Estimate how much you’ll need. For primary and secondary school the key difference in cost is whether your child will go to a government, an independent (for example catholic) or a private school.
For a child born in 2012, education expenses (school fees and extracurricular activities) from preschool until their final year could range up to about $60,000 for a public school, $200,000 for an independent school and $400,000 for a private school according to the Australian Scholarship Group.
Costs include next to school fees also extracurricular activities, uniforms, schoolbags, books and stationary, musical instrument, transport and technology costs such as for a computer and internet.
For tertiary education today, a three-year course to become an accountant will cost about $30,000 in total course fees. Add the costs of living for a student in shared accommodation, and this could blow out to about $120,000.
For a six-year medical course, course fees would be about $62,500 and if you include living costs it could be around $250,000.
For a student who starts university in 10 years, total costs are estimated to run up to about $175,000 to become an accountant and about $375,000 for a medical qualification, including accommodation and other expenses.
Budget for your savings
Saving for your child’s education is similar to any other long-term savings goal. The best time to start saving is as soon as possible, preferably when your child is born or earlier. Make a budget and decide how much you can put aside each week and increase this each year to account for inflation.
There are a number of ways you can achieve your savings goal. It can be as simple as setting up a direct debit from your account and deducting a weekly amount into education savings. You could also make lump-sum contributions, such as your annual tax refund, or pay the 50% Child Care Rebate into your education savings account.