For some parents, tutoring is for those kids who need extra help in school. It’s for those students who are failing in the classroom or who need remedial work. For many parents in many other communities though, tutoring is a way of life. It’s how they help their children get better grades in school, and on entrance exams and standardized tests.

If you don’t know by now, I’m here to tell you that the game of education has changed. For a lot of kids in this country, learning doesn’t just happen between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. anymore. For these kids learning extends well beyond the classroom setting. It starts in school but is also taking place after school or on weekends with a private tutor. It’s how many parents are choosing to supplement their kids’ education and giving them that edge to succeed.

According to Mayo Olagundoye, head of Munch Math Co., a New York City math tutoring service, the cost for a private tutor varies but generally cost anywhere from $75/hour – $200/hour. Some of you right now may be thinking that you can’t afford tutoring for your child because it’s too expensive, but you can. Legitimately the cost of hiring a tutor is not cheap, but it is important and necessary for your child and with a few adjustments, affordable.

1. First things first, cut back on some of the extras at home. Cutting back on things like take-out, trips to Starbucks, satellite radio or cable TV can save you thousands of dollars annually, money that will pay for the cost of tutoring. For example, the average cable customer spends about $150 – $200 a month. A satellite radio bill can cost even more. If you assume a monthly allowance of $500 per month for tutoring. Simply getting rid of your cable bill and cutting back on other expenditures will go a long way in helping you afford tutoring. Additionally, many of the larger tutoring companies offer financing and/or lower rates for families who qualify but you have to ask!

2. Hire a student tutor. Most colleges and universities have a job board and allow employers, big and small, to post job queries. Hiring a student tutor will cost you a lot less than the standard hourly rates of professional services while still giving you access to qualified candidates. So check with schools in your area about hiring a tutor for your child, but be sure to check the student’s resume, references and transcript before making a hire decision.

3. Get a small group of students together and split the costs with other parents. For a few dollars more per hour, you can hire a private tutor for a small group of students (Ideally, no more than 3 students so that each student get the attentions he or she needs). It will save you money and may make the experience more fun for your child.

4. Check out websites like It’s a website that allows parents to shop the profiles of various tutors throughout the country, compare rates and find the best tutor for their budget.

5. Dare I say it, but cut back on the Christmas gifts. Christmas is around the corner (again) and many of you will be spending hundreds maybe even thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts for the kids and other family members. Don’t do it to yourself. This year skip the relatives and buy the kids just one modest present. This seems like a harsh approach, but the money you save on Christmas will pay for tutoring. It’s great to give your kids lots of gifts for Christmas, but choosing instead to give them the tools they need to succeed in school and in life will last them well beyond one or two Christmases. In fact, it will last them a lifetime.

What’s worse is that many of these students are not just getting tutoring for a few days or weeks. Many of them are being tutored for years before the SATs or other entrance exam. Years.

The cost of tutoring varies. It can cost anyway from $75/hour to $400/hr. So private tutoring is not free and it is not cheap, but is necessary and can be affordable.