what the fees are- how many children etc- and whether they are also living in debt with huge credit card loans.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 15:26:39

bella I'm looking at a more expensive school then you. The really good independent here is just under £6000 a term for day students at senior school. This is £18k just on school fees alone. Surely there are other expenses on top? For two children at that fee, it's more like £35-40k take home salary.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 15:29:01

I mean just on schooling. I used this take home salary calculator and it says it's 60k pre-tax on one income.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 15:31:10

I know it's a naive calculation. If you then use the left over £20k as the second income, you are only taking home £1300 a month. After mortgage, it's only £300 a month to live. That's just not doable. A second income of £40k would definitely be doable. That'll make the couple having a combined income of £100k.

Weegiemum Tue 30-Apr-13 15:31:18

I went to a decent comprehensive, dh to an upmarket boys grammar school.

We never even considered private - though with many sacrifices we could have afforded it. Our dc go to a state school with specialist bilingual status (English/Scottish Gaelic). You can't, for any money, buy the education they are getting.

I'd rather be spending the money on other things - we're going to Sorrento and Rome in the summer plan to visit Pompeii etc. We pay for music lessons etc outside of school, and it adds up to just a fraction of private education for 3 dc which would be inferior anyway (unless anyone knows of other state schools where children are taught to be totally bilingual?).

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 15:31:33

Yes of course it would be because I was working on a lower annual fee . You have quoted almost double that. So to afford £40K after tax you'd need to earn pretty near £80K ( given 40% tax etc) to afford fees alone.

Sheshelob Tue 30-Apr-13 15:52:46

Your post is exactly what is wrong with the system. You feel inadequate because you can't send your kids to private school, thereby entering them into the state school lottery, where success cannot be guaranteed bought.

It is utterly bonkers.

By not sending your kids to private school, you are letting them grow up outside the very culture of status and superiority that you are experiencing negatively now. And that is a marvellous thing.

State school isn't a cop out. It isn't saying you aren't trying for your kids. It is just saying that other things are more important than status.

I say all this as a state schooled, two Russell group degree holding, professional know it all.

Don't feel bad. Save your cash for uni, coz BOY are you gonna need it!

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 16:08:21

Maybe MTSgroupie has private savings or grandparents chipping in.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 16:18:26

Yes dogs I find that people are often less than totally honest about what they have coming in when they say they can afford certain things- they may have the 'cushion' of wealthy families or inheritances due in time, and I know of people who have £35K on credit cards shock.

She I don't think that private ed is about status at all. I once taught in an indy school. the kids there and their parents were as down to earth as any in a state school.

Mintyy Tue 30-Apr-13 16:34:49

I'm sorry - and I never say this - but do please get a grip!

Fgs, 93% of people are not privately educated. Are you saying that none of them have worthwhile lives?

At least if your children don't go to private school they will hopefully have a less narrow view of what is important in life.

motherinferior Tue 30-Apr-13 16:37:37

'State school isn't a cop out. It isn't saying you aren't trying for your kids. It is just saying that other things are more important than status. '

<applause from another state-schooled holder of two degrees from Posh Universities>

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 17:01:17

My fees are £28k for 2 DCs. This includes bus, trips and lunch.

We last had a 'big' holiday in 2010 and we both drive 10 year old cars. Apart from that, we do the usual eating out, cinema stuff so we aren't exactly huddling around a solitary candle for heat.

If you can't afford private on £80k to £100k then perhaps YOU should list your expenditures for all of MN to see.

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 17:06:35

In the interest of full disclosure, we bank DP's salary because it is our intention to retire early (Bella - it's not 'peanuts' smile ).

So we have the comfort of knowing that we can spend all of my income and still have money for a rainy day and/or retirement.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 17:20:09

MTS I think I'm confused about your £80-100k. Is that your sole salary? Or are we talking about a combined £80-100k income? You say you are banking all of your DH salary and so you are living on only one income?

Yes, I can give you some figures for someone on £80k combined. I take home about £2100 a month. And on your figure of £28k a year, it's £2333 a month. So no I can't pay your school fees and bank my DH's salary. He earns the same as me.

miggy Tue 30-Apr-13 17:23:12

OP if it assuages your guilt bear in mind that the price of Private education has massively risen compared to wages
From lloyds
"The average annual private school fee in 2012 of £11,457 is equivalent to 35% of annual average gross full-time earnings of £33,011; in 2002 the comparable ratio was 27%. With school fees rising by significantly more than the rate of inflation, it has become more difficult for the average earner in many occupations to send their children to private schools.
As a result of school fee inflation, there are several relatively well paid occupations – such as pharmacists, architects, IT professionals, engineers and scientists – where someone on the average earnings for that occupation can no longer send their child to private school without assistance from other sources. In 2002, someone employed in these professions, on average earnings, would have been able to afford to send their child to a private school. (Private school fees are deemed to be affordable for an occupation if they represent 25% or less of gross average annual earnings for someone in that occupation.)
Parents earning the average salary in occupations such as production managers, accountants, senior police officers and pilots face the smallest financial burden in sending their child to a fee paying school with the average annual private school fee representing around a fifth (19%) of their annual average gross earnings."
We sort of fell into it with DS1, now 19, and have ended up with up to 3 dc at a cost of 6200-6500 per term which is a massive undertaking. Luckily DS1 now at uni but am counting down those two six form years for ds2!
(yes we do have crappy old cars smile )

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 17:30:38

OneLittle - the £80-£100k is my income.

Mimadre Tue 30-Apr-13 17:38:03

I wonder if those praising state education live in or near London.

Speaking as someone who lives in the outskirts of London, the choice to send my child to a private primary was made for me when he was allocated to the worst primary school in the area - parents fighting at the school gate type, racist families who made the lives of any minority kids hell. And of course we live here because the crazy prices in London quickly limit choice of where you can buy and I was SICK of renting.

It always makes me laugh when parents who live in the million pound homes near excellent state schools smugly inform me of how happy they are with state eduction and how inclusive they are - forgetting that the make up of their primary schools are actually more exclusive with children from similar backgrounds. My DS private school has more of an ethnic and financial mix than any of these schools.

And by my calculation even with what I will pay for private education over 6 yrs with one child - school fees is 8k which is £56k over 7 years - I could still not afford to live in the catchment area of these state schools so am better off at least trying to minimise the effect of where we live by sending my child to private school.

The only secondary school in the town where these kids will end up has been in special measures for as long as one can remember and guess the constantly shattered glass of the bus-stop near the school is a testimony to the atmosphere in the school.

We will try for grammar schools and hope he gets in if not we will continue down the private route. These are the real choices people have to make and it is not about being Mr Moneybags but trying to do the best for our kids. Sometimes private is the only or indeed the cheaper option over the long-term.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 30-Apr-13 17:38:46

Private education is very very expensive. Was chatting to a father at school the other day whose parents put him and his sister through easily but it wasn't going to be possible for him to do the same for his children.

That said there are a lot of grandparents helping out and also a lot of children leave school because situations change - I suspect a lot more nowadays. Yet our school still has a big waiting list.

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 17:42:53

So when you say "If you cant afford private on 80k to 100k then perhaps YOU should list your expenditures for all of MN to see", you mean 80k to 100k is one person's income? hmm

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 17:44:20

I still find those figures slightly odd.

£80K gross ( and let's be honest- another 20K makes a big difference, so which is your real income?) is given as

£4400 per month after tax.
School fees of £28K are £2333 a month.

Which leaves you just over £2K a month, or £500 a week for everything else. I'd imagine the average food bill for a family of 4 is around £150 a week, or £600 a month. S out of the remaining £350 you would have to pay for council tax, ( ours is around £150 a month), gas/ electric (ours was over £150 a month) each month, car fuel, car repairs ( we have one 10 yr old car plus a company car) food, insurances, and essential clothes.

It doesn't add up to being in the black.

If your real income is £100K AND you dip into your wife's earnings too then that makes the difference perhaps.

motherinferior Tue 30-Apr-13 17:50:09

Yes, I live in South East London, not a posh bit of it; my house did not cost a million pounds (as if); my children go to a local state primary and a local comprehensive, both of which are extremely ethnically and socially diverse. But as I've said above, I'm quite sure a lot of you wouldn't choose DD1's school anyway.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 30-Apr-13 17:52:57

Our income is about £45k after tax. School fees for two children are just under £20k per year. That still leaves us £25k to live off. Our mortgage is around £5k per year.

I do have a safety net of approx £12k in ISAs saved pre children as I wanted a years worth of fees in case of illness//job loss etc.

Mintyy Tue 30-Apr-13 18:00:19

Very ordinary districts of London have some very good schools.

I was talking to a secondary teacher at a party the other day. He has just moved from an inner London comp to a comp in Surrey which has just been put into special measures. He made the very good point that most London secondary schools are good or above which, given their intake, is remarkable.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 18:01:42

Your mortgage is very low then- that's under £450 a month- so your home must have been very cheap or you had a huge deposit.

Ours is over £1K a month, we are overpaying by £150 a month to clear it early but will still be early 60s by the time it's paid off.

handcream Tue 30-Apr-13 18:03:43

We dont earn anything like £300k and send our children to private schools (one private prep and one senior boarding) Where are these figures coming from.... We have a house in the Home Counties and both work full time.

We could of course have paid off our mortgage as opposed to choosing to investing in our children's education. We go on nice hols and dont have expensive hobbies.

Mimadre Tue 30-Apr-13 18:06:40

motherinferior it is all about parental choice isn't it? You are happy choosing those schools for your kids, others may not be and are allowed to spend their income as they see fit.

My point being that people choose the private route as, in the circumstances, they believe it is best for their kids. Others may even feel they are crazy to sacrifice their financial security for their kids in this way. I feel really happy that I am in a position to make this CHOICE.

In my end of London the houses within the catchment of the good state primaries are really close to the 1 million mark.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 18:07:26

dogsandcats I think we are cross talking with MTS. She earns me and my DH combined at £80-100k. It would indeed be reasonable if I earn that much to send 2 children to private. Then I would still have DH salary as a safety cushion hmm

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 18:15:42

dogs - believe me/don't believe. I'm not sufficiently interested in this thread to jump through hoops for you.

Mintyy Tue 30-Apr-13 18:21:30

You wouldn't be trying to argue that private education is all about parental choice would you?

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 18:24:10


Your figures don't add up.

Foolishly I forgot to include mortgage in my example.

So once gain.

£80K = £4400 net per month
School fees ( yours) £2300 per month

Balance for everything else:

Our mortgage:
Roughly £1000 month

Balance £1100

Council tax , ( around £150) insurances, ( ditto) fuel for 2 cars,(£125) food,(£500) clothes, gas/ electric,( £100) phone, ....

on £250 a week left after paying fees and mortgage. I don't think so.

Mimadre Tue 30-Apr-13 18:29:23

Minty I was responding to motherinferior's post which stated that many would not choose the school her DD1's school.

There are many people on my income bracket who in the same circumstances would not choose to send their children to private school; so in that way it is a choice whether to go private or not.

myron Tue 30-Apr-13 18:34:03

Day Prep school in my parts (outside London) starts at £12K and rising to £16K at 6th form. We don't think that we can manage 2 sets of school fees - not at £32K pa and more in the future unless we have some sort of windfall but you cannot anticipate a hefty bonus or inheritance can you? We do live in the country (due to proxmity to work) so are limited in choice of schooling (not great!). School fees are 'better value' in more urban areas where there is more competition! I grew up near a big city and passed CE to an extremely academic girls' day school where the fees are lower than £12K pa but delivers far superior exam results by quite some margin. Currently dithering...especially since we live in an area where the LEA is near the bottom of the national league which doesn't inspire confidence in the state system.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 30-Apr-13 18:40:49

Yes we have a small mortgage.

We bought our first house (2 bed terrace) for £20k and sold it for £36k several years later meaning we had a deposit of £15k to put down on our current house which was bought for £90k.

We currently have about £60k left on our mortgage (house now valued at around £135k

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 18:47:13

"on £250 a week left .. I don't think so"

Bella - are you seriously telling MNetters on benefits that you don't believe that someone can live on £250 a week?

PRMum2012 Tue 30-Apr-13 19:01:30

I dont have anything againt state primary schools in my area - we have some great options and I think my kids will be fine and probably flourish and end up more well rounded than their mother as a result :-) - I am just a bit nervous about secondary but that's a long way off so no point stressing about it now. I probably won't feel nervous when we get to that stage. I know from my own experience I learnt more and was more challenged in the private sector than in my state school - my kids future school may be ver different - who knows! - I did have some great teachers for English and maths in the state system but geography was a joke....

Btw - tufferic sorry for sticking you in with lawyers and bankers - your career is far more worthy and worth every penny in my opinion but I know a number of NHS gp's who privately educate their kids and why shouldn't they if they want to.

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 19:10:58

Bella - you got £500 down for food per month. Well, tonight's dinner was Hunter's Chicken with mash. The chicken was from a giant Costco value pack. The mash was made from potatoes from the market. I reckon dinner for the family came to about £8. Last night's was quorn spaghetti bolognese which cost about £7. We drink tap water (preferance as opposed to penny pinching) so no drinks bill. Without looking any further I can see that I spend about £2500 pa less on food than you.

mummytime Tue 30-Apr-13 19:15:24

£90K! That wouldn't buy a studio flat here. School fees at present would be about £5500 per child too (cheapest would be about £4000 but you'd have to add on train fare). So two children at private school would be about £30,000 per year, without extras.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 19:21:05

There are lots of people who, once their children reach school age, suddenly feel the urge to up sticks and move South to North.

Private education is so much cheaper in the North.

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 19:23:56

... kids fees include extra curriculum stuff so no kids activities to pay for. My figure for fees include trips. DP and I travel on business so no holidays to pay for. Company pays for broadband and phone so no bills there. We get media content off the Internet for free so no Sky/DVD subscriptions for us. Gym membership? Got Wii Sports smile Free tennis court and basketball courts at local park. We live near countryside so lots of walks and cycling. Got relatives in Torquay so weekend breaks sorted etc etc etc.

People get so caught up in their own lives that they can't accept that just because they can't do or achieve or afford something then neither can someone else

mummytime Tue 30-Apr-13 19:38:37

Nope MTS a lot of people on Mumsnet seem to think because they can afford something, others could (maybe with a bit of belt tightening).

PRMum2012 Tue 30-Apr-13 19:39:24

The figures £80 -£100 k were based on a combined income enjoying a good quality of life and not having to sell the car, down size etc etc.... The school I would use if I could afford it is £30k per year ( from 11) to send two kids. On top of that there is mortgage £12,000 per year, petrol, food, oil, car insurance etc etc.... Granted you could probably manage on £60k but as I am only part time an dh earnings are around £40k we are a long way off.

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 19:49:17

mummy - haven't you got it the wrong way round?

This and a few recent threads have asked the question - how it is that people can afford private? I'm telling people how we can afford it. I'm NOT telling Bella that she should reduce her food bill.

In fact I can't recall a thread where the subject was - why can't people afford to go private? So totally unfair comment.

mummytime Tue 30-Apr-13 19:59:41

Well I was thinking of threads like this.

Actually I usually say, do what is best for your children and your circumstances. The best school may be private or could be state, I know plenty of people who mix and match sectors (and may even do a spot of HE), and even do different things for different children.

motherinferior Tue 30-Apr-13 20:12:27

Actually, I meant a lot of people on this thread would think oh horror at the sight of DD1's school. It is an excellent school, but it is also a slightly scruffy comprehensive where the girls tend to wear their skirts up by their pants and full of, you know, kids whose families are Not Very Naice. You said 'do people on this thread who like state education live in London' and I said yes, I do. And yes, it is enormously ethnically and socially mixed. Sorry to defy your assumptions and all.

louisianablue2000 Tue 30-Apr-13 20:14:07

DH was privately educated, I wasn't. I looked at the prices for our local (single sex) private school, it would cost £36k pa to educate our three children there (so not convinced by the 'north is cheaper' argument). I'm not quite sure how his parents managed to pay the fees for three children on a single lecturer's salary, presumably private education was a lot cheaper in the eighties, or academics were a lot better paid than they are now.

The only people I know who sre sending their child to private school have chosen to have an only child so they can afford it. It's not the choice I would make.

Blu Tue 30-Apr-13 20:15:05

MTSGroupie, as I understand it you have your DH's unspent salary as your pension / saving, whereas in families where your sole income is the family income the pension and rainy day money must come out of that. In any case your sole income is in the bracket which the OP said beneath which private ed would not be possible.

Mimadre, the point is that the school the Inferiorettes go to us actually a cracking good school run by an inspirational Head. Despite this many MNers seem to shudder at the notion of such a multi-everything school. I live in an area of S London which I have seen described in terms of horror on MN, and from my address I would have a genuine choice of 3 excellent primaries and 2 comps I would be happy with. DS is at a company I am extremely happy with.

Of course this isn't guaranteed, and your experiences e is b different. It's true that were I to move half a mile down the road I would be far from happy with my immediate choice of catchment schools. however if I did move, my house would be more expensive.

OP, I was educated in the private sector (direct grant) and I am confident that my DS is doing extremely well in comparison to my own experience, I hated being cloistered in an environment that did not reflect the wider world.

Mintyy Tue 30-Apr-13 20:15:09

Hmm costco chicken and tap water vs school fees?




Nah, don't think so.

knitknack Tue 30-Apr-13 20:27:24

For all of you quoting percentages of A*-C do you understand how that works? It may be that the cohorts' FFTs for that year were 'only' 50% (or even, gasp, 46% and they've done really well by pushing 50% through!).

The overall figure isn't the issue - you need to know the 'value added' in other words what the FFT (Fischer Family Trust, the body that predict GCSE grades based on ks2 and 3 attainment) think the kids SHOULD get compared to what they DO get....

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 20:33:28


I think you've misunderstood me. I've never said the private education is cheap but, generally speaking, it is cheaper in the North of England.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 30-Apr-13 20:43:13

£90k was for a 3 bed detached house bought in 2002. I guess rhings are a lot different down south.

Dh used to work in London but we couldn't afford to move down there.

socareless Tue 30-Apr-13 21:17:24

Fees are definitely cheaper in the North. MGS for example is £10,545pa so about £21k for 2DCs. I am not saying this is affordable but if a family really wants to go private then they can afford to on average salary of £40k each as long as they do not have complicated lives (mostly down to children from other relationships & excessive debt).

Houses are also cheaper up north, with a 4 bed going for £170k in some areas.

In the south east you definitely need a much higher household salary or have access to unlimited overtime to cover cost due to the high housing cost, except you are like my friend who purchased house a long time ago for £60k, sold for £130k to upgrade to a £180k semi.

Bottom line is most people can't justify spending any money at all on education so do not worry if you can't. Just do the best you can, if you feel deep down that sec will be a big problem then start now to put something aside and aim for sec.

Mimadre Tue 30-Apr-13 21:17:26

And Blu that is the point really that parents should be free to do what they consider best for their child taking account of their full circumstances without these fruitless and endless debates of whether they are short changing the child by going with the state option or wasting money by going the private route. We love our kids and are all trying to do our best by them.

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 21:25:27

mintyy - I thought that I was supposed to be the snob in this conversation? grin

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 21:26:20

MrT- even allowing for the cost of broadband etc which you quote, no gym subs and holidays in uk ( which we do anyway) then your figures do not add up.

Even looking at the very basic figures of £4400 net income minus £2300 for fees each month, that leaves £500 a week for mortgage, etc etc etc.

I don't need any lessons in cooking economically- but you seem to need some lessons in basic maths!

You haven't even started addressing that- or the cost of housing- so maybe you have no mortgage? or your DP pays that before she banks the rest for your pensions?

If you can't actually be totally transparent about your circs then don't join the argument.

motherinferior Tue 30-Apr-13 21:36:20

Er, no, my point - and Mintyy's, and Blu's - was that contrary to your blanket assertions, a lot of London state secondaries are rather good. A point you have not conceded.

Mimadre Tue 30-Apr-13 21:43:12

And no motherinferior I am making the point that the schools I have experience of do not meet MY criteria of good and the good schools that are non-selective are not ones I can get my child into because I can't afford the houses within the catchment area.

I even went as far as giving details of what I pay for school fees and even with adding that school fees to house price I don't come close.

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 21:46:08

Bella - posting that you don't believe that I can live on £500 a week net of tax is a rather stupid to say. A lot of people don't even earn £500 a week gross.

Here lies the problem. In your little world a family couldn't possibly live on £500 a week net. So of course people on £80-£100k can't possibly afford private school .

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 21:47:45

I've just looked at the fees for the Southern Merchant Taylor's compared to the Northern Merchant Taylor's. The fees for the Southern (seniors) are in excess of £16,000 whereas the Northern one (which is in Liverpool) is less than £10,000. That's a huge difference, considering the two schools look pretty similar.

Having said that private school fees are out of reach of most people, despite their best efforts to budget. That's why I personally like the grammar system. I know it only serves the few but it is a chance for poor kids to compete with wealthier kids on a level playing field.

motherinferior Tue 30-Apr-13 21:49:50

No, your first point was: 'I wonder if those praising state education live in or near London'?

And three of us have said yes.

You continued: 'It always makes me laugh when parents who live in the million pound homes near excellent state schools smugly inform me of how happy they are with state eduction and how inclusive they are - forgetting that the make up of their primary schools are actually more exclusive with children from similar backgrounds.'

To which I've responded that in fact that is not representative of my children's schools.

Yes, I then rather frivolously conceded the point that my kids' schools are not Entirely Naice In Every Way, and you've rather leapt on that to imply that my own academic standards are clearly a bit slack and that's why I've gone down this route....

Mimadre Tue 30-Apr-13 21:55:59

You are making assumptions as to how I have perceived your academic standards. It would certainly be stupid to assume that parents who are articulating their points such as you are do not give a fig about their child's education. I stated the stereotype about how these debates are framed.

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 21:59:33

Disclaimer before I post

I haven't read all of the thread (biggest sin I know), but my comments on your op post OP is what the hell is your fixation with private schooling?

There are some great state schools still going.

motherinferior Tue 30-Apr-13 22:00:50

But you expressed the stereotype. I do live in London. My local schools are good. They are extremely mixed and they're not simply full of rich white kids. (In truth, both Blu's family and mine are rather ethnically mixed anyway...)

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 22:02:44

This is getting boring people. We holiday in the UK. We drive 10 year old cars. Because of the age of us and the car the insurance is negligible. Mortgage is £1k pm. We buy food in bulk so food bill is about £50 a week. We don't have Sky or gym membership. We don't smoke or drink. School fees include swimming, football etc so no additional activities to pay for. Family activities include walking, cycling, tennis/basketball in the park. All free stuff.

All the above means that we can afford to privately educate two kids on a sub £100k salary. Believe it/don't believe. Its up to you.

And no mintyy, we don't do this in order to afford school fees.

As I said, this is getting boring <reaches for HIDE button>

m5stelle Tue 30-Apr-13 22:03:07

hmmmm I disagree with the point about the North being so cheap housewise or schoolwise. Take Harrogate 70k would buy you a one bedroom flat, for a 4 bedroom terraced you are looking more at 600-700k.

Then you have other nice places like Ilkley & most nice areas in York that are even more expensive.

Leeds or Manchester - yes you can buy a 4 bedroom house for 170k but in extremely undesirable areas.......we used to live in a 250k 3 bed semi in a pretty rough area, where you got your door kicked in every month.

We have now upgraded to a nicer village but even in our rural village in the middle of nowhere you can't get anything for 170k. A 4/5 bed with a pokey garden has just gone for 560k.

Private schools around here vary dramatically, you get one charging 17.5k per year, another 14.5 and another 12k. So I am not sure the North is as cheap as people down south think!! Manchester grammar might be cheap, but there are plenty that aren't!!

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 22:04:23

I know nothing very little about private schools in London but are they really full of rich, white kids?

Mimadre Tue 30-Apr-13 22:05:30

And my family is ethnically mixed too. You are stating your experience of London schools depending on where you live and I am stating mine.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 22:05:42

For god's sake. You can't use Harrogate and Ilkley as typical examples of house prices in the North hmm

motherinferior Tue 30-Apr-13 22:06:45

You generalised based on your experience, and I pointed out that it was an unfair generalisation, and that your experience is not necessarily typical. That's my point.

m5stelle Tue 30-Apr-13 22:07:46

No I used them to say there are expensive places too in the North. The rest of the post referred to Leeds and Manchester. Just curious where you can find a 170k 4 bed house in a nice area in Leeds as can't think of a single place that would offer that.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 22:11:08

Of course there are expensive areas in the North but generally speaking, house prices are cheaper in the North.

I can hardly believe I actually had to type that last sentence

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 22:13:00

OP as with Mother I live in inner London too. DC's have had a wonderful education in state schools, there's a very pricey private one down the street (literally), a friend sent her eldest there and by the time he did his gcse's he was smokin' dope, a graffiti artist, and a rebel.

He's a lovely guy, don't get me wrong, he refused to spend 6th form there based on his knowledge of economics and politics, and very successfully completed his A levels in a state school. His little brother refused to entertain the private school at all and chose a state school for his secondary education and is more successful academically than his older brother (and this family could well afford to do it, and good for them).

Most of the intake there was not middle class but 'monied' people, if you get my meaning, aka the nouveau riche.

Oh well, just saying, depends on the child, a good school, probably parental support, and academic abilities, but there's some stuff you just can't buy.

I have a bad feeling I may need a hard hat now shock

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 22:16:55

who are the nouveau riche Monty? Are they working-class people who've made some money and had the temerity to become more affluent than some middle-class people?

Willdoitinaminute Tue 30-Apr-13 22:17:18

Bella to net 40k after tax you only need to earn about 50K you are only taxed at 40% on anything you earn above 42k. not on the whole 40K. The tax on an income of 50K is just under 10K. A mistake many people make when they are not familiar with the tax system. If you earn 80k you would net approx 58K this would give you 18K more than you have estimated. enough for fees for one child.

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 22:20:14

Blimey just went back up thread again and read a bit more as there were so many cross posts, there are some up your own arse views on here it has to be said.

No, private schools are not full of white kids, ffs

Mimadre Tue 30-Apr-13 22:22:22

And yours is? Is there not a subjectivity to those who choose to engage in these discussions? As part of our work outreach to schools we work on literacy with inner London schools and that has also contributed to my views. Glad your schools are great but the schools I have contact with are not.

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 22:31:20

Justgiveme no my phrase 'nouveau riche' does not refer to any temerity, in fact I don't quite understand why you would use that word confused.

I am discussing people who have the choice to educate privately just because they can afford to, as with my friend who educated her eldest in PE good luck to them, but the 'nouveau riche' of whom I speak are hard working, working class people, and are under an illusion that the private school down the street is what they have to do because it is better than state education, probably because they've listened to some of the snobbery and bullshit of the ilk that's written on here. There are brilliant state schools here.

Just do you not understand 'nouveau riche?'

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 22:32:24

You haven't answered my question about your 'nouveau riche' comment Monty

dragonflymama Tue 30-Apr-13 22:32:56

Interesting & contraversial topic! We have one child in prep school and one on the way, who will go to the prep nursery as dd1 did. We are planning (and budgeting!) to educate them both privately through primary and secondary. There is no doubt that it is expensive and whilst we have a good income on paper, we certainly make sacrifices to afford it e.g. type & frequency of holidays, how much I work, when to make big purchases (usually delayed), number of dc we have, etc. Regardless of whether you choose state or private, you will always question how right your decision is. I would suggest academic / professional success is not the only measure, especially as it's the one you have to wait a long time for! We don't actually think our children will be "that much smarter" or have "much better jobs" than if they were state educated, which in a way helps manage our expectations. Happiness, social engagement, confidence, participation in extra curricular activities are some of the other measures we use on a daily / weekly basis to justify our decision. At the end of the day, we just feel the school is the right fit for our children and our family as a whole and hope we will stand by our decision with the value of hindsight in 15-20 years!

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 22:35:03

Lol at cross-post.

I do understand what 'nouveau riche' means monty I've always understood it to be a perjorative term used by snobby middle-class types.

Jinsei Tue 30-Apr-13 22:35:13

OP, I genuinely think you are beating yourself up for no good reason. Do you really think that your kids will be much worse off if they are educated in the state system? Are independent schools necessarily any better than good state schools? Are you happier as a result of having gone to a private school? Richer? Healthier? Better educated?

I went to a state primary followed by a state comp, and then on to Cambridge. I have a mix of friends educated in the state and independent sectors, including some at very prestigious and well-known private schools. Twenty years on, I do not perceive any noticeable trends to suggest that the friends who were privately educated are any happier or more successful than those of us who were state educated.

We only have one dd, live in a very affordable part of the country and have a good income. We could comfortably afford to send dd to a private school if we chose to, but with fantastic state schools on our doorstep, I genuinely can't see the point.

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 22:36:03

Mim was that to me? If so, all the schools around here have a diverse population if that's what you mean.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 22:37:06


OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 22:38:23

monty I'm thinking like the kayden in DD's swimming class. His parents have a new Porsche and a new Mercedes grin

Jinsei Tue 30-Apr-13 22:40:37

Regardless of whether you choose state or private, you will always question how right your decision is

I don't. I couldn't be happier with the education that dd is receiving, and genuinely don't think the local private schools are as good, so it's a complete no-brainer for us.

Obviously, it would be different in an area where the state schools werent up to much, but I'd probably invest any extra cash in moving to a better area before I'd choose private education.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 30-Apr-13 22:41:06

Fees at all three private schools where I live in the north are all a bit above £5k a term for day pupils year 9 and up. That's a lot of imaginary houses in 'good' catchment areas.

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 22:41:37

Just you don't appear to, pmsl at 'perjorative'

You still don't seem to get it, google it.

From my working class education it means people who have merited wealth by their own means and hard work and effort.

It might not be an oxford dictionary speak but you know, in a working class person's speak, such as I am, despite you assumptions. grin grin

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 22:41:39


There are LEAs that are failing to send any children on to RG universities. I for one don't believe that these children are less capable than their privately educated counterparts. You are lucky to have 'fantastic state schools' on your doorstep but many people in this country don't have the same experience.

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 22:43:20


JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 22:47:40

Monty You know as well as I do it's a term used to mock the wealthy who don;t happen to be blessed with being middle-class. Don't pretend otherwise. That's why, after using it to describe somebody you then said you'd better get your tin hat on.

And please stop saying things like 'don't you understand' and 'you don;t get it.' Disagreeing with you doesn't mean I'm stupid hmm

Jinsei Tue 30-Apr-13 22:48:25

I know that just, but I also know that there are lots of fantastic state schools around the country. And some very dodgy private ones.

Which LEAs don't send any students to RG universities? (Not that I necessarily buy into the idea that RG universities are universally better than non-RG institution)

olgaga Tue 30-Apr-13 22:48:29

Most people who can't quite afford private education seem to be able to afford tutors for problematic subjects - it certainly worked for my niece and nephew.

I'm not sure I'd go to those lengths though!

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 22:53:25

Just it's how it was defined to me when I was taught sociology in my very working class school, it was a while ago, granted.

I have absolutely no problem with people working honestly and hard and earning bundles, in fact I wish I was one of them.

Sorry, I didn't mean to offend you, I get a bit cross about education snobbery and I'm certainly not a snob, so perhaps I was slightly offended by your assumption.

serin Tue 30-Apr-13 22:58:43

DH works in a very good private school.

Teachers kids get a free place.

We turned the places down, just felt that there would be way too much pressure on them, and didn't like the distance they would have to travel either.

They are happy at the local faith school and have so far got the highest grades. They couldn't have got any higher.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 22:59:36

I made a mistake. The LEA I was referring to, namely Knowsley did send some pupils to RG unis. A whopping 2%.

They failed to send a single child to Oxbridge though.

It makes me so fucking angry I could cry. All that wasted talent and in the meantime we all come on here bleating about ten year old beaten up Volvos and fantastic primaries on outr doorsteps when really we should be protesting on the streets about the wasted educations these children are suffering. I, like you am state educated and did well academically but I also realise that's not where the story ends. That doesn't mean that everything in the garden is rosy. It isn't in bloody Knowsley.



Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 23:00:38


And if I did have 'bundles' I wouldn't choose private education. Just for the record.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 23:03:36

Would you be tempted though Monty, if you lived in Knowsley?

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Tue 30-Apr-13 23:03:43

The nouveau riche is the middle class. HTH. grin

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 23:04:18


The only thing that is boring is your inability or unwillingness to answer my point about your outgoings, especially rent or mortgage.

You asked me what our outgoings were and I gave you some rough figures.

You have avoided saying what yours are.

I am fully aware that some people live on less than £500 a week- each of my adult children do, for starters.

That is not the discussion we are having though. The discussion is how do YOU pay £23K in school fees, and have £80K income and stay in the black - when presumably you have to feed and house 4 of you and pay all the bills associated with that.

You are the one being boring by being so evasive- which implies you are not being honest, so I shall ignore you from now on.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 23:08:23

willdo what you wrote is not correct. The tax is much higher than you stated- and I can JUST about understand how tax works- thanks- I pay it myself as an employed person!

Try looking here

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 23:08:44


How helpful of you to provide a link that confirms it is a pejorative term.

ohtobecleo Tue 30-Apr-13 23:18:06

Apologies if this has been covered by someone up-thread but the fees for private education are just the start.

You need to consider all the social pressures and materialism that 'keeping up with the jones' brings with being at private school. Not to mention all the extra-curricular costs that are 'optional' (but expected).

I was privately-educated and wouldn't dream of putting my DS through that - even if I could afford it. I found it elitist and snobby and in no way representative of the real world. Of course the education was very good, but I have had no complaints about the education that my DS has received so far in the state sector (he's in yr 7) - and I'm in London so the demographic is very diverse.

Oh, and the apologetic tone of some on this thread about the fact that they chose state v private really troubles me.

LastOrdersAtTheBra Tue 30-Apr-13 23:23:58

I was miserable and bullied at private school, I have absolutely no qualms about sending my DC to state school. Not that we could afford it even if it was a decision I had a huge amount of angst over, but I'm glad I've escaped that.

wordfactory Tue 30-Apr-13 23:28:22

nouveau riche is of course a pejorative term.

It's usually used by the middle classes, whoc an no longer afford anyhting they want, to put down those who can afford it.

They want to continue feeling superior so they need to denigrate others. They can no longer do it by having more cash (they don't have any) or by having more education (the arrivistes are often equally well educated) so they concentrate on where the money comes from and how it is spent...

Interestingly, the new money don't give a shit and just get on with the business of enjoying life grin.

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 23:30:55

But not 'perjorative' grin

Just I know Knowsley's in the North West, but I'm South East London, and still, I just think it's wrong and believe that the state should be giving every child an exellent education no matter what the background and you should have to or even need to pay for it, no matter your wealth.

The rich pay enough taxes don't they? (Well most). We need to keep a good state education spinning for those that can't pay for it.

Let the government dip into their coffers to do so, after all, they are fleecing the well paid in taxes.

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 23:36:24


JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 23:38:55

I believe that the state should be giving every child an excellent education too. Only a mad person would want to pay twice for something.

wordfactory Tue 30-Apr-13 23:39:12

As new money myself, I think it's a term to be proud of. It means that DH and I earned every penny ourselves. Not bad considering...

But I know that's not how some people mean it.

But let them fester in penuary clinging to their faux superiority. I'm content to give them their comfort blanket grin.

ReallyTired Tue 30-Apr-13 23:42:48

I am sending my children to state schools even though I went to private secondary. I was desperately unhappy at my private girls' school even though I had an amazing education.

School fees have risen well above inflation year in year out for the last twenty years. Its no wonder that private education is out of reach for most middle class children.

However I don't feel I am giving my children less than my parents gave me. My parents worked all the hours that Gawd sent to put two children through private education. My children see far more of their parents growing up than we did.

Monty27 Tue 30-Apr-13 23:51:09

I think we're almost all agreeing right now smile

Every child is entitled to an excellent education paid for by the state from the coffers of the treasury.

No matter what background. If only.....

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 23:53:31

LastOrders - yup, there isn't any bullying at state schools since, as you know, that kind of stuff only happens at private schools [sarcasm emoticon]

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 30-Apr-13 23:57:29

Exactly Monty. But the reality is different for a lot of people.

grovel Wed 01-May-13 00:07:42

What is penuary?

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 00:11:18

Why do people insist on going on about how they were unhappy at their private school so they aren't going to send their kids to one. It's like the staff at an Italian restaurant was rude therefore you are never going to eat Italian ever again.

Elsewhere you got people complaining about snobby and bitchy private school parents as if they don't exist at state schools.

And then there are the anecdotes about how x went private and is now a druggie and how y went to a comp and is now a doctor. It proves nothing. My friend went to private school and is now a £150k pa plus bonus MD at an American bank but let's focus on the crash and burn kids eh?

There are those who would argue that private education is inequitable because a lot of the top jobs are disproportionately filled by private school alumni.

Then are those who would argue that private education is a waste of money because it offers nothing that you can't get for free.

Which one is it? Are private school inequitable or a waste of money?

seeker Wed 01-May-13 00:14:29

"Why do people insist on going on about how they were unhappy at their private school so they aren't going to send their kids to one"

Maybe to counteract the overwhelming tide of anti state school propaganda on this site?

Monty27 Wed 01-May-13 00:26:44

Just I get that, but if we all insisted and didn't have the private system at all we'd be in with a chance of decent schools as a right not a privilege. For the nouveau riche, the gentry, the bourgouis and elitists or whoever. (please don't pull me on spelling at this time of night smile)

Oh I'm on my equality bandwagon, best I go to bed per chance to dream of it.

MsAverage Wed 01-May-13 00:27:59

I do not understand why the calculations went into the direction of "Will I survive after paying for the school?". Let's do some other maths, let's think like economists and assess the alternative investments.

By not sending a child to a private school, but saving exactly the same money, we will get 13 years x £12k = £156k plus compound interest. This means a gift either of a flat in London / house elsewhere (ladies and gents, meet a mortgage-free property owner aged 18) or, say, 3 buy-to-let properties. Will this trade off a 3% decreased chance of getting into Oxbridge? Downright yes for me.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 00:32:27

seeker - how can you say the things that you do about your DS's state school and then go on about the overwhelming anti state school propaganda here on MN?

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 00:34:23

MsAverage - you can't buy a cupboard for that kind of money in London.

peacemoon Wed 01-May-13 00:37:23

Both myself and my DH were privately educated at a very expensive boarding school paid for by parents from relatively humble backgrounds (mine a single parent) who worked hard and I think that's the point if you really want something badly enough you will make sacrifices etc to get it.Bear in mind it is not just the fees that cost money, there's uniform, games kit, music lessons, trips and of course keeping up with the Huntingly-Jones's. We have 4 DC and it has never even crossed our minds to send them to private school as they are doing really well where they are with no pressure and an ability to get on with people from all walks of life, unlike a lot of people we went to school with who had no cocept of ordinary hard working people or society outwith their life of privilege.

MsAverage Wed 01-May-13 00:37:47

MTS, the relationship between private schooling and getting to the top jobs may go in the opposite direction: not private school leavers take all the major posts because they schooled privately,

but 7th baronets and 4th generation stockbrokers, who are going to take the major posts because they are from wealthy and influential background, go to the private schools because their wealthy parents have plenty of money on all the forms on spending.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 00:39:04

.. in anycase a lot of the parents that we know are paying £x ,000 in school fees AND got a trust fund set up for Tristan or Arabella's town house upon graduating. For a lot of families it isnt an either-or decision.

peacemoon Wed 01-May-13 00:40:16

Oh and by the way I didn't have a miserable time at private school, it was great as was my time at a state primary before I went!

MsAverage Wed 01-May-13 00:42:15

MTS, one bedroom flat in London? Of course, I can

MsAverage Wed 01-May-13 00:47:35

MTS, the option AND is not a subject of this topic. If you have AND your pension sorted, AND children's homes on their way, you tend to have enough money for any other threats for children.

Normally the question of private/state occurs when people are in OR situation. And in such position I would choose a house deposit rather than smaller class size.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 00:51:33

MsAverage - I accept that there is a Eton>Oxbridge>Permanent Secretary career fast path filled with people with quadruple barrelled surnames but they are a relative minority these days. In any case if you was uber rich would you really be sitting in an office doing a 9 to 5 job albeit a very well paid one?

ThisIsMummyPig Wed 01-May-13 00:53:12

I realised long before I had children that I would probably send them to a state school, and pay for top-up private education for the things that they need (firstly coaching for the 11+) in the same way that I pay privately for swimming, dancing and music lessons. I've never really understood why people would make huge sacrifices to provide an education that a child might not need. (either because they got an excellent state education, or because it just isn't something that interests them)

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 01:06:53

Everyone has an anecdote about someone who is working several jobs etc to pay for their DC to go private. I have yet to meet such a parent. My friends are funding the fees from spare cash.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 01:11:01

Reading it back my post seems a bit random. I was addressing the comment about parents sacrificing a lot for a private education. I have yet to meet such a parent

Blu Wed 01-May-13 04:40:36

If we had a household income of £80k we would be able to afford private Ed, because after the school fees there would still be far more than the average wage left. And MTS has an additional salary from her DH. Providing the savings and pension.

Actually on £80k I'd manage a few bottles of wine, too! I have a £900 mortgage PCM.

mummytime Wed 01-May-13 05:47:32

Actually to be honest when our eldest came up to secondary age, DH had a better salary (more than £100,000) and we looked at private schools. We loved one but my eldest really didn't like it, and as it is a bit of an alternative school we decided not to go for it.
I looked at the other schools and choose his State school, as the only two privates that seemed to match him; involved a long journey each day. The state seemed just as good and was far closer.

Since the recession, it has been a very good choice for us, as we have far less income.

Caladria Wed 01-May-13 05:50:35


Sutton isn't London.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 06:43:18

MTS how do define "spare cash" we're not funding our fees from spare cash we fund them from our monthly wages we literally put an amount by every month. Obviously if we weren't paying the fees it would be "spare". Also how do you define several jobs my DH wouldn't have time for several jobs as he works loads of hours at one job. I have two jobs because I work part time at both sometimes I work 50 hours a week other times only 20 that's my choice. Ultimately if I wasn't paying the fees I'd only have one job and work 20 hours a week.

Wishihadabs Wed 01-May-13 07:22:37

I have recently posted on another of these threads. We also fall in to this income bracket. DH was privately educated, me state. My exam results (GCSE, A level and degree) are all better than his. I have higher eArning potential, I would also say I have a better work ethic and problem solving skills.

IMO his private education has made him prone to being lazy and entitled.The only positive is that he has some vair naice friends whom will lend us their 2nd homes.

So for us, not worth the sacrifices to send dc. However come back to me once Ds has failed the 11+.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 07:28:29

Happy - The parents that we know aren't making a choice between school fees and essentials like food, heating etc. To them the fees money is 'spare' in that sense.

As for the 'several jobs' comment I was thinking of a post where someone knew someone who knew someone who had two cleaning gigs and the husband drove a van by day and worked in a warehouse by night, just to scrape together enough to pay the fees. If that is you then I tip my virtual hat at you.

Wishihadabs Wed 01-May-13 07:41:08

btw DH went to a major public school.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 07:58:15

MTS its ok you don't need to tip tour hat we're paying out of our "spare" income. My experience is really limited to boarding school and their massive fees but like you I don't I've ever met anyone who isn't paying fees out of their "spare" income.
Wish just because its 'a major public school' doesn't mean one that it will get top results or two turn our workaholics.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 07:58:42

never not ever!

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 08:04:29

Wish - a friend's BF is ex public school. Parents had shed loads of money which he knew he would inherit one day so he wasn't particularly driven academic/job wise. Today he is a 30 something party organiser/DJ with dreams of owning his own night club .... once he inherits.

My point? Family having shed loads of money made him lazy and entitled, not his private/public school.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 08:56:04

Wish there are plenty of lazy children in state schools as well. I don't think you can blame the school or even the parents. We've got friends with absolute shed loads of money including those who inherit it some of their children are exceedingly industrious and hard working (like many of thie parents). I personally think its more complex than school and or how wealthy or not your family are. In another life I used to work with/train horses some are plain idle reluctant to put one leg in front of the other, others are hyperactive and impossible to wear out like people its all to do with personality.

wordfactory Wed 01-May-13 09:13:47

Oh you get lazy kids everywhere. Doesn't seem to matter a jot if they were rich or poor.

But I think people like the idea that advanatges like being rich or going to private school is actually a curse. It makes them feel better. Like those who look at a happy couple and go 'you never know what goes on behind closed doors'.

I have been poor and I can absolutley assure everyone that it is much nicer being rich grin...

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 09:29:21

word - the tabloids seem to like stories about Lotto winners who get divorced and/lose all their friends because of the money. Money doesn't buy you happiness seems to be the underlying theme.

MN is full of threads about shit relationships and grabby friends and relatives. Chuck in £1m plus and of course you'll see the problem magnified.

Apparently stories about Lotto winners helping grown up DCs with mortgages and stuff isn't what their readership want to read.

Maybe there is also a German word for this but I find that some people who don't have money like to think that people who do inevitably lead unhappy lives but don't realise this.

Like you, I use to be poor and now I'm not. I'm a lot happier now smile

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 09:36:49

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wordfactory Wed 01-May-13 09:38:40

It's like a protection mechanism.

If you assume that those who have what you don't have are actually unhappy and having a harder time than you are, t makes the situation palatable.

If I were a conspiracy theorist I might say that this notion was put about by the rich to ensure everyone else was happy with their lot!!!

seeker Wed 01-May-13 09:47:36

Fair enough, MTS- you know best.

(Although I think you might be knowing best on the wrong thread.......)

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 10:03:52

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Wishihadabs Wed 01-May-13 10:36:11

Right have to be brief being a workaholic and all. Firstly DH's family aren't minted GPs paid for his schooling. Secondly I agree about belittling what you can't or have choose not to have. For example MTS doesn't want to believe that .my dcs will do just as well at state school as they would had we both worked ft and lived on economy chicken so we could afford the school fees.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 10:36:50

"But I think people like the idea that advanatges like being rich or going to private school is actually a curse. It makes them feel better"
Talking of making them feel better it never ceases to amaze me that those who are anti independent education also in the same breath manage to state that there is no difference between what a good state schools offers and achieves and any independent schools. If this was the case why attack independent ed so vociferously? I don't like Cath Kitson but I don't go on an on line forum berating people who IMO waste their money on it. Its my money why cant I spend it how I choose especially if the outcome will be identical or as some seen to state (hope) even worse.
MTS word I am not convinced that serious "shed loads" of money makes you happy. My DH has the pleasure or not depending on your point of view of working with the some of the richest people in the world (although they pay his wages and therefore our bills including the school fees). They are certainly no happier than we are and have many problems in thier lives. A good friend whose DH is high on the Sunday Times Rich List once told me that no one has ever said no to her husband. I just can't equate this this with happiness.

Wishihadabs Wed 01-May-13 10:38:02

As it is we have two pt jobs, 2 foreign holidays a year eat out plenty and believe our dcs are doing just fine.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 10:45:34

Wish If I stated what you stated my DS are doing just fine etc I'm accused of being arrogant.
Your DC's are doing well and happy at their school I'm delighted for you and many others in state ed do but many don't for a whole variety of reason but do flourish and thrive in independent ed. Such is life.
It is those who don't have the financial recourses to afford 2 foreign holidays a year and eating out regularly and therefore cant give them up to afford the fees and who live in cachments with crap state schools that concern me.

Wishihadabs Wed 01-May-13 10:48:56

Absolutely happy. I came on here to make OP feel better.We would have a v. low threshold for switching to PE. We are fortunate to be in that position.

Wishihadabs Wed 01-May-13 10:53:00

And I don't think PE confers advantage. I think having MC educated involved parents confers advantage.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 10:57:32

"I think having MC educated involved parents confers advantage."
Absolutely but not in the same league as having multi millionaire parents. wink

Wishihadabs Wed 01-May-13 11:02:52

Multimillionaire and involved

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 11:04:29

Maybe not overly involved multimillionaires its all about who you know.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 11:05:01

wish - where do I make the assertion that other people's DCs can't be happy in a state school? confused

The OP asked how people on £80-£100k can afford private education. I told the OP how we can afford it. I don't recall telling you or anyone else that their DCs can't possibly be happy or successful at a state school.

And we are not making sacrifices in order to pay school fees. The kids get to go abroad with their schools. We get to go abroad on business. So come 'holiday time' we don't want to hop onto yet another plane.

As for eating 'economy chicken' we buy chicken in bulk from a wholesaler. Just because you like to buy 'posh' chicken from Waitrose doesn't make me penny pinching.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 11:08:55

MTS I know we've had tis argument before I will be happy to accept you figures if you break them down I know my maths at times is a bit crap but I just cant £28 000 PA n an income of £80 000 pay. Unless 1 is not on PAYE and therefore not being taxed to to the eyeballs.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 11:14:58

Happy - I am not saying that money makes you happy (the happiest guy I know is the guy who cuts my grass and trims my trees and hedges) but to listen to some people talk friends and relations only became grabby and entitled after they got rich

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 11:18:51

Yup, happy, I really do want to detail my finances on MN for all to see, just to convince you.

bella65 Wed 01-May-13 11:30:34

MrTGroupie Yup, happy, I really do want to detail my finances on MN for all to see, just to convince you.

Well don't ask others ( me!) to do something you are not willing to do yourself.

I suspect your income is nearer £100K than £80K- why give such a huge range anyway? Or you are self employed and perhaps avoid tax at the full rate. or you are not contributing to a company pension pot and keep more income that way. or you are topping up from your partner's income and just not saying!

You have yet to convince me and others how you support a family of 4 on £500 net a week ( which is left after you pay school fees) if you have anything like the average mortgage, council tax, utilities, fuel, and insurance policies.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 11:34:39

I dont think you just need to convince me there are others who are sceptical as well! You don't have to detail your micro expenses just give us a rough idea. I've just done it and once you've paid all your mortgage (£1000 in your case) life insurance car insurance petrols utilities food road tax you know all the essentials you've got about £200 PCM left for a family of 4 and no room for any unexpected bills eg dentist new clutch etc or clothes school uniform etc . I think most people would think that pretty tight.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 11:35:35

This was two adults on £80 000 PA one earning £50 000 the other £30 000 both paying PAYE no company car.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 01-May-13 11:44:11

MTS - Meet me

Monday- Thursday I work in the offices of a plumbing company. Evenings, Friday until 8pm and Saturdays I work at a children's drama class

Monday- Fruday my husband works as a teacher. Evenings. & weekends he gives private music lessons. Holidays he does freelance workshops.

Wishihadabs Wed 01-May-13 11:46:03

Multimillionaire and involved

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 11:48:00

Bella - read the OP it ask how people on £80-£100k can afford to go private. So why are you asking ME why I am giving such a wide range?

Also, I was originally asked to detail my outgoings. I simply flipped things around and asked people to show me why they can't afford it.

The 'funny' thing is that I am not out to convince anyone that THEY can afford to go private. Yet people are keen to convince ME that I can't. smile

derektheladyhamster Wed 01-May-13 12:04:15

We live on £500/week and out of that have to pay school fees. (we have a bursery though) That includes running 2 cars.

seeker Wed 01-May-13 12:04:26

Fair enough, MTS, you know best.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 12:06:34

Happy - NHS polish and clean once every 9 months (blessed with healthy teeth) Children obviously free so no unexpected bills there.

Uniforms? 2nd hand shop at school for branded stuff. Tesco pack of three blue shirts. Matalan grey trousers.

Clothes? Casual at work so no expensive work clothes to buy. I buy expensive looking but cheap stuff from HK when I'm there on business smile

Car? Car is old and so am I'm. That plus low crime area means house and car insurance is neglible. Car is built to last plus I am a kind driver so no burning tyres at traffic lights and screeching stops either so new tyres every two years plus new disk pads is as bad as it gets most years.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 12:09:12

Welcome Derek. Finally, some backup.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 12:13:37

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derektheladyhamster Wed 01-May-13 12:13:38

We go camping for our holidays though, can't do the foreign holidays grin

cory Wed 01-May-13 12:19:05

These threads always go the same way: every time it turns out that the people who tell you that affording school fees are only a matter of tightening your belt and driving a cheap car earn wages that seem astronomical compared to those of myself and my friends.

The really useful advice on this thread came from wordfactory:

"I am a firm believer that there is no point worrying about things you cannot afford to give your DC. It is utterly corrosive. One has to concentrate on what one can give."


"But I should say it is very silly not to give your DC somehting you can give for fear that they might feel bad if they can't.

You could say that about anyhting. Oh better not buy that nice house in case it makes my DC feel sad if they can't afford one. Oh better not go that nice holiday...better not buy decent food..."

Of course you might have other, perfectly valid reasons for not sending your child to private school.

But worrying in case it makes them sad in the future is just wasted effort. You have no idea what your dc's life is going to be like in 30 years time, what their priorities will be and what they will be able to give their children that you can't.

I had a lovely free-ranging childhood, rambling around the countryside. My dd spent most of her childhood in a wheelchair. So should my mother have cut my legs off just to make sure I didn't feel guilty later in life?

Everybody gets their own life. In some respects it is likely to be worse than their parents', in some respects it is likely to be better. Enjoy the good things about your own life and teach your children to do the same.

seeker Wed 01-May-13 12:19:08

Fair enough, MTS, you know best.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 01-May-13 12:25:22

I've just found a post from 5 years ago when I went through my bank statement and listed our then month luv incomings and outgoings

It was basically

Monthly Income: 2,750

Food & household items £292
Meals Out £80
Takeaways £20
Mortgage £436
Insurances £206
Petrol £100
Utilities £320
Clothes & presents £60
One off bill £30
Other/cashpoint £50
School Fees ISA £1000

Those figures have now changed. Petrol is probably double, our income has gone up to about 3,500 per month and school fees are now around £1,400 per month. I also have dance bills for dd of £100 per month

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 12:31:03

Cory - who is telling you that you can afford private if only you tighten your belt or drive a cheap car? I'm certainly not.

We are banking DP's salary for our retirement. If it wasn't for that I certainly wouldnt want to be a poor senior citizen living off a state pension with only expensively educated DCs to show for decades of work

You are right. These threads always end up the same way. Posters like yourself ask people like me how we can afford it. We then explain how WE can afford it. You then accuse us of telling you that you too can afford if only you live like we do.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 12:34:21

Picture. You paid £206 a month in insurance? Did you have a Ferrari and was you living on top of a geological fault line? smile

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 01-May-13 12:59:25

That was car, buildings, house contents, PPI and critical illness if I remember correctly for me and dh

handcream Wed 01-May-13 13:09:04

Suspect that £206 refers to ALL insurances such as critical illness, life insurance, house insurance etc!

The thing is if there were no private schools then the state really couldnt cope with the influx and what is to stop people with money just living in the 'posh' areas and having very small catchment areas for the schools with overpriced (if there is such a thing!) houses that are then sold onto to other people with money etc. Those schools would be like the private schools - without the fees....

Chosing to pay again for your DC's education I feel makes you really focus on picking the right school.

FWIW - my DH went to a private school - I didnt and he earns 3 times what I do. My school was rubbish btw. It was the year grammar's were scrapped and I went to a sec modern (horrible it was too!).

Its really me that has pushed the private route. It started off when we had to pay childcare which equated to about the same as prep schools. Clearly now fees have gone up as the DC's has got older but our secret weapon and the reason I am not worrying about money and whether we can afford it is the equity we have in our current house in the SE after having lived here for the last 15 years.

Of course we need to live somewhere but not necessarily in a house like this. We could go smaller should the fees become unaffordable

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 13:15:46

We pay approx £55 pm for two cars and household insurance. No PPI or illness cover.

I spend £2500 pa less on food than Bella. I spend £1800 pa less on insurance compared to you. No wonder people are going on about how THEY would be unable to afford private on £80-£100k.

bella65 Wed 01-May-13 13:16:35

The reason I am asking you, is because you tried to give me a lesson in cooking cheaply ( and TBH I'd rather eat beans on toast than feed my family battery farmed chicken)

You said you would tell me how to afford private schools if I told you our outgoings. I gave some rough figures- which included mortgage payments of around £1K a month.

Now if you don't have a mortgage ( maybe paid off with your partner's income? ) then you have considerably more each month with which to pay school fees.

You have consistently refused to answer this issue of mortgages, preferring to rabbit on about food, cars and UK holidays.

We do all of those things you say you do- but unless you put housing into your sums then it's all rather meaningless.

Cost of living in the SE is much higher than anywhere else and although £80K may seem a lot to some people, it isn't when you factor in housing and even higher fuel and food costs in different parts of the UK.

bella65 Wed 01-May-13 13:18:45

MTS the insurances are for house contents, building insurance and life cover. They are very reasonable in themselves- we shop around- and my car costs me under £190 to insure- it's 11 years old and DH has a company car.

Maybe you are under insured.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 13:46:00

Forgot life cover. Make that £75 pm then.

Pictures has PPI and illness cover. People are more likely to claim on that so those premiums can rack up your monthly payments. We are optimists so we have neither.

Underinsured? These days the basic level is quite generous. £1m buildings. £50k contents. So, no, not really.

Bella - if you think that £206 pm is a good deal then you are either a PPI salesman's dream or you new to get a new quote.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 01-May-13 13:50:34

We took out extra insurances because of school fees because we know someone whose children had to leave school when the father died.

Since then we have got a better deal on car insurance and dropped the PPI (when I went partly self employed). As I said those figures are 5 years old.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 13:59:32

Bella - I originally posted that my mortgage is £1k. You've even posted that it was the same as yours. So why do you keep bleating on about how I refuse to declare my mortgage payments?

You ask me about my outgoings. I tell you that I spend about £2500 pa a year less on food compared to you. Now you are bleating on about me lecturing you on how to economize.

You've plugged in my school fees into your outgoings and you have a figure of £500 net pw to spend. There are people here who don't even have £500 pw gross. Yet you insist that I prove that I can afford to support a family on 500 pw net ???

This is why I can't be bothered to seriously engage you on the subject.

notcitrus Wed 01-May-13 14:03:00

I went to private school - expat brat so most of secondary was paid for. We had a reunion a few years back where most of us had two year olds, and people started talking about schools. About half were going private and had never considered not doing, simply because that's What You Do. A bit of questioning showed that all but one of these families were relying on parents to pay for it.

A couple drinks later the group had split into two, those of us going state because we don't have a spare hundred grand in the family to cover fees, and the private posse.

Elibean Wed 01-May-13 14:17:57

There is quite a lot of personal attack stuff going on on this thread.

I'm with Happy. We can make different choices for our children (mine are state, by the way, by choice) depending on values and situations, and that is normal and good.

I have gained a lot of insight from reading education threads about private/state ed, but I don't like reading references to posters' personal lives, or to other threads. It makes me a bit sad

Elibean Wed 01-May-13 14:18:47

Come to think of it, we can also make different choices based on similar values but different situations. Or vice versa.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 14:20:57

My friend is a teacher. Her father owns a 30 room hotel in Cyprus. So not poor but not quite Mr Hilton. Anyway, she went private and because her dad is rich and she and her husband aren't the dad is paying for prep I don't see why the whole thing about GPs paying is worth mentioning.

Elibean Wed 01-May-13 14:32:36

Possibly to help the OP feel better about not being easily able to afford prep?

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 14:37:10

The post was followed by the comment that the party divided into two groups - those who had rich parents and those who didn't.

I suspect that the subliminal message was that people with rich parents are snobs as opposed making the OP feel better.

Elibean Wed 01-May-13 15:01:37

Cynic smile

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 15:01:40

MTS you spend £2500 less PA on food than Bella [Sceptical] even if you include take aways eating out from her figures that means your spending £183 a month on food for a family of four that's £42 a week!!!!!!!!!!!?????????!!!!!!!What on earth are you eating. We spend at least £150 a week and DS1 recently did a survey of people's shopping expenses and that was pretty average.
We're rural so no public transport we spend £130 a
week on petrol alone.

bella65 Wed 01-May-13 15:02:05

You've plugged in my school fees into your outgoings and you have a figure of £500 net pw to spend. There are people here who don't even have £500 pw gross. Yet you insist that I prove that I can afford to support a family on 500 pw net ???

That sum £500 ppw gross is below the average wage- it's actually the cap for benefits!- and therefore they will be topped up with benefits and child tax credits and all other things that you aren't.

And the food bill I quoted- around £125 a week- includes everything from loo rolls to washing powder, bin liners and toiletries - it's not just food.
Everything I cook is from scratch, we never eat out but one thing I won't compromise on is quality and sources of food.

bella65 Wed 01-May-13 15:09:36

I'm just wondering- how does anyone earning a 6-figure salary have time to spend ages posting on MN during the day?
hmm just wondering.

Sounds like a nice job if you can get it!

seeker Wed 01-May-13 15:31:42

I can't imagine any education so bad or so good that I would voluntarily feed my family on what I could buy for £42 a week to either avoid or access it-that's £10.20 a week per person! My ds spends that on school lunches.

Who's doing that? I've lost the thread of the thread.

handcream Wed 01-May-13 16:02:08

I'm time poor and if it was left to me I would buy M&S meals and only cook from scratch ocasionally. My DH disagrees so he does most of the cooking.

We had no help from GP's and I didnt go private.

It was because of the experience that myself and my sibilings had in the state system that made we want to go private. We all went to different schools. They werent great at all!

I know that people will say its different now but what if you cannot get into your first choice school or the local grammar (we are in Bucks) or your nearest school is failing? We can afford as a family due to both working to put our children through private so am not clear what that has to do with anyone's else's circumstances?

Maybe they live in the catchment area for a great school, maybe they have brought their way into a nice area where - surprise, surprise the schools are just as nice, maybe like Seeker despite disagreeing with grammar schools she sends her DD to one. Maybe, there are grandparents paying, maybe there has been some inheritance passed down as I do find that private parents often tend to be older.

What I am annoyed about is people saying paying for private means we have more money than sense or even that we are just copying where we went and where our parents went privately. Not in this instance!

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 16:06:21

I wish people would read what I post before rolling their eyes.

I buy my meat in bulk from Costco and my vegetables from the market so I probably pay less than you for the same stuff. Tonight it's chicken pasta pesto. That's about £7 for the family. Got some chicken drumsticks out of the freezer for tomorrow. That plus potatoes carrots will make a casserole for about £8. I have a large pizza and dough balls for day after. That's about £5.

As for eating out - two words. Corporate Entertainment. People take me out. I take them out. grin

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 16:16:46

Bella - I am not a mind reader. When you said that you spend £x on food how was I.suppose to know that you meant loo paper, cleaning products etc?

I bulk buy everything so I've no idea what the cost averages to be either weekly or monthly.

By the way, I work from home 2 days a week and I work on average 9 hours a day so even with MN time I still work a lot more hours than other people. Plus I don't take fag breaks.

handcream Wed 01-May-13 16:17:35

Its funny MTS, some people dont like to eat cheaply, but my DB just uses food for fuel. He wouldnt dream of going to a restaurant. Its quantity for him, it wouldnt be my choice by there you go.

Good for you that you have made your choice, it might not be the choice others would make but its YOURS.

On a slighly different tack. I recently applied to re-mortgage. I went through the outgoings with a new mortgage company and they couldnt believe we both didnt have travelling costs. My DH works locally and if he travels the client pays, same with me. Their systems didnt like it and they couldnt work out why neither of us had any. Its just our circumstances (and choices!).

hardboiled Wed 01-May-13 17:18:22 be fair, the OP was moaning and asking. She really wants to send kids to private - so I think MTS has a point. We live on 45,000 - 55,000. I have to make choices, I feed my family only freerange or organic meat out of ideology but we don't have a pension or accident insurance. NHS dentist. etc etc We pay a huge mortgage. Therefore, if I earned 80,000 - 100,000 I could afford sending two children to private school for sure. (DS is going indy, but on a bursary-scholarship combination).

handcream Wed 01-May-13 17:33:44

And that's it isnt it. Some families need two cars, some choose to live in the middle of nowhere where there is little private transport, some dont want to move away from family, some choose to eat only M&S food, some have 1 child to afford their chosen lifestyle, some dont have certain insurances, I believe 25% of people go abroad without health insurance (stupid idiots!) and it goes on.

What might work and be your choice is not necessarily another person's.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 17:33:53

Handcream - your DB reminds me of my dad smile

hardboiled - it was getting quite lonely here on my own. Here, have a wine

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 17:53:06

MTS be careful you've almost spent half your stated food budget for the week in three days. You've now only got £5 a day to feed them. By the way do your family only eat 1 meal a day?
I'm with seeker on this one no education is worth starving yourself for.

socareless Wed 01-May-13 17:56:03

MTS was wondering you were going to stop justifying your spend. Bella et al are not interested in how you can live of £500pw, they were never going to say 'aha!! its actually possible on £80k - £100k if one did a bit of budgeting'. I for one cook mostly from scratch and have always bulked buy even when DS was in state ed. So can understand how food can cost £42pw. Mine varies from £40pw to £150pw depending on what we eat.

A bit sad that such is the animosity towards PE tha it led Seeker to say this I can't imagine any education so bad or so good that I would voluntarily feed my family on what I could buy for £42 a week to either avoid or access it-that's £10.20 a week per person! My ds spends that on school lunches. I such comments werethe preseve of people who accessed PE. There are people (myself included) who survive perfectly well on £40pw!!

Moving on, OP I agree with COry that the best advice so far is this

I am a firm believer that there is no point worrying about things you cannot afford to give your DC. It is utterly corrosive. One has to concentrate on what one can give


*But I should say it is very silly not to give your DC somehting you can give for fear that they might feel bad if they can't.

You could say that about anyhting. Oh better not buy that nice house in case it makes my DC feel sad if they can't afford one. Oh better not go that nice holiday...better not buy decent food...*

dogsandcats Wed 01-May-13 18:08:39

Now that MTS has explained his/her figures better, I think they make sense.
Some of his/her expenses are covered or sorted business wise, some are sorted by being included in the school fees, and other household expenses
he/she spends, seem quite frugal compared to many.

cory Wed 01-May-13 18:37:41

Apart from questions of overall affordability, it seems to me that it is also a question of how much of your child's education you want to be provided by the school and how much you would want provided by joint family activities.

I wouldn't want better facilities at school for my dc if it meant I could not afford to keep a well stocked family library, to take them to theatre, to travel with them, to let them develop their interests in an activity that suited them regardless of whether that was provided by the school or not. To me, these are things of at least equal educational value to those provided by a good school.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 19:00:32

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socareless Wed 01-May-13 20:00:21

MTS I get what you are saying. All I know is people who say things like PE is a waste of money and the DCs mostly end up snobby, drug addicts, no better than state educated DC, spoon fed, pressured etc are nt really loking fror a sensible discussion.

What you were trying to do for OP is no different for what I did for DSis when she asked how we saved for our first house years ago. We had similar sal as they do now. We hd to budget to save for a deposit. I know times are tougher than now but we had childcare then but she doesn't have childcare.

socareless Wed 01-May-13 20:05:13

... I know times are tougher now....

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 20:54:39

socareless - I know what you mean. My favourite is the comments about how private schools are full of bitchy mums and bullying. Yup, you get none of that at state schools.

But, hey I occasionally need to take a break from work and it beats standing outside in the cold with a fag. Not that I smoke so thats another outgoing that I don't have and others do smile

seeker Wed 01-May-13 21:11:44

OK- I think I need to start another thread "how is it possible to feed a family of 4 on £42 a week" I find it genuinely baffling. Nothing to do with animosity towards private education, socareless, don't she how you made that link! I could do it if I absolutely had to, obviously, but it would be so hard, and so dull.......

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 21:17:37

Well, all I can say is that it is wonderful to be able to easily afford your chosen lifestyle and therefore not have to know precisely how much you spend on food, toiletries, petrol, insurance, mortgage, music lessons, leisure activities, etc, each week. Life's too short and unpredictable to fret about letting your children down when they are healthy, happy, intelligent and doing well in life. Who cares what education sector they are thriving in?...

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 21:18:01

Happy - strange comment about starving myself in order to pay school fees.

We bank DP's income so we are hardly plowing all available funds into fees.

In anycase, dinner this week has been/will be hunters chicken with mash, chicken pasta pesto, pizza and dough balls, noodles with dumplings from Wing Yip (yup, bulk buying again) and Spaghetti Bolognese. Hardly Gordon Ramsay but we are hardly 'starving' ourselves.

It's interesting that you and seeker are focusing on how much I spend on food as opposed to what I am spending it on. It's a lot less than what you are spending so by default it must be cheap crap. If it's expensive like your stuff then by default it must be better quality grin.

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 21:20:48

Or am I wrong on this and the OP actually has to worry about affording her lifestyle even before trying to factor in school fees?

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 21:21:37

MTSgroupie - shocked by your lack of fruit and veg. grin

seeker Wed 01-May-13 21:27:13

"It's interesting that you and seeker are focusing on how much I spend on food as opposed to what I am spending it on. It's a lot less than what you are spending so by default it must be cheap crap. If it's expensive like your stuff then by default it must be better quality"

I didn't say that- (although I wouldn't under any circumstances buy costco chicken). What i said is that it would be very hard to do. I am a very frugal shopper- but I just don't see how it's actually possible to feed 4 people long term for 40 quid a week. I'm fascinated. For example, I spend about £10 -at least- a week on fruit. But maybe this needs it's own thread!

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 21:27:28

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m5stelle Wed 01-May-13 21:31:55

Crikey I am amazed that some people can really feed a family on so little. We cook everything from scratch and it's always Tesco or Sainsbury's but never spend less than £100 per week, normally is more like £130 although it is 6 of us and 2 kids are gluten free so some of it is more expensive. Still we are nowhere near £40.

On the OP's point I wholeheartedly agree with this:
"I wouldn't want better facilities at school for my dc if it meant I could not afford to keep a well stocked family library, to take them to theatre, to travel with them, to let them develop their interests in an activity that suited them regardless of whether that was provided by the school or not. To me, these are things of at least equal educational value to those provided by a good school"

I would love to send mine to a great secondary independent near us but if the things I would never compromise are the ones above because they are really important to me. So private education would come fourth I guess after: 1 - a decent house, 2 - decent food - 3 - all the above. Certainly not bothered about materialistic stuff like cars and gadgets.

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 21:32:07

Am I the only person whose meals are a voyage of discovery, rather than planned in advance?... Very few of my meals have a recognisable name, despite my children's queries as to what they are eating tonight (er, everything that needed using up in the fridge mixed together?...).

seeker Wed 01-May-13 21:34:33

That's fine, MTS- you know best.

(Thought there was scope for some sort of conversation- should have known better)

m5stelle Wed 01-May-13 21:35:49

Mine are not planned in advance but a mix of favourites and what's in the fridge too. We call them "bitty meals". That's a cute name for scraps?

seeker Wed 01-May-13 21:36:00

"Am I the only person whose meals are a voyage of discovery, rather than planned in advance?... Very few of my meals have a recognisable name, despite my children's queries as to what they are eating tonight (er, everything that needed using up in the fridge mixed together?...)."

This is what my ds at the age of 4 christened "savoury yuck"!

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 21:38:47

Aww. Not inviting your round to eat at ours, then, seeker. "Savoury yuk," indeed. I call it being free to buy what you want in the supermarket and not be slave to the requirements of some silly recipe wink.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 21:47:08

My market sells grapes and plums each for a pound a bowl. Sainsbury charges £3 for similar amount of grapes and £2 for the plums.

Total spend on fruit this week is £4 a week on fruits (3 bowls of grapes and a bowl of plums). This wouid cost me £11 at Sainsbury.

The more we proceed along this sub- thread the more ironic it becomes. I'm supposed to be the snobby private school parent but it is you ladies that are going.on about how people on £42 pw must be feeding themselves crap cuts of meat and no fruit and how they couldn't live this way.

socareless Wed 01-May-13 21:49:19

Well breakfast this morning probably cost us less than ×£2 with a loaf of bread at £1 (usually 1.45 but buy 2 for £2). DCs have toast and milk, DH just has tea and I have oats. DCs lunch inclusive in fees, their snack is banana at about 16p each for 3DCs. Dinner is rice and and veg sauce I made over weekend of which the portion can't have cost more than £5. So possible to eat well for less.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Wed 01-May-13 21:52:11

I watched an episode where a woman said she couldn't make a packed lunch for three people for £17. I couldn't believe it shock

socareless Wed 01-May-13 21:54:41

So is that too frugal just ? I agree MTS, I am quite surprised by the amount spent on food snobbery

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Wed 01-May-13 21:57:13

I could make a feast of epic proportions for £17 socareless

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 21:58:12

m5stell - seeker has conveniently forgotten what I posted upthread but DCs lunch is separately accounted for in the figure I gave for school fees. Lunch for me is usually a home made saladso cost is neglible. Work provides free coffee/tea and pastries so snacks ate free. Plus we regularly eat out on expenses. So it's not exactly a frugal existence.

socareless Wed 01-May-13 21:59:15

Phew just smile

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Wed 01-May-13 22:01:50


seeker Wed 01-May-13 22:02:41

Missed the ds's lunch separately accounted for. Didn't miss Costco chicken.

Fair play- I couldn't do it for more than a couple of weeks.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 01-May-13 22:02:51

I've never thought you were a snob, BSGroupie! smile

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 22:10:15

MTS please show me where I said you were eating "cheap crap" or your DC's school is cheap crap. You've implied you spend £42 a week on food for a family of four which I find extraordinary. According to one of your posts you have spent £20 in three days only on main meals. I'm not the greatest mathematician but in my book that leaves you with £22 for 4 days so just over £5 a day that's not a lot. I don't believe anyone can buy three meals for a family of four with £5 and your own posting backs this up because you've detailed that you're spending £5-8 on a main meal thus there is nothing left over for breakfast or lunch. So in my book your children are going hungry at times. You state you have substantial income but save it or spend it on school fees I and I suspect most people would rather put three meals a day in front of their children cheap crap or not before they did anything else with their money.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 22:13:32

This food subthread is funny on so many levels.

The so-called snobby private school parents are the ones bulk buying from wholesalers and the local market and the anti PE are the ones going on about how they can't possibly live on such a small food budget.

Can you imagine the reaction if I said that I couldn't live on £x per week? grin

socareless Wed 01-May-13 22:18:53

I can't imagine not bulk buying. We are a family of 5, both adults working full time, live in semi rural area so not easy to shop everyday...

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 22:22:19

MTS what about during the holidays/weekend/exeats etc no school lunches then?
I too won't shop in Costco because I want to support British farmers in particular dairy farmers (my background) who are on their knees if something doesn't change soon we will be importing all our milk and God know what the welfare hygiene standards will be on that and we also need farmers to preserve our landscapes. So all my food is where possible sourced locally this is not snobbery it's supporting my local industry and maintaining our wonderful scenery. As a non drinker/smoker I have few other extravagences.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 22:23:47

Where do I attribute the crap food comment to you happy??? I was referring to seeker going on about Costco chicken. And where do I make any mention of crap schools? We've been (pointlessly) discussing food budgets for the last few hours.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 22:26:05

I shop weekly but not in the bulk sense of the word associated with shops like Costco not that I've ever been in one. But I understand you buy 20 chicken breasts and 5000 tea bags and 50 loo rolls. I don't live in a broom cupboard but where on earth do you put all this stuff I just dont have the space.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 22:30:43

MTS sorry thought you were making the comment at me misunderstood it. smile

seeker Wed 01-May-13 22:31:33

Costco chicken=cheap crap. Undeniable fact.

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 23:03:34

It's probably got as much chicken in it as Tesco beef lasagne has beef grin. Probably provides you with plenty of water, though. I'm more amused by the competitive-budget-shopping than anything else. Some people really will compete over anything.

seeker Wed 01-May-13 23:07:29

I have no idea why we're talking about it. But I do want to know how you feed a family of 4 for 42 quid a week on a regular basis. I would love to be able to do that!

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 23:08:35

Well seeker I have to say I couldn't agree with you more. I think not only is it crap in that it is filled with water sugar and God knows what also awful welfare standards and unlikely to be British it also tastes like crap.

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 23:11:52

It's an amazingly specific amount, £42 per week. I spend different amounts each week, depending on whether I'm stocking up the freezer, whether I have to buy washing powder, whether I'm hungry when I go shopping... and I don't give a toss how much one banana costs, as I buy them in bunches. Either I can afford the bunch I want, or I can't. Unless I were really short of cash and struggling to find an affordable way to eat healthily, surely it would be quite anal to work out how much I was spending per banana? It reminds me of going back to university, when it really was relevant exactly how much I spent. If you have to calculate the cost of you food right down to the last bite, you are either struggling with the bills or spend a lot of time working out very tedious details when you could be doing something a bit more interesting with your time.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 23:15:05

I wouldn't love to feed a family of 4 for £42 a week because I want myself and my children to eat quality responsibly sourced food. You can't get that for £42 a week. For example we drink 22 pints of organic milk a week that's nearly £9 in just milk alone.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 01-May-13 23:24:29

You are very fortunate and very rich. Indeed many people besides you would probably see the importance of wanting to eat quality responsibly sourced food. However, they only have £42 a week.

Its the same with education, if you can afford it and think private is better than pay for it. If you can't afford it you have to do what everyone else does who can't afford it. grin

dogsandcats Wed 01-May-13 23:25:18

Posters wanted to know how MSC afforded the fees. He/she has explained in quite some detail.
Now MSC seems to be getting told off about the way he/she does it. I have no idea why.
MSC is showing how it is possible to do it as far as I can see.

Doesnt matter if others dont like or wouldnt do it that way, does it.
Perhaps though, he has given other lurkers food for thought [only part pun intended!]

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 23:28:08

I see no evidence of MTSgroupie seeing "the importance of wanting to eat quality responsibly sourced food." Unless MTSgroupie knows something about Costco chicken the happygardening doesn't. grin

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 23:28:08

So much interest in my food bill grin.

Happy - At weekends and holidays lunch is often something light like a salad or sandwiches or just toast. The kids quite like plain pasta pesto. Yup, we bulk buy pasta as well. We also bulk buy rice from Wing Yip so fried rice with egg, peas and bacon bits is another cheap meal.

socareless hit it on the nose earlier. No matter how many questions I answer, you ladies inevitably come back with yet another 'what about this then? Such is your determination to prove that I can't possibly be spending less than you nice keen eye on the bargains salt of the earth people

I mean, I'm told that I can't possibly afford all the insurance on my claimed budget. I point out that I don't have PPI or illness protection so my insurance is about a third of theirs. Ah yes, you must be underinsured then. No, the building is £1m. We've now moved onto how much I spend on fruit grin

The best ignoring the facts post was the one about us starving just to pay the school fees. Hunters chicken and mash for dinner is hardly us 'starving'. And the fact that we are banking DP's income is conveniently forgotten since it doesn't play to the preferred story of a family that penny pinches just so they can afford the private school fees.

Anyway, just to let you know, today was a quiet day job-wise for me. Hence my availability for this how to feed a family on £42 a week sub thread. For the rest of the week I got month end reports to collate and summarise for submission to people higher up the food chain. So if you need any more tips on how to afford private school on £80-£100k then it will have to wait.

(threads about baby names and grabby MILs is looking very appealing at this point in time)

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 23:32:14

Different people have different priorities. At least MTS is brave enough to set hers out.

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 23:37:34

We all want different things in life MTS as long as you and your family are happy with your choices then that's all that matters.

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 23:38:47

Savoury yuk rules.

MTSgroupie Wed 01-May-13 23:50:07

Happy - you buy 22 pints of organic milk a week. We buy one pint of semi skimmed.

We mostly drink Earl Grey so we don't use milk. DCs like a glass of hot milk when they come home so that pint is for them. DCs school has mineral water fountains scattered around the premises. The school provided then with a water bottle each which they top up at the water fountain. So are drinks bill for the week is one pint of milk versus your 22 pints plus whatever ever drinks you buy.

So to summarise before I go to bed, I pay less in insurance than a lot of you because we don't have PPI or extra cover. We buy fruit from our local market for one third of what Sainsbury charges and no, we do not buy 22 pints of organic milk a week.

No wonder you ladies can't afford private if this is how you spend your income. Anyway, my bed beckons.

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 23:54:55

1 pint of milk a week?! Must be tiny glasses of hot milk if that lasts a week!

rabbitstew Wed 01-May-13 23:57:45

Do you put the milk in vodka shot glasses? grin

happygardening Wed 01-May-13 23:59:02

As I said we all want and like different things and we all have different priorities.

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 00:05:33

One 'drink' is half a cup of milk in one of those small plastic tumblers that we got from Ikea. And you are assuming that it's a 7 days a week without fail OCD thing smile

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 00:27:32

But we don't have different priorities.

For me a lot of what you pay for is financed by my company. My work takes me to HK, NY and Singapore so I don't need to pay for foreign holidays. DS will be touring with the school athletics team. Likewise DD with her netball team. That is factored into the fees. As I've mentioned, we are banking DP's income.

So, to summarise, we regularly eat out, travel extensively and we are saving towards our retirement. We spend less on food but that is because we bulk buy or we support our local market traders as opposed to Sainsbury and we avoid expensive oven ready meals.

In which ways is your priorities different?
I mean, we aren't sacrificing anything.

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 02-May-13 00:31:03

Wow where do you buy your fruit from Seeker. I often get organic fruit and veg from Riverfird if in feeling extravagant. A veg box is about £12-14 per week plus milk & eggs takes it to about £16. I then go to the local butchers for my meat ( 3 pork chops for £2.99 huge and meaty) and the corner shop near to where I work for bread and stuff. Ill pop to Asda once a week for the occasional box of fish fingers and pizza and pasta (ds doesn't like lumps so I make my own sauce from a very cheap box of passata, garlic & herbs.) and the kids like the Asda not from concentrate spoke and mango (3 for £5 )

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 00:38:04

Most primary schools are brilliant now because of years of good training and money going into them. The national curriculum means that all children have access to the same subjects and systems. There is learning through play in the foundation stage which encourages children to find their own way rather than feel they have to fit into a mould.

The main benefit is that you can go to the local school which means that you meet local kids and parents and really forge good friendships. Choose a school where there are a reasonable number of families that you look like you will get along with.

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 00:46:22

Wrong thread dude. This thread is about my food bill. The thread about education is down the corridor and 2nd door on the right.

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 00:47:38


MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 00:54:00

I think that my food bill has been done to death but before I return to the real world and actually do some work, why the snobby remarks about Costco chicken?

I know that there is this thing about Aberdeen steaks but isn't a chicken just a chicken?

myron Thu 02-May-13 00:58:49

I grew up in the Midlands and attended a very academic girls' day school despite living in grammar school territory. I really enjoyed the experience and would not hesitate to send DC there if we ever moved back near enough.

We have also lived in Trafford - another grammar school area where DC1 started state primary. In retrospect, all the state primaries in the area were fairly pushy due to affluent MC parents having high expectations and expecting their DC to be prepped well for the 11+. DH commented that DC1's state primary had the ethos and discipline of the independent sector without the fees.

Having relocated for work a few years ago to an area (incidentally non grammar) where the LEA is pretty much bottom of the league and I can compare the huge differences between on the face of it, 2 Ofsted outstanding state primaries, it's a huge shock to realise that my previous confidence in the state sector (our experience in Trafford) has now taken a severe knock in our 'new' area. We do like where we live, it's an attractive area and we have put down roots....the only downside is the state schooling in the area. Since we live in the country (due to work proximity) we have a limited choice of independent schools as well. 1/3 of the sole day prep school who re-enter the state system dominate the top stream of the senior school. This is a small town - everyone knows everything! Might be time for a name change now too!

ItsRainingOutside Thu 02-May-13 03:36:41

I sent my DD to a state primary as I wanted to have a more rounded start in life, at a time when I believe academic achievement is less important than learning basic life skills and gaining an understanding that everyone is different and that's a good thing. I did save up during that time to enable me to send her to a private secondary but she'll switch to a very good state 6th form college at 16. If I had more than one child, as a single self-employed mum I wouldn't be able to afford it but wouldn't think it was the end of the world either. I've just paid the final instalment on the first year's fees and to be honest, it hasn't seemed like a big deal. Problem with starting them out at a private school, it's harder to take them out of the system because of the way they're mollycoddled. The change up from primary to private was seamless.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 07:07:12

I don't think it's snobby not to want to eat battery chickens is it? Particularly when it's a choice, rather than a necessity.

happygardening Thu 02-May-13 07:11:39

Cheap food like Costcos is produced by exploiting someone in the production chain usually the primary producer: the farmer and by compromising on animal welfare. That's my real objection to it. I personally don't like either the texture or taste of cheap chicken but that's really only a side issue.
But then MTS unless you live under a stone you probably know this already.

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 07:39:23

happy - most of your stuff is made in sweat shops in Vietnam, China, India and Co. Unless you live under a stone you know that as well.

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 07:45:21

seeker - doesn't this strike you as ironic? I mean, you constantly mock parents who pay loads for PE in the belief that it's expensive so it must be better. But here you are going on about how a expensive happier chicken is a tastier chicken.

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 07:47:25

Anyway, heading off to work now.

louloutheshamed Thu 02-May-13 07:52:34

I am a teacher in a state school. A lot of my colleagues do private tutoring for private school pupils. I know of one child who has 3 private tutors, who are English, maths and science teachers at my school- if she went to my school she could have these teachers for free.

But no, instead some private schools seem to cover up poor teaching by convincing parents that their child is not clever enough, and the parents shell out for fees and for private tuition too!

Some of the stories I have heard about these pupils from my colleagues are shocking. Ex. books never marked, cheating in controlled assessments, the pupils not having the first idea what their homework task involves or what they have to do in it. I have also heard of ex colleagues who were very ineffectual teachers becoming hods in private schools because their face seemed to fit.

There are good state schools out there. I am a product of one, got straight As and a first class degree
from an excellent uni. I now work in one. We get 85% a-c inc. eng and maths from a comprehensive intake. You don't needed to go private.

Wishihadabs Thu 02-May-13 07:56:27

Wow what a bizarre turn of thread. FWIW MTS I do find it a little odd that as a family you earn the best part of £200k yet you are eating mass produced, battery farmed chicken. I don't think anyone should have to eat that stuff and ironically one of the things that has put me off when looking around our local prep was the rubbish they were feeding the dcs.

dogsandcats Thu 02-May-13 08:59:47

I do not understand why someone who acts differently to others some of the time, has to justify their life choices.
It has made me realise that, whatever that person says, someone will jump on it.

bella65 Thu 02-May-13 09:01:39

MTS for the record- we don't have PPI or illness protection cover. We have buildings and contents, and 2 life cover policies. Our contents insurance may be higher than yours as we have several items valued over £1K so pay extra. 1 car insurance policy is £190pa.

Your comments over chicken ' one chicken is the same as another' - If you think that then you are truly living under a stone. Aren't you aware of the antibiotic use in battery reared flocks? It's not about animal welfare and 'happy chickens' per se- it's about what you put in your kids' mouths and the possible long term consequences of injesting the drugs used to make chickens grow fast when reared in overcrowded huts.

Nothing to do with being snobby- everything to do with being health conscious.

wordfactory Thu 02-May-13 09:08:08

How very odd. If someone says they're making sacrifices to pay for private education they will be jumped on and if someone says they're not having to sacrifice much they're jumped on!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 02-May-13 09:23:55

... I keep coming back here to find it's still about chicken!

I don't think anyone is 'jumping', though, based on whether or not anyone else makes sacrifices: rather, it is the scale and the credibility of the sacrifice they say they're making which arouses interest (not in me, I must say), and the extent to which they suggest others could or should make the same 'sacrifice'.

If somebody said 'I don't have to sacrifice much', I'd probably wonder why they were telling me, but the only 'jumping' I can see on that score is when some posters just use any thread and any opportunity to say 'this is why many of us ensure we have high paying jobs so we can send five children to private school without really sacrificing a lovely lifestyle.' That can get as tiresome as chicken chat.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 02-May-13 09:33:54

Do you mean Xenia? grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 02-May-13 09:42:27

No, it's a reference to all the very normal people who write posts like that grin

happygardening Thu 02-May-13 09:50:12

"happy - most of your stuff is made in sweat shops in Vietnam, China, India and Co. Unless you live under a stone you know that as well."
MTS We buy organic/fair trade/environmentally friendly/free range/locally sourced food/flowers/cleaning products etc where possible and although I am perfectly aware that most clothes are made in sweat shop where labour is exploited I try to avoid these things if at all possible.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Thu 02-May-13 09:51:25

This thread makes more sense if you read it backwards hmm

happygardening Thu 02-May-13 09:56:46

"It's not about animal welfare and 'happy chickens' per se-"
Wish Im from a farming background so no animal sentimentalist but farm animal welfare and farmers welfare does matter to me and I think to many but you have to pay for it and no anti biotics. We are lucky UK milk is so heavily regulated its free of all antibiotics but the more we import from abroad ...well who knows whats in that. But as long as its cheap who cares.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Thu 02-May-13 09:59:16


Nobody is saying there aren't great state schools out there. I'm state educated and I chose state education for my ds. My primary was terrible, secondary was ok. I didn't rate the ds's primary at all.

Can I refer you to an earlier post I made where I mention Knowsley LEA which only sent 2% of pupils to RG unis and none to Oxbridge? Are you saying this is acceptable? In contast in the next borough there are two private schools where the results are incredible.

Surely even the most partisan of people can't realistically argue that private school academic results are worse than their state counterparts?

seeker Thu 02-May-13 10:49:41

I do find the use of the word "sacrifice" to describe taking measures to reserve enough of your disposable, income as is needed to pay private school fees deeply distasteful.

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 10:51:57

I don't think it is ever a good idea to use the word "sacrifice" when talking about things you do of your own volition for your DC. It's a huge burden for DC to carry with them.

byah Thu 02-May-13 10:56:30

PRmum 2012 ... my heart turned over when you said you wanted to work full time as your children were "older now".... and they are still babies! The first 5 years are vital learning and precious times that cannot be filled by day care for long hours while you work if you have any choice in the matter at all . I agree ... school fees ahead are daunting if you want to go that way, but if you weigh things up and give your children real security now, loads of learning through play and talk and activities , they will be well set up to take on any schooling.. Primary state schooling is usually really great with support from home as well... and secondary is a long way off... all sorts of things can happen before then. Just have lots of fun with them and let the future happen .. I took exactly the opposite path with my children to the one my parents made me go down and am so thankful I did .. Your education was their choice and you are now a separate family unit.... you can break away from that and with that laid-back husband just chill a bit and and have lots of fun...

rabbitstew Thu 02-May-13 11:16:23

Jumping on someone over their scandalous lack of interest in chicken welfare, ingestion of antibiotics and ludicrously small milk servings doesn't have to have anything to do with your views on private school fees and self-sacrifice. grin

rabbitstew Thu 02-May-13 11:18:53

I shall serve my children half a very small cup of warm milk when they get home from school today and see what they have to say about it...

seeker Thu 02-May-13 11:24:36

It's savoury yuck tonight, as it happens, rabbit.

It's going to be a particularly good one - I have an aubergine to use up.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 02-May-13 11:47:24

Well, Just, if those private schools in the next borough get their impressive results with pupils whom they have not selected by either wealth or intelligence, that is certainly very good.

Of course private schools get better results. They pick and choose which children they would like to confer their immense knowledge and awesome teaching skills for heaven's sake.

bella65 Thu 02-May-13 13:20:14

Jumping on someone over their scandalous lack of interest in chicken welfare, ingestion of antibiotics and ludicrously small milk servings doesn't have to have anything to do with your views on private school fees and self-sacrifice.

Au contraire- some people might only be able to afford the said private schools if they ignore chicken welfare. smile

Not MTS of course- but just saying.


OhDearConfused Thu 02-May-13 14:04:10

I'm sorry I've missed all this thread. And its too long now to read it all. Would anyone be so kind as to summarise how we got to be discussing Chicken welfare and then the arguments for and against. I will then chip in.

You know one of those things you see on "live updates" on newspaper websites. Summary of the days events football match thread so far

rabbitstew Thu 02-May-13 14:04:53

I for one was not connecting the two - I find the consumption of Costco chicken and thimblefuls of milk a far more entertaining subject in its own right. I can't for the life of me see why people keep trying to move away from it. grin

rabbitstew Thu 02-May-13 14:14:39

OhDearConfused - I believe chicken welfare came in when people started itemising their weekly expenses, in order to show how they could earn between £80,000 and £100,000 per year and afford private school fees. In some instances, those who could afford school fees were spending remarkably little money on food and it turned out that said people do not see any difference between Costco chicken and corn fed, free range, organic chicken, except for the price... Such people also tend to be remarkably stingy with milk. grin

seeker Thu 02-May-13 14:14:46

Costco chicken has hereby officially replaced beaten up old Volvos and camping holidays in Cornwall.

motherinferior Thu 02-May-13 14:26:03

A packet of lentils will go a lot further, and taste a lot better, and be a hell of a lot better for everything, than a poor bloody battery chicken

<helpful hippy chips in>

bella65 Thu 02-May-13 14:26:33

TBH I had never until I was enlightened here, heard of Costco.
Pray tell me what and where it is?
Not that I will buy my chickens there but I obviously need educating.

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 14:28:11

<takes a welcome break with tea and pastry>

Dogs I totally agree about people jumping onto something regardless of what is being said.

If I said that I prefer to shop at Waitrose and turned my nose up at people who shop in bulk and from market traders no doubt i would get hammered. When I say that I prefer to bulk buy etc I still get hammered.

But hey ho, its not as if the double standards being displayed is anything new.

mumsneedwine Thu 02-May-13 14:38:49

Wow ! Been busy at work and come back and find we have moved onto chickens (& Costco !!). Got to love MN.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 15:17:45

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 15:45:23

Welcome back mums. It's not just chicken. We've also covered fruit and household insurance smile

Maybe we should get MNHQ to move this thread over to a more appropriate housekeeping-ish forum. What do you think?

bella65 Thu 02-May-13 16:09:05

<<sips Earl Grey and eats organic bun>>

I don't think anyone turned their noses up at shopping in bulk or market traders- both excellent ways of saving a few quid.

But it's what you buy in bulk that is the issue here smile

It's all about whether you buy 1 Costco chicken or 500.

BTW is Costco a cousin of Tesco?

CecilyP Thu 02-May-13 16:43:39

I have never heard of Costco either but I have a feeling it makes Tesco seem posh.

bella65 Thu 02-May-13 16:45:25


MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 16:48:24

Wishi - The simple answer is that I can't taste the difference between Costco chicken and chicken from a naice store smile

But can you imagine the comments if I were to say that I only buy my chicken from Waitrose and to turn my nose up at people who shop at Costco?

Anyway, the Costco chicken thing is a red herring. My DCs lunch is included in the school fees. I have company plastic which means that the company pays for me to regularly eat at Ramsay's Maze. I don't like oven ready meals so we eat a lot of vegetables, pasta and rice which is quite cheap. My kids prefer water to fizzy drinks. We only drink wine when we go out and that usually goes onto the company plastic.

So the above means that our food bill is quite cheap. However, a lot of MNetters seemed to have fixated on my cheap food bill in isolation. The fact that I spend about £150 a month on eating out, thanks to the company, doesnt get through to people because it spoils the story of a family penny pinching in order to pay the fees.

In fact it's funny how a lot doesn't get through to people. We accept that things won't always be so good for us (triple dip recession anyone?) so we bank DP's income for a rainy day. Yet posters here keep going on about how we are sacrificing stuff to pay the fees and how we are making choices that they wouldn't make. What, they wouldn't choose to privately educate their kids while banking about £45k per year grin.

Anyway, heading off home now. Be interesting to see if Costco chicken is still being discussed come tomorrow morning.

dogsandcats Thu 02-May-13 17:00:10

Are you, MTSgroupie, going to carry on eating Costco chicken. That is what I really want to learn from this thread! grin

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 17:04:25

OP - Mega aplogies for hijacking your thread. flowers

I bet you never thought that it would have morphed into a thread about Costco chicken grin

wordfactory Thu 02-May-13 17:07:47

I have stopped going to Costco.

Everytime I venture in there I get seduced by the supposed bargains and end up leaving with 99 croissants or an elctronic keyboard! One time DH and I bought a badminton set!

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 17:15:21

dogs - yesterday evening I popped in to get some drumsticks. £7.95 for 24. Does that answer your question smile

Meal 1. Peri peri drumsticks with cumcumber slices , red pepper slices, home made coleslaw.

Meal 2. BBQ drumsticks with mash and carrots.

I reckon £5.50 per meal for the family.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 17:25:54

So no concerns at all about animal welfare? Just checking.

rabbitstew Thu 02-May-13 17:26:10

That's it - I'm never buying my chicken in Costco if it's actually red herring. grin

CecilyP Thu 02-May-13 17:27:29

Surely, then, you have already broken your £42 a week barrier, if you include the £4 for fruit, Earl Grey and the cost of the one pint of milk you make last a whole week for 2 children. Do they not have breakfast during the week or lunch at the weekend?

rabbitstew Thu 02-May-13 17:35:34

CecilyP - I think they just eat red herring.

flatmum Thu 02-May-13 17:43:10

What's wrong with Costco chicken? I missed that.

Costco is not really that cheap or that low brow in my neck of the woods, in fact all the times I have been there have been with mothers I private school kids that don't bother working to but ski clothies for their winter holiday.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 17:52:34

Costco chicken is no worse than Tesco value or any other cheap chicken. It will have been produced under dire welfare standards. It may also be full of antibiotics and other nasties. But it's the welfare standards that bother me.

I would also be bothered about the welfare standards of the people who make cheap ski clothes.

bella65 Thu 02-May-13 17:53:54

Jolly gosh!

You can't taste the difference between battery chicken and free range, smothered in love Henny Penny? Battery farmed chicks have tiny thighs because they don't move, they are plumped up with growth promoters and their teeny legs can't support them, and they taste like cotton wool.

I still can't see how you feed 4 people on £6 a day ( and we are not accounting here for items like loo rolls, washing up stuff, laundry products which most people include in their 'food' bill) UNLESS all you are providing is one evening meal and everyone eats out during the day, doesn't eat breakfast , and doesn't snack at all.

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 18:19:30

Cecily - Some days our kids come home, grab a peanut butter sandwich and head off again. Other days we are either having a business dinner or we are working late in which case its a business expense that is put on the company plastic. Other days we aren't particular hungry so an alopecia enough. So it's not £5-£7 x 7 days a week. As for breakfast, how expensive do you think a serving of cereal is or a slice of toast? Also what do you think is the unit price for a tea bag plus hot water?

This is a weird sub thread. Usually I am asked to justify why I spend so much money on education. I am now being asked to justify why I spend so little on food. confused.

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 18:20:25

an "apple" is enough.

Wishihadabs Thu 02-May-13 18:20:31

MTS of course you can live your life anyway you like, and I can think it's really unusual. Either you are being economical with the truth or you are behaving really quite oddly.
Just to recap, you both work ft, you get to eat out and travel for work so you think your dcs don't need to go abroad for a summer holiday or might enjoy eating something other than Costco chicken and half a cup of warm milk!

But it's all ok because you are putting dp ssalary away each month. What are your dcs going to remember of family life growing up ? A meagre existence at home because mum and dad were busy working and going away or out to eat with work, but not with them ? That all the money went on school fees and savings. Of corse your life, your choice but why have you choose this path ?

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 18:26:02

<knocks head against table>

I have repeatedly said that the school fees include lunch. I have repeatedly said that breakfast is usually toast or cereal.

iseenodust Thu 02-May-13 18:26:15

Now I need to know more about MTS's DH - "an apple is enough" for dinner. Does he not say 'nice snack now what's for dinner?'.

singersgirl Thu 02-May-13 18:32:20

I want to know what they put on their cereal if one pint of milk lasts all week. Eating out on business or going away with colleagues for work to HK is not remotely a substitute for a family meal out or a family holiday abroad . Not that you need to do those things, but I must say my business trips don't leave me feeling that I don't want a family holiday.

dogsandcats Thu 02-May-13 18:37:23

MTS, they will take issue with whatever you eat, drink, smoke,where you go on holiday, what car you drive, which private school you use, which brand of toothpaste you use...........
Are you sure you want to continue to supply this information?
I think an analysis of all your receipts are in order, I really do![not]

Mind you, you will no longer have to ponder whether to go on those baby threads or mil threads ever again!

MTSgroupie Thu 02-May-13 18:40:38

Wishi - Read the whole thread. And then read it again.

Before everyone got fixated on Costco chicken I mentioned that my £28k figure for school fees includes trips, both domestic and foreign. As for family holidays I said that we borrow the holiday home of a relative.

For a bunch of people who are against private schooling you are incredibly snobbish. I mean - OMG. They buy their chicken from Costco. What? They drink water instead of sugary fizzy drinks? Call social services. And they send them off skiing with their school mates? It just gets worst grin.

£200k of the savings is ring fenced for university. We haven't settled on which North American uni to apply to yet but it's a few years away. The rest will allow us to retire at 55. But your pity is much appreciated

CecilyP Thu 02-May-13 18:46:37

Other days we are either having a business dinner or we are working late in which case its a business expense that is put on the company plastic.

You take your DC's out for a business dinner? Your employer must be very understanding.

bella65 Thu 02-May-13 18:52:48

Oh I see- now the kids are destined for a uni in the US- so UK ones are not good enough?

How old are your DCs out of interest? I'm actually seriously concerned about their intake of calcium if 1 pint of milk lasts the family for a week- a dietician I interviewed recently said that children need 3 portions of dairy a day- which includes milk, cheese and yoghurt.

I feel a bit sad for your kids really if you and your partner are dining out several times a week without the kids- unless you all go and you are putting family meals down as business expenses.

And it's not snobbery over chicken- can't you understand that? It's a health issue. I'd rather buy one organic chicken a week, which would serve one main meal then the carcass would go into stock for risotto or soup, than buy bulk amounts of rubbish chicken to eat more often.

But- each to their own.

musicalfamily Thu 02-May-13 19:02:54

This whole thing has become so disingenuous really.

Someone coming here giving the impression they are scrimping and saving and managing on a really tight family budget - fair enough.

Then the company plastic, 200k savings, ski trips and the rest is mentioned, making a bit of a joke of the food budgeting tbh.

As someone who lived in real poverty as a child (and who went hungry) I find it in really bad taste, sorry.

rabbitstew Thu 02-May-13 19:11:09

But I don't think MTS is budgeting on her food - she just likes red herring from Costco. grin And we have all been informed, anyway, that Costco is the place to go for private school mums to buy skiing outfits and huge quantities of food which only someone with a car with a capacious boot, a vast house with cavernous storage space and an enormous chest freezer could possibly consider. smile

bella65 Thu 02-May-13 19:11:34

Oh lighten up musical- it's only a bit of semi-fun. I grew up in poverty too with no inside bathroom and an outside loo, but I've got over it now.

rabbitstew Thu 02-May-13 19:15:57

Top of the meat list at is: 36 Month Cured Iberico Bellota Ham on the Bone with Stand & Knife, and DVD Tutorial 9kg. All for the bargain basement price of £339.99. This place is seriously cheap, man! wink

rabbitstew Thu 02-May-13 19:18:18

In fact, online, I just don't see this cheap chicken. Oh, silly me - I should be looking under Red Herring.

Wishihadabs Thu 02-May-13 19:43:31

But why ? MTS that's what I really want to know

bella65 Thu 02-May-13 19:45:49

This thread should read' Think carefully before opting for private education..because you'll have to eat Costco chicken' ( and red herring.)

bella65 Thu 02-May-13 19:51:25

Actually this is seriously worrying- a quick search of does not show any chicken at ALL- except that sold as pet food. shock

Now c'mon MTS that really is going too far- even if the 'reward' for a dire diet is a place at Harvard.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 19:58:52

Not even remotely snobby over Costco. Although I am an Aldi fan myself. I just wouldn't, unless it was that or not eat, eat or serve anyone else battery reared chicken. Even Waitrose battery reared chicken.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Thu 02-May-13 20:22:12

Yesterday was taking to a friend of a friend. She is from an ethnic minority. In the course of conversaton , turns out her DC (DS and DD) are at local ( highly rated) indies, SW London/Surrey, And she was nervous/apologetic as she knows I work in education in the maintained sector, and she works in the public sector (in fact in a jobcentre), and gets flak from her colleagues about being posh. But her DS, is very academic, is getting the best possible academic education, and being in the demographic where as a young person he risks being stopped by police if he drives a 'pimped' car , it is his escape route from that 'category'. Why does she feel she has to apologise for her deciosn?

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Thu 02-May-13 20:28:31

Where's the OP? confused

mumsneedwine Thu 02-May-13 20:33:25

This has made me chuckle after a pants day at work. Never before seen the relationship between chicken and education, but there must be something in it. And loved the thought of food budgeting on 200k !!! Right, better go and feed family - have gone off chicken

happygardening Thu 02-May-13 20:37:47

"Even Waitrose battery reared chicken."
No battery reared chicken in Waitrose all "produced by farmers who share our values" what ever the hell they are. My DH has fought Waitrose vociferously over their plans to build one here in Smalltownsville frankly their values are listen to concerns tinker round the edges and then tell them to go fuck themselves. Hope the chickens get a better deal that we have.

happygardening Thu 02-May-13 20:41:18

Lets not forget chicken welfare has significantly improved in 2009/2010 the EU decided chickens need more space prior to this each chicken need the equivalent of one piece of A4 paper now the lucky buggers are meant to have the equivalent of 2 pieces of A4 paper.

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 20:45:34

£200k of the savings is ring fenced for university. We haven't settled on which North American uni to apply to yet but it's a few years away. The rest will allow us to retire at 55. But your pity is much appreciated


Mine are getting a student loan which they will pay off once they are earning. Simple. Education, not free, but as good as. And children who will appreciate the cost and the value of it because they will pay for it.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 02-May-13 21:07:31

My dcs have had to pay for everything after 16 Wonderingagain, but my eldest 21 has nearly enough for deposit for a house now. So proud they can stand on their own 2 feet and won't be with mummy and daddy until they are 25 + grin

rabbitstew Thu 02-May-13 21:24:08

morethanpotatoprints - you don't think Costco chicken, half a tiny cup of warm milk every so often (not every night, that would be OCDish) and packing them off on a plane to America will have the same effect? grin

morethanpotatoprints Thu 02-May-13 21:38:05

Rabbitstew grin

I'm not usually a fence sitter, but on this one I am because i don't know really.
Maybe if we had the means we would have given our dc more in terms of a hand up. Also, I always agree with each to their own, as we are quite unconventional ourselves. Unfortunately, we buy cheap chicken but must admit had a free range a few weeks ago and it was much nicer. grin I wouldn't pay for education though if it meant having to go without other things, but only because it isn't so important to us. My dc aren't all that bright for private school, but have talents in non academic ways grin

flatmum Thu 02-May-13 21:38:27

See! Costco isn't cheap! I've just been and thrown out a bag if Costco frozen chicken as you lot have made me feel guilty. But then, I can afford it, the kids have been eating gruel all week and I will be working until 99 to pay off my mortgage.

wordfactory Thu 02-May-13 22:05:02

wondering I really don't think you can make the argument that student loans are A Good Thing.

Most of us received free tertiary education and a grant to live on to boot! We didn't appreciate it less.

If any of us are able to provide a similar start for our DC then surely that's great? Being hampered by student debts is one of the most horrible things that young people have to put up with.

Please don't turn it into a virtue just to point score.

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 22:47:37

They're not 'hampered' they start paying it back after they have reached a decent salary at 6% per year, so not a huge amount. As a parent you would be financially better off to help them with the payback later on and save the cash for career enhancing extras or adventures. Or accommodation and food.

It would be lovely to get free uni education again, for all, but I don't think it's essential. I think as long a everyone has equal access that's the main thing. I think it will also move the focus away from academic subjects as more students become realistic about what they will excel at and gain them financial success in the future.

But 200K for a US uni is just non-stealth boasting and for what?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 02-May-13 22:53:17

Well in our house we only buy milk for making cheese sauce for lasagne or if white coffee drinkers are coming round... No one likes milk here!

And yet we still don't have £30k a year free for 2x day school fees!

A more than usually bonkers thread, I think.

Yellowtip Thu 02-May-13 23:43:19

Who's going to decide on where your kids go to uni MTS? You or them? I love the smugness of 'We haven't yet decided which US uni to apply for'. It's very dangerous, being smug about something which hasn't yet happened. There's no particular magic about US unis except for the Ivy leaguers which, if you've broad interests and don't want to specialise, may cut exceptional DCs a deal and sponsor a fully paid package. Other than that, nothing you can't get over here. Of course some well heeled parents with £200k to spare may consider it a face saver to send DC over the pond if he can't get a decent offer over here.

Yellowtip Thu 02-May-13 23:45:32

One of mine is showing interest in the US and my response is and will continue to be fine if you get a scholarship which pays every last penny. Not otherwise. You can slum it like the rest.

bella65 Fri 03-May-13 07:06:08

But 200K for a US uni is just non-stealth boasting and for what?

I'd like to know how MTS is so sure that his kids will be accepted! Or am I missing the point- do you just pay and get a degree in US unis?

Sounds like these parents have their kids' future mapped out for them. Poor kids. Do they have any say in it all?

Getting back to reality, I think MTS is taking the p because far from convince us and the OP that you can put 2 kids through private school on £80K, his income is near £200K from what he's said- I suspect that he doesn't save 100% of the 2nd salary, and even if he does it's a lovely cushion if needed, and it's funding a pension - whereas other people have pension contributions deducted at source each month.

And very few people can supplement their family food bill with dining out on company expenses- so what he's written is really a nonsense.

Alwayscheerful Fri 03-May-13 08:27:25

Wow we are still talking about chicken! I prefer to feed family and friends free range chicken, preferably corn fed I would save battery chicken for my enemies but prefer to consider the chicken's welfare.

Where do you buy your free range/ corn fed chickens ladies? And what price do you pay?

bella65 Fri 03-May-13 08:31:38

I buy mine from Waitrose most of the time ( where else darlng?) but keep a beady eye out for red labels- reduced due to sell by dates- and can often pick up bargains that way. I do Tesco online shop about every 3-4 weeks for basics and sometimes pop a free range / organic chicken in as well. They used to do very reasonable packs of thighs/ drumsticks for £3.99 but these have now disappeared.
Whenever I buy a chicken now we get 2 or 3 meals out of it- now that DCs have left home, DH and I get 2 meals out of the chicken usually- and another from the carcass stock- risotto or chunky soup. So I reckon 3 meals for 3 for £8 ish is value.

bella65 Fri 03-May-13 08:32:30

3 meals for 2

happygardening Fri 03-May-13 08:36:39

"Of course some well heeled parents with £200k to spare may consider it a face saver to send DC over the pond if he can't get a decent offer over here."
Yellow I dont think getting a place at MIT, Harvard Princeton etc would be viewed by anyone as a "face saver" for not getting an offer at a top UK university.

wordfactory Fri 03-May-13 08:45:01

From what I can gather at DS school, the US unversities are popular destinations in themselves.

A lot of these lads have grown up in London and don't really fancy three years in sleepy old Oxford grin.

In the mists of time, I actually spent a year in the States on a scholarship and it was a fabulous experience. I wouldn't see it as a fall back position or a face saver if either of mine fancied it>

bella65 Fri 03-May-13 08:45:24

Paying back uni loans is quite significant for new grads- each of my DCs is doing this and even £60 a month when you are struggling to pay for rent and transport can be a lot. BUT having said that, if parents want to help they would be better using the money to give their DCs house deposits etc because in the SE they will find it very hard to get on the housing ladder, unless the get jobs straight off as investment bankers.

But on another note, I don't know how much thanks a child would give a parent for handing over £100K for a degree- puts a huge amount of pressure on the child to make use of it, and I feel that about kids who are privately educated, if their parents are having to make sacrifices in order to fund it.

flatmum Fri 03-May-13 08:53:14

I am loving this dual purpose thread - entertaining and informative. Can we do Waitrose and P&T parking next please?

For what it's worth, I think MT is being disingenuous, we have a family income similar to his (the real one not the artificial deflated one) and I don't think we can afford to send our dc to private secondary. It's vastly unaffordable for virtually everyone unless grandparents are paying or they are using an inheritance.

Yellowtip Fri 03-May-13 09:00:25

happy reading posts before you reply might be good. I think you missed the caveat. Of course MIT, Harvard, Yale, Princeton are all stellar places.

word I lived in the US for a couple of years. It can be even sleepier than Oxford. But I'm sure it sounds glam though to these brightish monied young things and can turn the heads of those who don't know better. It's certainly a big sell with the indies.

wordfactory Fri 03-May-13 09:04:53

bella my view of student loans is that they are a pernicious thing that too often becomes yet another reason why children from less advanatged backgrounds don't go on to tertirary education!

That said, I do think a parent with cash is still better off letting their DC get them and paying them off as and when they kick in. There isn't a penalty for early repayment (as far as I'm aware), so the money is better off staying in a parent's pocket than in the government's.

Yellowtip Fri 03-May-13 09:06:17

And I happen to love America. DDs 1 and 2 were both born there. Much of it is incredibly beautiful. I'm simply saying that I wouldn't shell out a penny except for the modest amount one might have to pay to supplement an offer from MIT, Harvard etc because I think it would be wasted.

wordfactory Fri 03-May-13 09:07:00

so yellow is the child of yours that fancies it a brightish monied young thing wink

wordfactory Fri 03-May-13 09:08:28

Ah yellow it's only money!!!!

It comes in, it gets spent. As well to go on a degree from Berkley than summat else, no?

wordfactory Fri 03-May-13 09:13:12

And Bella (sorry to double post, not concentrating properly, waiting for an important email to come in...) I don't think DC see money given to them for education, or indeed anyhting else, as a burden. At least mine don't.

It's freely given with no strings attached. Money comes in, and it gets spent, often on my DC. Shrug.

Same as the huge time we spend on our DC, or opportunities we might have taken if it were not for them. Or even the toll it takes on our bodies. There's a Punjabi saying that a child can never repay it's mother for the pain of labour! But I don't think it's meant to make a child feel beholden in any way.

dogsandcats Fri 03-May-13 09:16:16

Getting the impression that some posters are always right.
Whatever they do, it is always the right way.

Can I ask, if a student studies in the USA, can they stay there, and so then get a choice of jobs either in the USA or back in Britain.

wordfactory Fri 03-May-13 09:20:08

Not necessarily dogs. There is no guarantee of work legitimacy following a stint in the US.

That said, it makes the whole thing easier.

dogsandcats Fri 03-May-13 09:37:23

I think, rightly or wrongly, that if students are prepared to travel for study, they are also proving that they would travel for work. Which makes them more appealing to future employers.

bella65 Fri 03-May-13 09:40:48

word I can't see how your view on student loans stacks up- the whole point of a loan rather than a means tested grant is that it removes barriers to higher ed- namely your studies being funded by parents.

bella65 Fri 03-May-13 09:43:35

dogs- I don't really think that's so- some students might like to live in the US for the experience, but it doesn't mean they are any better equipped to travel as part of their jobs. It's totally different. The 2 things are different- one is relocation, the other is travel with work.

dogsandcats Fri 03-May-13 09:49:51

There is no barrier to earlier repayment of student loans at the moment.
But that is the thing to me. I am waking up to the fact that Governements, any Governments can change the rules with no notice.
I try and stay away from Governments as much as possible,
I no longer trust them.
If and when the Government can see worse financial coming, who knows what they will do without warning [Think Cyprus bank accounts]

I am going off subject.

Bonsoir Fri 03-May-13 09:51:38

Going abroad for higher education isn't a "face saver" anymore (I agree it might have been in the past). Big name universities actively and aggressively try to recruit the best students from across the globe. France is currently haemorrhaging its bourgeois undergraduates to the UK and the US and doing absolutely nothing to retain them, but British and US universities require much higher bac marks than do French prépas (or the more competitive university courses). French students want to go abroad to study because the experience will just be so much nicer in every way.

dogsandcats Fri 03-May-13 09:51:47

bella65, but they have proved they will travel.
Am actually speaking from my own limited experience.
A DD partly got employed because it was obvious from another job, that she was more than willing to travel at the drop of a hat.

bella65 Fri 03-May-13 10:15:58

Sorry dogs but I can only disagree from my own experience.
I don't think whether you lived overseas to do your degree has any bearing on job offers at all re. ability to do business travel. You are offered a job on the basis of your ability to do the job- not on your ability to get on a plane and travel to another office.

happygardening Fri 03-May-13 10:50:14

"they are also proving that they would travel for work. Which makes them more appealing to future employers."
"Sorry dogs but I can only disagree from my own experience."
bella I wonder in a competitive job market if studying abroad makes you stand out from the crowd? It also shows adaptability hopefully tolerance of difference and maybe self sufficiency, the ability not to follow the crowd down the conventional road, and possibly if looking at Europe learn or become fluent in another language. These things are things a prospective employer might see as positive attributes. My DH finds his staff risk averse and parochial graduates and non graduates many have never left the county and on a trip up to "Londern" (remember we are Hot Fuzz) "can't wait to get back to the security of Parochialtownsville where most live."

hardboiled Fri 03-May-13 10:58:06

Flatmum, with 100,000 pa you can send two children to private school and eat organic chicken. Believe me, YOU CAN. Try asking for financial help from a private school while on that salary and see what they say.
A different matter is do you really want to. And that's a personal decision.