QUESTION: I have three kids, 12, 8, and 4. I think that I am not saving enough for them because they will be falling under the "missing middle" when they go to university and they may not qualify for free education. How can I budget better?

ANSWER: Clive Atterbury, financial planner at Atterbury Financial Services, says there are a lot of variables to consider such as inflation, the cost of education, which institution the children will attend, etc.

"But if we assume that the cost of university study at present value is R60 000 per year (tuition fees and accommodation) then you’ll have to save R3 510 per month, annually adjusted for inflation until your youngest child has finished their studies. 

“If your cashflow does not allow for saving the full amount, just start with the maximum that your cashflow will allow. Then try to save on other expenses in your budget. Your children's studies may be more important for his/her (and your) happiness and emotional welfare in the long term than going without a few things now.

“If it is not possible to save the R3 510, at least try to save for the childrens’ first year of study. Perhaps on completing the first year successfully, they will be able to find an institution, company or even an individual who is willing to help with a study loan, or a scholarship, sponsorship or grant. 

“If you start off saving R1 291 per month, yearly adjusted for inflation, you will have the equivalent of R60 000 available for each child’s first year of study. 

“Choose a well balanced unit trust or an index fund to invest in.”