The truth about how to pay for private school isn’t very exciting. While good income, low costs, careful spending and regularly saying no to a myriad of worthy spending choices are important they aren’t “it”.
Instead, they are signs of an underlying philosophy that is rare these days but common throughout history. And that is self-sacrifice. In short, this is giving up something worthwhile for you so someone else can have something even more worthwhile.
This framework may seem familiar to you as it the basis or morality of most religions.
This beautiful concept has a stark reality. Rare vacations. Older cars and furniture. A higher thermostat in summer. A delayed retirement. Smaller living quarters. On paper this sounds good but the reality is a bit different. For example, my old Subaru leaked gas fumes in the car when the temperatures dropped by 30 degrees (a clip as contracting too far). While not overwhelming it did result in the windows down in January and February. Freezing winds, icy rain and strange looks penetrating even the fuzziest of ear muffs.*
Voluntary self-sacrifice is how family of limited means pays for private school.
This can make you all stronger
As an extra benefit, these hardships are part of the education process. They build toughness, humility, empathy, resilience and demonstrate to all the ability to focus as a family on higher goals. They teach you to be resourceful and solve difficult problems without simply purchasing your way out of every discomfort. It helps prevent a family with extra resources spoiling their child. By definition they will have less materials goods, entertainment and goods as a result.
A better quality of life
You will invariably become an environmentalist as well as produce more and consume less. You will make mistakes, adjust and move on. It might not work. But you will take the leap. Some will praise you but most will criticize you. Be ok with people being upset with you because they think you are wasting money or choice is seen as undermining the public school system. It is ok not to have every one agree with you. Indeed, it is desirable.
.* The Subaru was eventually replaced by a 10 year old Volvo station wagon – a low cost way to get a top IIHS safety rating on the cheap. The second week I had it the passenger window fell into the well. Forever open. Instead of rushing to the dealer I checked the weather (no rain for a week!) and after a lot of research and $19 later the window opens and closes again. It’s not perfect, but it works.
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