I talk to a lot of moms in the Lancaster County area who would love to afford private school education but just don’t find it practical or possible. Affording a private education or a Christian education might seem like a big investment, but if the education is worth it and if you want to purchase it, it is just like buying another valuable commodity.
I loved how Ty Fischer shared these tips on making a Christian education fit into your budget. He was kind enough to share them here for Frugal Lancaster readers as well! I hope you find them as practical as I did!
1. Kill debt.
Debt is the enemy of your income. It sucks the life out of your bank account and limits your choices, so the first, and most important way to free up your income is to attack the debts that might be quietly eating it away.
2. Budget carefully.
Take stock of priorities; talk through the priorities; and make sacrifices for what you value. This step is not rocket science, but it can be painful. But the challenge—and the common effort of taking control of your income—can be something that improves your marriage focuses your life.
3. Look for help.
If you are interested in private Christian schools, see the help that might be there for you (but do it in the right way)! Some churches support Christian education. Some grandparents are passionate about giving their grandkids an education.
The best approach to your church leaders or your family members is one that is honest, that invites feedback, and that recognizes that paying for education is a parental responsibility. Have a talk with them about why you feel called to send your children to a private Christian school, but admit that you do not know how you can afford it. Be honest. Let them know that you need help. Listen to them. They might not agree with your assessment that you are called to do it or they might not be able to help even if they want to. Do not twist arms or break relationships!
Even if you are convinced that funding Christian schooling is a business that churches need to be in, recognize that many churches (in fact most) don’t see it that way. You might have to sell your leadership on a vision before you ask for support yourself….and that will take time, patience, and prayer. Have the same consideration with family members. When you find a school, invite them to come on a tour, take their advice about what they saw and whether they think that the investment is worth it.
4. Find the right school.
Don’t invest in a subpar education. Find a school that shares your passions and also provides a strong academic environment for your child. Invest in something that makes a difference for your child and for the kingdom. When you find that school, be open and honest with the leaders. Learn about the financial aid that they offer. Again, approach the conversation with honesty and with humility. If this is something that you feel called to for your children, make it clear. Many schools will fight to get your children in if you are passionate about getting them in.
5. Get an overall plan.
Start learning about finances more throughly. My favorite starting point for people is the very simple Baby Step Plan offered by Dave Ramsey at Ramsey Solutions. It is not about sophisticated investment strategy. It is so simple that anyone can do it. It focuses on clear goals and behavior change. Also, his organization runs Financial Peace University classes all over the country. There is likely one close to you.
This post was originally written by Ty Fischer for the Veritas Academy Blog. Ty has been the headmaster at Veritas Academy in Leola, PA since 1997. He received a BA in history from Grove City College and a Master of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. He serves on the board of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools. Ty and his wife, Emily, are the parents of four daughters Maddy, Laynie, Karis and Elyse and the proud owners of one “periodically good” puggle, Roxy.