Budgeting for four boys all in a day's work for mum
GETTING one child off to school every day can be hard, so getting four boys ready is a mammoth task, but one which Chatsworth mum Sue Stevens takes in her stride.
"It's filling the lunch boxes I'm not looking forward to," the upbeat mum says.
The former high school science teacher who is studying nursing and midwifery part time and will gain two Bachelor degrees when she finishes in four years "all being well", has 19-month-old Annabelle at home too.
"It's never boring," she laughs.
The expense of sending four boys to school is considerable, but Sue and husband Darren budget carefully throughout the year.
"Shoes are the biggest single expense. Uniforms can be handed down and new items bought gradually when needed, but shoes don't tend to last, so they all needed new shoes.
"You can't hand them down like you can uniforms. But my two middle boys, Lachlan and Blake, are the same size, so we need a few extras to cover that.
"And this year, with Riley off to St Patrick's College, he needed a new uniform and new leather shoes and sports shoes, so that extra expense was a bit of a shock.
"But in saying that, they're in those shoes all day, all week, so we hope they last and they're not bad for their feet."
The youngest boy, Thomas, is off to Prep this year and will join his older brothers at St Patrick's Primary.
All four boys play sport and three take swimming lessons.
"But sign-on days don't happen until later, so there's a breather from expenses."
School fees are another expense but again, the Stevens budget carefully.
"There is also a discount for more than one child, so the second is cheaper, and the third cheaper again," she said.
"We pay monthly and that's the best thing, as it breaks the fees up over the year."
School books are yet another expense but "what to put in the lunch box" each day is Sue's biggest worry.
"But the three eldest are now able to pop in a few items they want, so it's not that bad."
Riley, looking smart in his new uniform, is just a little scared about heading off to high school, but excited too, as all his friends are going to be there too.
"I'm really excited I'll be doing science," the softly spoken lad said.
So is Sue looking forward to the boys leaving on Wednesday?
"Yes and no," she said. "It's nice for them to see their friends, but I'll miss them."
But the hiatus won't last long as in late February, Sue will be heading back to school herself, for another year of study.