We recently got some good news – my wife has been accepted into grad school and has started her program already.
She will be completing a master’s degree in education with the long-term goal of applying her knowledge into the classroom.
The program is 3 years and is done entirely online. I have mixed feelings about the online part – it’s great that she doesn’t have to constantly commute to/from the school but it’s bad in that working from home can be distracting (I’m probably her biggest distraction!).
Along with the changes in our daily schedules, we will also need to make some changes to our monthly budget.
Less Time, More Meals Out
Although I love a good home-cooked meal, sometimes there just isn’t enough time after work to make one.
We do meal prep on Sundays before the week starts and it helps, but by the end of the week most of the meals have been eaten already and we are sometimes too tired to cook something new.
Since she will be working full time and doing course work in the evenings, I would expect this to continue in the fall.
A recent study showed that over half of respondents spend 15 minutes or less preparing dinners due to time constraints.
This means more prepackaged, ready-to-go meals are being consumed because people (like us) simply don’t have the time to cook a meal.
The biggest cost with going back to school (in our case) is obviously the tuition. Since my wife works for the public school board, the tuition costs of a graduate degree are not covered by her employer.
This means we’ll be on the hook for the entire amount – plus any other related costs.
The program will cost about $20,000 plus the cost of textbooks. To cover this, we have to modify our monthly budget to set aside about $400 per month to pay for the tuition.
The money will need to come from somewhere – so this means less spending in other categories.
We plan on cutting out any international travel in the next couple years because we will not be able to afford it (we’ll probably do staycations instead).
The savings from the staycations means the tuition costs won’t make a huge difference in our monthly budget.
Luckily, going back to school also means we’ll get a small break on our taxes.
The tuition costs paid will be eligible for tuition credits that we can use to help reduce our taxes paid.
Related: Wacky Tax Deductions
This will definitely come in handy since my wife will still be working full time (and she’ll need the credits to reduce her taxes).
Even if she didn’t use the full amount, the credits can be transferred to myself or carried forward to a future year. CRA has also recognized that textbooks are expensive and they also give a textbook credit for students.
Related: The Ways We Overpay on Taxes
The tuition credits mean we’ll save about $1,200 in taxes per year.
The credits are a great way to reduce taxes owing and will definitely help us save money.
In case anyone is interested in learning more about the tuition credits, CRA has an explanation here.
Future Earning Potential
The nice thing about being in a public school board is that salary information is very transparent. She can literally see how much of an impact a graduate degree will have on her future earning potential by literally looking at a salary grid showing the breakdown.
Have you considered going back to school after being in the workforce?