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Just wondering how others manage school fees...

(284 Posts)
treasureland Tue 10-Jul-18 11:11:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ooogetyooo Tue 10-Jul-18 11:43:45

We might be in similar position next year. Though our fees will be about £12000 a year. People I know who have done the same just make financial sacrifices particularly if they haven't planned ahead and find themselves paying for private with a year or less notice. Some take different jobs go without luxuries and holidays shop in cheaper supermarkets etc. Some of the people I know who've done this only have 1 child to consider, and we'll be the same . And tell themselves 'it's just for 5 years ' ( for secondary, can do A levels elsewhere if they get that far) it's certainly been an eye opener for me how some couples manage it when previously I'd assumed you had to be quite wealthy, though everything is relative I suppose.

ReservoirDogs Tue 10-Jul-18 11:44:54

If you are remortgaging to.pay a couple of years fees then I would make sure it is year 9-11 that are fee paying and that it is indeed the right school for your DC.

what if you cover yrs7-8 but then can't afford the rest. Yrs 9-11 cover gcses which will hopefully give a good grounding to switch to a decent state 6th form

Ooogetyooo Tue 10-Jul-18 11:45:15

Does the school have a payment plan where you can pay smaller chunks through the year?

Shutupsidney Tue 10-Jul-18 11:50:27

I think people sacrifice a lot, but frankly if that means no pension, no mortgage paid off, that to me is too much.

Hoppinggreen Tue 10-Jul-18 11:53:25

We are in The North and School Fees aren’t too high, dd also has a part scholarship
We pay from earned income but we always have a years fees allocated in savings as well

treasureland Tue 10-Jul-18 11:58:18

Thanks for the reply. smile

They seem to invoice termly so I assume we have to pay a term ahead. We haven't got all the details yet as it happened out of plan....

My concern is the fact that we need to remortgaging. I heard in the past someone saying remortgaging to pay for school fees was a terrible idea which echos what Shutupsidney is saying. We are not young parents neither.

Hoppinggreen's case is ideal really.

treasureland Tue 10-Jul-18 12:01:16

Suppose it's very risky if you don't have good saving even if you earn considerable amount. That's us...

TeenTimesTwo Tue 10-Jul-18 12:01:24

We have friends who have educated privately. No foreign holidays, beat up old cars, no home improvements such as new kitchen or conservatory. Limited meals out, no fancy x-boxes. Not going on the school trips abroad either.

Schools give bursaries too.

In contrast, we have taken our DDs to various places abroad, (including supporting their particular interests), we can afford focussed tutoring if needed. We have funds available to help them onto housing ladder.

I do think you have to have a plan for y7-11 if you are going to start this. You can't just 'hope' you can afford it.

Say the fee paying school is the 'Rolls Royce' of education. Is your state option a BMW, Ford or Skoda? i.e. I know you think it is better, but how much better? Really worth 100k+ ?

KeepingTheWormsQuiet Tue 10-Jul-18 12:02:08

It sounds to me like you can't afford it. I know (from reading Mumsnet) that people remortgage to pay fees, but it's crazy. Don't you want to own the house at some point and have somewhere to live when you're old? Don't you want to have some money to live on above the state retirement pension? What happens if one of you loses your job?

My children are at state schools, but people I know with children in private schools have high incomes and bonuses and don't have to remortgage to pay the fees- bankers, lawyers, partners in accountancy firms etc.

Some things just aren't affordable and it would be a shame if you have to take him out of a school where he is happy because you've run out of money.

mrsm43s Tue 10-Jul-18 12:04:40

We are good middling, but not exceptional earners, and are putting 2 children through private school. We don't have any assistance from relatives or school. In total its approx £3K per month (year round on a payment plan) for the 2 sets of school fees, plus we also need to pay for additional extras such as music lessons, expensive uniform and school trips. This is just under half of our monthly take home pay.

To afford it we:
- (The big one!) have paid off our mortgage, and live in modest home. This means our monthly housing expenses and costs are very low.
- We both work full time
- Drive old bangers, only update them when we need to because repair costs get too high. Our newest car is 12 years old.
- Cheap camping/caravanning holidays
- Bargain hunt/save/cut cost where we can
- Stick to only buying necessities re clothing/shoes/home decor etc
- Have bought a BTL and have a big chunk in savings (we did this while the children were at state primary - saving the equivalent fee amount to give us a big nest egg). I hope not to have to sell the BTL or run down our savings, but that's our safety net, and TBH I wouldn't have committed to private school without this behind us, as month by month it's very tight.
- Will most likely only do private education from 11-16 (although sixth form is a possibility, we've prepared the children that they might well go back to state at 16).

I would imagine we have one of the lowest incomes of the parents, but zero debt and quite a lot in savings and property.

It's hard, but IMO absolutely worthwhile.

SandysMam Tue 10-Jul-18 12:06:13

I think in those circumstances I would move to be near an excellent state school and top up with extra tuition and extra cirricular activities. Your plan sounds massively anxiety inducing. Never mind the cost of the extras that little Cosmo and his pals will want your son to join in with, ski trips etc.

SandysMam Tue 10-Jul-18 12:07:13

Sorry I realise that’s not really what you are asking!

Cblue Tue 10-Jul-18 12:07:39

I agree with @ReservoirDogs

If you are going to remortgage to fund this, and you can only guarantee a few years then years 9 - 11 are the key years.

DD has been in private school since aged 4 (now about to go into 6th form) and I can't imagine what it would have been like to have removed her before GCSEs.

You def need to be sure that you can fund until end of GCSES regardless of which year you start or it could cause more harm than good.

I have a 6 figure salary, she is an only child (no support from her father) and I can just about afford it....it's a big commitment (costs more than my mortgage)

She has had school trips that cost over £1k (one pretty amazing trip was £2.5k but I wouldn't let her go to that). School uniform can be £500 new. Compulsory school lunches (on top of fees) are £250 per term, music lessons are extra, drama is extra etc

.....you need to get your calculator out. But like I said @ReservoirDogs is 100% right about the years in which the investment is worth it

If you can only do 2 years then it's 10 & 11 But your DC will need to cram the summers holidays before.

Consider asking for bursaries or scholarships- you could be surprised.

Good luck and I hope you work it all out. Plus many state schools can be really good, private isn't the only option

Needmoresleep Tue 10-Jul-18 12:08:20

You cut other spending. For us that meant:

- no house decoration
- free family hand-me down cars
- cheap French gite holidays
- keeping discretionary spending to a minimum. No take out coffees, sandwiches to work, serviceable (Uniqlo) rather than designer clothes for kids, and so on.
- mainly cooking from scratch
- relied on au pairs, holiday schemes, and staying with GPs for child care.

This was not a problem for us, and DC seem to value time rather than money, and were happy to use Christmas/birthday money from GPs for items like bikes. They are also probably more self-reliant than they would have been had I been a SAHM.

We were also very lucky as we bought rental property when they were very young, using a redundancy payment, mainly as a savings vehicle, allowing us to sell if/when we needed capital. Instead the rental income plus my earned income paid the fees, and DH's paid our living costs and mortgage.

We have got to the end now, and are probably better off than we would otherwise have been. The mortgage on the rental property is paid off, and I have a pension from my full time job. But it was really tough at the time. My father became very ill and I felt as if I was being stretched in a lot of directions.

We also always had a Plan B of moving further out of London and into a good state school catchment. To some extent the juggling was only possible as I was able to find a job within a bike ride of home and school.

I think it was worth it. DC enjoyed their schooling and seem to be happy to work hard. They may not have had as much attention as others, but we became a sort of team, and they expected to pitch in.

AlexanderHamilton Tue 10-Jul-18 12:09:20

We put two children through private school in an income of just under £60k. However:

Combined fees were £18,000 per year in secondary (less in primary)

We bought our house st the right time a 3 bed detached for £90k & were able to put down a 20% deposit from the sale of our previous house. Our mortgage was £400 per month.

We holiday in my parents caravan & live a simple life.

Incidentally private school was a disaster for Ds & we had to move him last year.

Fadingmemory Tue 10-Jul-18 12:10:07

I bought a house in a not so desirable area and used the excess from the sale of the marital home to pay the school fees. A house or flat near good state primaries is very expensive here (2 bed top floor near good state school then cost £50,000 more than the 3 bed house were we lived). I realise we were financially fortunate. Don’t regret it.

TeenTimesTwo Tue 10-Jul-18 12:11:55

Mind you, re-reading, any advice not to do this seems superfluous as the DC is due to start in less than 2 months? (Do you still have a state place or have you rejected it?)

AveEldon Tue 10-Jul-18 12:12:00

I think if you have to remortgage you can't afford it

Lots of people on seemingly low income pay fees by - having no or v small housing costs, reduced fees by bursary or scholarship, grandparents paying (most won't tell you about these)

Make sure you allow for all the extra costs and assume a minimum 5% fee increase each year

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 10-Jul-18 12:13:56

My DD is in private education and had been before ExH left and at the time he had a good job.
He left me and lost his good job, I now get £27.35 per month maintenance.
I earn well, but is variable as I am self employed.
I downsized to smaller newer house so mortgage was less and it was much, much more efficient. Then frankly I go without rarely go out, rarely have new clothes and rarely eat out. Some years it is tight.
I left her in private education as she needed stability and her self esteem was very dramatically affected by the chaotic lifestyle her father choose after he left. The school provided exemplary pastoral support for her and I felt the benefit to her far outweighed the cost to me.
I only have two years left.

TheGoldenWolfFleece Tue 10-Jul-18 12:14:46

I think it would be absurd to send your dc to private school if it meant remortgaging your house (which i would never do unless i absolutely had to - that's your security) and living with beat up cars and second hand clothes if i didn't have to. I would rather live more comfortably day to day and give my dc (and myself!) days out and the odd holiday than pauper myself to pay for non essential schooling costs. Id rather put them in a decent state school and pay for tutors if necessary.

Hoppinggreen Tue 10-Jul-18 12:15:04

treasure is this for Primary?
Unless the only Primary options are awful I would save for Private Secondary instead. We did this as dd got a place at a good State Primary and the transition was fine for her in year 7 - in fact she was much more mature and street wise than many of her contemporaries who had been at the school since Prep. She also has friends at various schools rather than having had the same friends from age 4
I would imagine that if you were no longer able to afford fees and had to move to State Secondary it would be a more difficult transition and in our area at least Primary provision is ok but Secondary is dire.

MargaretCavendish Tue 10-Jul-18 12:18:14

I'm sorry but I think remortgaging to pay school fees is total madness. Cutting back by not taking foreign holidays, having an old banger, etc. is one thing, but if parents are actually endangering their own financial stability then that's very different, and I think quite unhealthy. Sacrificing to that extent for a school is going to put a lot of pressure on - what if it doesn't live up to your expectations?

columba6 Tue 10-Jul-18 12:19:00

It's a commitment and once you're in the system it's hard to leave. We sold our house and have been renting ever since. My OH has to work away where the pay is better. We've gone years without holidays and what people may consider luxuries. It's hard.

Both kids nearly through and while I see DD has had great benefit and loved it. Sadly not sure I can say the same for DS.

Think you either pay fees one way or another. Buying a house in a good school's catchment area or fees.

Think hard before you commit.

Janleverton Tue 10-Jul-18 12:39:46

There is no way that I’d commit to 7 years of fees if to fund even the first couple of years I’d be remortgaging and making our family’s finances less stable and if I had no definite plan for the subsequent years. I’m more scared of not being able to afford it later down the line and removing dc from a school they’re settled in than that their achievement and education will be significantly worse, but then the state options where I live are decent.

Family who have gone private have had the fees saved and ready upfront, with contingency for increases. Others have had very very high paying jobs where the fees have a limited impact on the household income.

I very much agree with the pp saying that it’s a good idea to realistically look at the value that is added by the private school and working out whether that is really worth the (potentially) £150k plus. Not sure how much fees are because they do vary. My nephews were/are at a school where the fees are about £24k per year plus cost of exam entry and all the other extras.

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