"I wish I had been to a budget adviser when my first kid started high school," says Paul, a father of three.
"And now I've got three teenagers, the costs of feeding and clothing them are astronomical."
School uniforms cost the earth, and school fees seem to go up and up, he said.
Paul spent a bit of time muttering about it but eventually listened to a friend's suggestion to go and get some help.
"Turns out I was paying for a few things which I didn't have to, like the school ‘donations'," he says.
"When money's a struggle, these are the costs that have to go, even if you'd like to be able to pay them."
A few other suggestions include returning to packed school lunches, except for a treat now and then.
"I used to give the kids money to buy lunch once a week," says Paul.
"Making that once a fortnight doesn't seem like a big deal to the kids but means I have an extra $30 every two weeks."
With three constantly growing teens, another significant saving was in second-hand school uniforms.
"I hadn't realised how cheap you can get second-hand stuff, and heaps of it looks like it's new.
"It's great when kids grow out of clothes so quickly to not pay for new every time."
- Sunday News
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