Dear Parents and Children,
Congratulations for making through your PSLE. It is time for fun, leisure and also putting the Singaporediscovers vouchers to use. But save this link because you will be needing it next year when your children start their secondary school.
Your Secondary School Pocket Money Guide
Your child is 12, capable of making good decision (although sometimes you might disagree) and entering into their next phase of their lives. It will be an exciting journey for them. As parents, one of the best things you can do is to prepare adequately for them financially (This is what you can do to help yourself: 6 Levels Wealth Karate). The day to day cost of studying in primary school and secondary school are very different. In this article, I hope to give a guide on how much pocket money to give your children.
A big thank you to Josarah, Vivien, Yitong, HongMing, Xueting, Alcina and many others who helped made this article possible.
Our Secondary School Journey
Although time and cost may have change, the main structure of secondary school education remains the same. I remember those mornings where I flew out of bed in fright because my mom used to shout from the kitchen
“还不起来?！730了!“。(Are you sure you don’t want to wake up? It is already 730am)
730am is the timing I have to reach/report to school. Otherwise, there will be detention, writing 1000x of “I will not be late” and I absolutely hated that. Every morning, I jolted out of bed only to find out it was only 615am. Strangely, this worked for me even though I knew my mom was calling bluff. Recess break around 1030am and also lunch break at around 130pm. I had band practice in the noon only to go home around 5pm every day. My Saturdays were also filled up by band practice. We usually had lunch at 12pm and finish about 4pm to go home.
Coming from a humble family, Saturday lunch wasn’t exciting as I couldn’t afford anything more than a mixed vegetable rice with 2 vegetable and 1 meat. I watched in envy (sometimes sadness) as some of my friends ate at MacDonald or drink bubble tea. Hence, I was determined to have a good relationship with money so that life will be better.
In any case, here is the ultimate secondary school pocket money guide for your planning in 2021.
Ultimate Secondary School Pocket Money Guide
We are talking about growing children here. We eat and we eat a lot during this age. After getting some data from some of my friends who are teachers, these are what they have shared with me.
Recess: From $1.80 to $4
Lunch: From $3 to $10 (In secondary school, the duration are longer and sometimes students might want to eat outside school. The cost of lunch will increase if they order from food court/starbucks/KFC etc)
As this is the most important expenditure (at least in my opinion) for students, there are financial assistance scheme which you can take advantage of. Please ask your teachers for more information as I’m unable to find more on the web. Here are some references from Pei Cai Secondary and also the MOE Press Release. From those website, those eligible students in secondary schools will receive subsidies of $2.90 per meal.
Depending on the location of the school, your children might need to take the public transport to school. As this is a fairly consistent expenditure, you may want to consider whether a concession pass or which concession pass will make sense.
The cost of transportation may be between $26 to $54 (in the most extreme). If the school is within walking distance, you would have saved on this expenditure.
If you are an adult, this will be applicable for you. Save Money on Transportation Singapore.
Depending on the CCA, the cost will be slightly different. I used to be in the military band and I had to pay the treasurer $2/month (In 2000) as band fee. The $2 was used to pay for printing of our scores, our reeds and the maintenance of our instruments. While it is not a hefty sum of money, it is good to note that your child is paying for this too.
When I spoke to my friends who are teachers, 100% of them observed most students will drink bubble tea. I do not have much experience with bubble tea as I was unable to afford in the past. However, I have noticed that bubble tea is one of the things that will give students joy. As adults, we have an occasional good meal as a way to celebrate our hard work. Why not students then?
According to statista, it seems like an average cost of bubble tea cost around $4.
Secondly, some of our passion may develop at that age. It could be a card game, a sport, a book or perhaps just an item that they want because of peer pressure. I believe that they are at the age to start learning about personal finance and this is one of the best ways to start.
Let them explore and the lessons will become.
I would suggest starting with $50/month for enjoyment/hobby fund. They can use the opportunity to save the rest to start a good personal finance habit.
Final Thoughts By Wealthdojo
This is the summary of secondary school expenses. I strongly encourage parents to start off with giving weekly allowance. This is to encourage them to plan their money wisely. We want to start good habits especially when they are young. We want to avoid them growing up spending majority of their money right after their payday and then live like a monk for the rest of the month. This is a simple way to start.
After they matured, you can consider giving them monthly allowance. I would also advice not to give the bare minimum as it will create a scarcity mindset in your children. I would suggest this is a great chance to share with them about these concepts which I have written an article about.
We wish you all the best! Take care and stay safe. Let me know what you think.
Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.
Feel Free To Reach Out To Share Your Thoughts.
The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.