Back-to-school basics

July 26, 2018

It feels like the summer holidays have only just begun, but with less than five weeks to go until the new school year, it’s time to start thinking about what you need to buy. Back-to-school time is always expensive but with a little extra planning you can make some savings.

Take a look at our top five back-to-school money saving tips:

1. Figure out your budget

It’s good to have an idea of how much you can afford to spend. Use our back-to-school budget planner to plan ahead and get a rough idea of how much things are going to cost.

There can be a significant jump in back-to-school expenses when your child is going from primary to secondary school. If your child is starting secondary school this year or next year you will need to consider the added expense that comes along with this. The extra costs are mostly for books, uniforms, transport, new after-school activities, school trips, grinds and maybe even iPads/e-readers. Parents often find the transition from primary to secondary school can have a big impact on expenses so it’s good to be prepared.

2. Try to buy second-hand

Uniforms can take up a large part of your budget. Ask your school or other parents to see if there is a second-hand uniform sale planned. Some websites or local groups on social media sell second-hand uniforms. Keep an eye out for promotions in shops, such as 3-for-2 offers on shirts and tee shirts etc. Buy some items for using now and some in a larger size for later in the year. Shop around for generic items of clothing like skirts, trousers and jumpers.

3. Save on school books

The cost of school books alone will eat into your budget so consider buying second-hand if possible. Some schoolbook websites sell second-hand books as well as new ones. Try posting your child’s booklist on social media to see if your friends have any of the books you need. Before buying the books it is worth checking if the school offers a book rental scheme as this can be a great way to save some money. The school may also use iPads or e-readers in class so you should ask about this.

If you have to buy brand new books, compare prices in bookshops and online. Some websites have offers such as free delivery or book covering and some offer a discount if you place your order early.

4. Buy in bulk

Buying stationery in bulk can be cheaper than buying items one-by-one. There are usually good offers at back-to-school time, such as bundles of copybooks, pens and notebooks, so if you can afford it, buy in bulk so you have supplies for the year.

5. Save on after-school activities

After-school activities can be expensive especially if your child is doing more than one. Some schools have activities that are free and are run by teachers. Find out if your school offers any free activities and check if your children would be interested in them.

You could ask family and friends if they can pass on any sports equipment or supplies that they are finished with.

Children often change their minds about a sport or hobby, so check if they can attend a free trial before paying for a full term. Hold off on buying expensive equipment until you know if your child is going to stick with the activity!


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