Returning to study is an important investment in your future and your earning potential. Thankfully, with a few changes to your budget and a choice of payment plans, it’s easy to balance your online course fees and minimise any potential financial stress.
1. Flexible and convenient course payment plans
You’ll discover that The College for Adult Learning provides generous payment plans with flexibility to vary payments weekly, fortnightly or monthly according to your payroll cycle.
Here’s what you need to know about CAL’s easy payment plans:
- Plans start from 3 months up to 18 months long
- They can be tailored to your individual needs and financial circumstances
- The shorter the plan and the sooner you pay off the plan, the cheaper it is
- It’s a plan, not a loan, so there’s no interest or extra fees after the initial set up
- It’s important to keep to the term and payments as agreed, however, if your financial circumstances change you can pay off the entire balance with no extra fees
- If you need to reduce payments due to financial stress, CAL will support you to find a solution that works
KEY TIP: A tailored course payment plan is a convenient way to fit the extra cost of self-education into your household budget in a manageable way. Simply click the ‘Fees & Payment Options’ tab on the specific course page of the course you want to do for examples of payment plans.
2. Easy household budgeting – how to embrace the ‘B’ word
We know that not everyone enjoys budgeting, but it is a recommended step when you wish to include a once-off lump sum payment or new payment plan commitment into your household.
- Work out the cost of the course and add this line into your household budget under self-development
- Work out which of your household expenses are fixed (like rent, utilities and the course) and which are variable (like movies, eating out, takeaway food, clothes, as well as gym, Netflix, Spotify, magazine subscriptions)
- Look 30 days ahead: List all the fixed expenses at least 30 days ahead so that you are aware of what is coming up
- List all your usual variable expenses and get busy mining for gold – where can you reduce bank fees or insurance, forgo a weekly takeaway or meal out, or put off buying new clothes?
- Set yourself a savings goal to remove any variable expenses you can and reduce at least three of your variable expenses by 15-20% for as long as you need to allow for the extra cost of the course
- Consider what you aren’t using that could be turned into cash such as gym equipment, unused phones, and hardly worn clothes. Put any extra money straight into your course savings account
KEY TIP: If you consider it as an investment – in yourself – rather than an expense then you’ll be motivated to save for it
3. Smart savings tips to get started with your course sooner
- If you can, give yourself a small amount of time to save for the course before you sign up. Once you know your online course fee, divide the total cost by the number of weeks you have before you start
- But … if you want to start straight away look at the course payment plan options
- Use your household budgeting to set up a weekly direct debit to put away money into a separate no-fee online account just for the course
KEY TIP: Setting the amount aside as a direct debit on payday will ensure you do not miss the savings or payment
- Check out online resources for excellent households’ savings tips. Jump online and do a ‘best savings tips’ search or look at popular meal planning, parenting and money management websites.
- A great place to start is with Money Smart.
4. Check if your course is a valid tax deduction
Many students find they are eligible to claim the course fee as a tax deduction. To check this out for yourself visit the ATO website for further information.
KEY TIP: Always check with your accountant before claiming.
Knowing your budget and course fee is under control will allow your focus to be on completing your course and qualification for your satisfaction and benefit. Once you have your new qualification, you’ll never look back.