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How I Paid for Princess School


I know my decision to allow Princess to finish her last two years at a private high school is controversial here at BAD. But the good news, is that this year, her junior year is now paid for in its entirety…and no new debt added.

As I mentioned in the post announcing her decision, the cost for the year, after grants and merit scholarships was $3,000. I had decided to do my best to pay it in two lump sums of $1,500 a piece to avoid the monthly payment plan fee and because I didn’t feel like I could pay the full amount up front.

How Did I Pay for Her Private School

BUT…a family member who wishes to remain anonymous graciously offered to pay 1/2 of her tuition…and I had already been saving to pay the other half due at the end of this month. By having the full amount up front, I was able to take the 5% discount, saving $150. Perfect!

Side Hustle Income

So how, you ask, did I have an extra $1,500 in my budget for this expense? Well, thankfully, a client referred another client to me this summer. And the project I am completing for them came to $1,200. It was not in my monthly income to cover regular expenses, so I was able to just dedicate it to this new expense without missing a beat. As a contractor, this happens regularly. And while the projects are not always so lucrative, I do get them a few times a year.

And saving the extra 5% made this even better because I only had to add an additional $150 in out of my regular income and voila, the year of school was paid for!!! A weight off my shoulders, for which, I am very grateful.

You Did Warn Me

Now several of the commenters did warn me of “extra” costs, and I was already surprised by a new one…a $125 activity fee. This fee isn’t due until next month so I have some time to work it into my budget AND contact the school to find out if there will be any more surprises! More to come on that…

(But I had already checked on school trips, etc. and actually the junior year is the one year they don’t take a grade level trip. Woot, woot! And now I am forewarned for next year.)


I mentioned there was a bus that would transport Princess to and from the new school…but yikes, the price is $750! Nope, not doing it. That’s essentially 3 car payments…almost a semesters worth. Not happening. So I’m keeping that money in my pocket and will drive her myself. That’s a good chunk toward another car for me…however, that decision works out.


This past weekend, we visited Kennesaw State University for History Buff. (And I make Princess go on all the twins college visits so we don’t have to return anywhere twice.) But while we were down that way, I decided to swing by the uniform store to get Princess sized, etc. Little did I know, that I would be purchasing her uniform then as well…but it worked out. But a whopping $497 was spent on uniform pieces.

But I am happy to announce she is all set for the school year. Unless she needs something for volleyball, she will not need any additional clothes for at least this school year and probably next school year as well!

Now before you jump down my throat on this expense, know this…I have always given the kids $200-300 in the fall and the spring for new clothes. It’s in my budget. If these clothes can last the next two years…and there is no reason they shouldn’t since Princess is done growing. I will actually have saved money on clothes!!!

This money was already saved and expected…we just spent it a little earlier than normal. But that’s okay. She is now ready for her new school and have clothes that fit well.


I feel very good about this decision made by Princess for herself. I think empowering her to make this move will have a positive long term affect on her. And I can already see the pride she has in just the accomplishment of being accepted. Here’s to new challenges and new things!


  • Reply Canan Onat |

    I can understand your motivation to provide the best education for your kids so, sacrificing other things for education is acceptable in my book. However, you need to be fair between your kids. They should understand and believe that your budget is tight but, there will be a time when you will be equally generous with them.

  • Reply Angie |

    What a blessing! I think this will be great.

    Did you do the cost-benefit on the transportation? I have no clue how far the Walmart pickup or the school is. But if $750 is for the year and the school is far you might save that much in gas and have another 1-2 hours of your day to work. I’m assuming its far but I have no clue. Just a thought. If it’s not inconveniencing you or saving you money then continue as planned.

  • Reply C@thesingledollar |

    I really strongly recommend that Princess’s first stop in September is the college counseling office at the new school. An upside of a private school might be a better counseling operation than she’d get in public school. If she’s really bright, she should aim high; lots of very expensive private colleges are now providing full rides (no loans) to low-income families, and it’s not actually all that easy for them to find poor students who make their academic qualifications so her chances aren’t too bad. She ought to apply to a wide range of colleges, including Georgia public schools, of course, but also private universities/colleges that might seem wildly unaffordable at first glance. (This is what the school counselor should be able to help her identify.) It’s the second-tier private colleges that don’t have money to offer really extensive scholarships that will genuinely be out of reach. Anyway, the beginning of junior year is a great time to start identifying a list. Then she can work on filling in any holes the counselor identifies (more science or language classes? whatever) and not be caught off guard by them senior year when it’s too late.

  • Reply shanna |

    Agree with above. Additionally the elite/upper tier schools want to see you have taken the most rigorous schedule YOUR school offers. So moving from your public school to this one could greatly increase the rigor offered. She should be taking their most rigorous maths, sciences, literature/English, etc each year. Another note on surprise expenses-I had assumed the bus came with a price tag but it sounds like you were caught off guard. I would additionally look into the cost of sports at the school as well as all costs associated with graduation (announcements, cap/gown, tassels, senior ring if they do it, Senior Night if they do it, Senior Ball, Senior Breakfast, Senior BBQ, etc). Senior year is an expensive one so planning ahead will really help you. She should also “register” at school she is interested in, they often may send free application fee codes.

  • Reply Jen |

    I’m not sure why you are surprised by the activity fee? It’s listed clear as day on the school’s website. One would think you would have seen this when you were researching this school.

    As far as bussing vs. driving. It’s going to take you 40 minutes, minimum, to take your daughter to and from school each day. Plus gas. So you are potentially losing out on approximately one hours’ worth of income. If the school goes the state-mandated 180 days per year (not counting trips for activities, or teacher conferences), that’s $4.16 per day in gas, anything over that and you will be spending more. The average gas price in your state is currently $2.67. Are you really able to make that drive using less than 2 gallons of gas? Yes, $750 is the bigger expense up front, but the car is going to cost more in the long run.

So, what do you think ?