Q Back to school is just around the corner and with two kids in high school and one in college I always dread this time of year. I don’t want to put everything on the credit card, but I’m not sure if I can cover all the costs. Any advice would be gratefully received.
A The back-to-school grant was increased this year, so you might want to check if you’re eligible. According to Credit Union Development Association (CUDA) executive director Kevin Johnson, it’s a help that’s unlikely to mitigate costs. You should also check other government supports that may be available to you, such as: B. Tuition Tax Relief, Medical Expense Tax Relief and other tax relief to which many Irish households are entitled but many never claim. That being said, you can be frugal with your money – shop everything, Mr Johnson said. Certain retail stores, recognizing that many parents are under financial pressure, have launched products to address this. Not everything has to be brand new. If your child has siblings, cousins, or friends who are a year or two ahead in school, it might be an idea to talk to their parents about maybe buying some used items at a great price. If it is necessary to take out a loan, make sure you are dealing with a trusted provider and getting the best value for your money. Personal loans from credit unions, for example, charge much lower interest rates than credit cards, he said.
Q We are a retired couple looking to renew shortly with Laya on their Essential Connect Family program. Is this a good cover or can we do better?
A According to TotalHealthCover.ie’s Dermot Goode, this is still a good policy that covers semi-private accommodation in standard private hospitals. It has a one-off deductible of €300 on first admission to a private hospital, but as it is not a full corporate program there are no guaranteed reimbursements for outpatient expenses. Mr Goode said the plan is also quite expensive at €1,584 per adult as it has been on the market for some time. He recommends you also look at Laya’s corporate program, Simply Connect, which brings your costs down to €1,361 each, which is a better overall guideline. This new plan requires you to pay a small deductible for each private hospital admission, but you can now claim back 50 per cent on a range of reimbursable outpatient expenses such as GP, doctor’s fees, physical therapy, etc. with no deductible first, up to a maximum reimbursement of each 500 euros to pay. If you want higher coverage for outpatient expenses, you can also consider the Simply Connect Plus program for €1,471 each, which offers up to €1,000 per member for outpatient treatment, Mr Goode said.
Q As the price of everything goes up, I really want to teach my kids the value of money. What can I do?
A According to Frank Conway, financial literacy expert and founder of MoneyWhizz, adults’ financial abilities can be far from impressive when it comes to key issues like taxation, retirement planning, investing, and key concepts like compound interest. Schools provide an ideal environment to foster better money literacy. The start of school in August, when parents are busy planning, also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to chat about money with their children. Activities should include saving, spending, planning, budgeting and price comparison. Tasks could include a budget challenge, Mr. Conway suggested. Here you give kids a budget and a list of items to pick up during a regular grocery shopping run at the supermarket, where they are challenged to stick to the budget. Other activities include a price comparison task. Here you ask the children to use unit prices (example – cost per liter or cost per kg) to identify which retailers offer the best value for money across a range of goods and services. He said parents should reward children for identifying possible budget savings at different retailers or with product alternatives. Mr. Conway suggests asking the children to estimate the cost of each item on the weekly grocery list. Children as young as seven have developed various money habits that can last a lifetime. It’s important they are taught from an early age that money is finite and needs to be managed carefully, and that it’s okay to have financial limits, he said.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/what-can-i-do-to-help-cover-cost-of-sending-kids-back-to-school-41940501.html What can I do to cover the costs of my children’s school attendance?