With the start of every new term or semester, many parents' hearts begin to stutter as they consider the cost of their children's school and tuition fees for the next school term. This does not need to be your reality. It is possible to have quality education for your children that is debt free and does not require breaking the bank. This is putting in mind attendant financial commitments every month.

Saving for a child's education requires careful consideration and proper planning. Failing to plan is an automatic ticket that reads 'planning to fail'. Let me mention here that you are not just saving-you are saving for a purpose.

Early this year, CNN reported that the cost of raising a child has skyrocketed nearly 40% in the last 10 years since the global recession. When you consider the clothing, food, shelter, education, and other aspects of raising a child, it's easy to see how your bank account is often dry at the end of the month.

My advice is that you take baby steps. There are many simple things you can do to help you save towards school resumption:

Start early

Parents should start saving for their children's education as soon as they possible. You can start as soon as they are a year old or better yet, before having kids at all. Accumulated savings can grow over several years when invested properly. Please meet your bank to discuss options and set up a monthly debit order. Many banks also have dedicated child savings plans with better interest rates.

By investing from an early age, you will eliminate the financial worry of not having sufficient funds to give your children the best education possible, as the funds in your investment will grow every year.

Note that this money is no longer yours and you cannot 'borrow' from it. If your income cannot finance your children's education without a loan uptake every time, it means the school is not sustainable in the long run and you might have to find an economical option that instils the same values as the more expensive one.

Also, endeavour to discuss with your children the genuine reasons why they have to change schools emphasizing the fact that sending them out of school constantly is embarrassing.

Explore ways to get discounts

It is advisable to do some research and contact schools to find out whether they offer financial incentives that could result in long-term savings. Many schools offer a discount if the fees are paid as a once-off amount in advance. Some also offer a reduction when there is more than one child attending the school. These types of savings can make a big difference over an 18-year period or more you sponsor your children's education.

Another avenue for discounted education is scholarship or grants. Several organisations offer full or partial scholarships for students with excellent academic performance. This is not a call however to put the children under undue pressure. If they are able to get such, good! If not, they have an overall better performance anyway.

Explore Smart Shopping Options

Smart strategies can relieve pressure at the store so you don't overspend. It is imperative that you only shop once and get everything you need in one trip. Shopping for items in bits can cause you to frequently overspend.  Shopping without your children in tow is an excellent idea because they demand instant gratification which as an adult, you know is not wise nor pocket friendly.

Buying second hand items is an awesome fees saving idea. This can definitely take some getting used to, if you're used to brand new. For instance, you can decide to buy books second - hand. Toys are another item you can save money on by buying used. Bicycles are an example, they're significantly more affordable when bought used. You would be surprised at what you can get for a small amount of money without sacrificing your kids' fun.

Final Word

Saving money with your family doesn't have to require drastic steps. Instead, small, simple methods can make a big difference for your bottom line. It might take some getting used to, but getting your family on board with your money-saving efforts makes it easier to add more padding to your savings account. The overall reduced stress is worth the effort.