Don’t break the bank for a matric ball

by | Oct 1, 2021 | Personal Finance

A matric ball is a proud moment for many parents. And for parents of children from disadvantaged areas, who overcome huge obstacles to get this far – it is a particularly special moment.

However, I do feel that some parents are going way overboard on matric ball expenses – especially when it means getting themselves into unaffordable debt because of it. If your budget can afford the cash, account or credit card purchases for this occasion – then go for it!  If it can’t – then don’t.

If you have the kindness and generosity of family and friends who can help out with matric ball expenses (whether in cash or in kind) then you are incredibly blessed.  Someone might offer the use of their car. A family member might offer jewellery and accessories for the night – and loved ones might bring  something for the social gathering at the home. However, that still leaves a considerable amount of expenses to cover these days.

Lets be clear. There is nothing wrong with this – if you can afford it, and the other current and future necessities have been covered. Life does go on after the matric ball.


Points to consider when splashing out on a matric ball

  • If you are responsible for your child’s school fees – please ensure that it is up to date before forking out for a matric ball. It’s the right thing to do.
  • If your child is planning on studying further after matric, especially at a private institution, make sure that you have at least the registration fees on hand.
  • If you have applied for NSFAS funding, make sure that all the paperwork is in order – the same with any other bursaries or student loans. The festivities of the night counts – but so does your child’s future.
  • Sit with your child and draw up a budget for the matric ball. Speak to your child if you see you can’t afford it,  and scale down in certain areas if need be. Does your child  really need a R1200 name brand high heel shoe, that she probably won’t wear again – when a far lower priced, unbranded one can  serve the same purpose?
  • Take the time to compare prices.
  • Consider sharing costs with another family. If you leave from one house/ venue – then you could share the costs of a photographer, vehicle hire etc.
  • Be honest with yourself and your child about what is do-able and what isn’t. No matter how much we want to give our children the very best, we can only do so much.
  • Urge your child to look beyond the material things in this life. Remind them of what is truly important.
  • Stand strong and don’t be swayed by tears and tantrums. It’s your credit record that is going to be negatively affected if you can’t pay your accounts as required – and your reputation that is going to be affected if you you can’t pay back money you borrowed from family and friends.
  • Needless to say – make sure that you have money set aside for your debt repayments –  and  for necessities like rent,  food, electricity and transport money  for the foreseeable future –  before splashing out on a matric ball. Don’t go all out to  impress the Jones’s – and then have to borrow a cup of sugar from the neighbours after the big night!


You are allowed to celebrate this milestone in your child’s life. Please just be sensible about it.

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