As a new parent, I have many things to learn while I am cruising in this new life — trying my best to float. As a parent, you want the best for your children by all means— you want them to have the best nutrition, education, clothes and best life in general. When my son was born, I was overwhelmed and got a bit paranoid about everything that concerned him. I got obsessed about his sleeping and feeding hours, diaper changing and the type and sound of his cries. I cannot deny the fact that I dedicated all my energy to this newborn baby and made him the center of my universe — and I would not change it for the world.
I might have thought about many things, but did not think to save money for him—for preschool and school — until he turned two. It suddenly hit me, and I was shocked about how expensive private schools in Kuwait can be.
Parents in Kuwait spend a lot of money on their children’s education— on top of the high tuition fees, additional costs may include textbooks, bus transport services, uniforms, extracurricular activities and sometimes an initial non-refundable admission fee. You can end up paying between KD 1,500 and KD 4,000 per year for a good school for KG1 and KG2 (yes, this is expensive). However, it will add up gradually from grade one until grade 12 — then you will have to think about college.
For parents who have more than two children, paying school fees is a nightmare. For Kuwaitis, they have the option to place their children in public schools, which are free of charge, but most Kuwaitis opt to send their kids to private schools in order to guarantee a better education and secure better jobs in the future.
Unfortunately, nowadays the economic situation worldwide is very tough, and it is very hard for expats who earn a low salary to save money for their children’s tuition fees. Some of them are living paycheck to paycheck and are not able to meet their financial obligations—they can barely make it to the end of the month after paying for rent, food and basic needs. Expats are known to have a culture of saving money to send it to their families back home. Kuwaitis do not have a culture of saving and love to spend money on their pleasures— until reality hits them when they have to pay a big amount of money for their children’s education.
You can start by opening a savings account for your children to secure their future education fees; my advice is to start with small amounts on a monthly basis, as soon as they are born. Even if you have not opened an account yet, it is never too late to start saving for education. Personally, I have informed all my friends and family that in case they want to gift something to my son, I prefer they transfer money directly to his account. Some people might think it is rude or impolite to ask for money, but I think it is a very efficient and smart thing to do for the child’s benefit.
I do understand the dilemma of living with limited or no savings at all, but we have to be keen and financially squeeze ourselves in order to save money, even if it means sacrificing eating out or buying expensive clothes that we like — after all, isn’t parenting about sacrifices?