When I was younger, like when I was in my twenties, I used to hear older people groan every January.
“I’m so broke,” some of the men would say. “I just paid school fees.”
“God help us o. January is so tight.”
“If anyone asks me for any stupid money right now, I’ll break their head.”
I hated hearing these old people complain every school term. I didn’t just dislike what they said or feel only slightly inconvenienced by the grunting. What I felt every time was much more visceral. Seeing people do that to themselves every time was like madness. To make things worse, some of those who complained about the stress of paying high school fees still went ahead and had more children. Jesus!
So I vowed that this would never happen to me. In fact, I swore I would not have any children until I was rich.
Let’s just say I have joined the School Fees Season gang. But thankfully what I deal with is not as terrible as those old folks’ problems. Even though I started having kids before I was rich and famous, at least I can say learnt my lessons early. Thanks, Grumpy Dads in my old offices.
Which is the point of this post. How to make school fees season less taxing.
- Don’t have too many children. Honestly, two is fine. You’ll see that most hotels and family-focused products these days even only list Family of Four as their default household size setting. But if you’re brave and can withstand the yakking from your extended family, keep it at one child. Children are not property we’re acquiring to furnish the house. When you have a child, it’s a whole life you’re taking responsibility for. And don’t start with that nonsense of what if it’s a girl or what if it’s a boy? It’s still a whole life and, as I said, not a piece of furniture. Be responsible.
- Be the Joneses. The schools we send the kids to, sometimes, are a reflection of how we want people to see us, not what the kids need. Oh, my child goes to Day Waterman is calling card for many. If that’s what you choose, great. Don’t complain about school fees season when there are way cheaper as just as good schools in your neighbourhood. I’ve learnt that sometimes one can be a reverse-influencer when one goes against the expected practices. Instead of trying to be like the Joneses and murder with unattainable dreams, one can turn around and go for the opposite and then the Joneses will want to be like you. The guy who spends considerably lower than on school fees yet has some of the smartest kids around? Please show me that guy, I want to know his secrets. If that’s you, well done to you Ma/Sir.
- Talk the talk. I’ve learnt that a lot of times, many people are pressured into these costly school arrangements by their spouses. So, it may be difficult, but having a discussion, often repeatedly, on what’s what and why’s why may make things easier on the bank account.
The long and short of this is, life is too short. Don’t spend it paying bills and die. Do your best, my friend. Live.