Online Learning: Budget for the Costs

Some parents in online parenting groups are joking that they bought pajamas in preparation for the upcoming school year because they children will participate in online learning. They laughed over saving on back-to-school clothes since their children will not be in the classroom. But the truth is that learning at home, no matter the setup, may not save money. Parents who already homeschool know that there are costs associated with purchasing certain curriculums as well as buying supplies. If you haven’t done any financial planning for distance learning, here are some expenses to consider and factor in to your budget:

School supplies: Some schools still sent out lists of school supplies. Perhaps some of these lists are shorter than usual but they are still being sent out. Other parents may find their school wants them to get certain items that would normally be supplied by the school but now need to be purchased for use at home. Parents who opt for certain online schools (not traditional public schools offering their classes online) may need to buy or upgrade a computer.

Higher utility costs: Families who have already been spending more time at home may have seen their utility bills increase and this will likely continue of the children are at home and everyone is using more electricity, water, etc.

If your family didn’t already have high-speed internet service, you may need to get it for your children’s online classes. Some school districts are offering assistance to help families in need pay for internet costs.

Tutors: Parents are making arrangements to make sure their children are getting the academic assistance they need: hiring people to teach in-home or paying older students to spend time helping their kids via Zoom.
If you were paying for extracurricular activities, some of that money that isn’t being used can go towards these kinds fo educational expenses.

Lost work time: One of the biggest considerations for parents who will have children attending school at home is how this may affect the parents’ work and productivity. Older children may be able to handle schoolwork on their own by younger children will need supervision.  But the truth is children of all ages will change the dynamics of a parent’s work environment if the parent is also working from home. Some parents who were working outside of the home mayweed to change hours or leave their jobs if they children’s school has gone online and they don’t have other childcare.

©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Online Learning: Budget for the Costs is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™

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Claire Emory, MBA, CFA, CFP®

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