Back to school basics

August 24, 2021

With the new school year about to start, you may have a long list of items 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 budget planner to 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, but also 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. Consider buying second-hand
Uniforms can take up a large part of your budget. Ask the school or other parents if second-hand uniforms are available. 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 use now and some in a larger size for later in the year. Shop around for generic items of clothing like shirts, trousers and jumpers.

3. Save on school books
Before buying books, it is worth checking if your child’s school offers a book rental scheme as this can be a great way to save money. The school may also use iPads or e-readers in class, so you should ask about this.

The cost of school books alone can eat into your budget, so consider buying second-hand if possible. Some schoolbook websites sell second-hand books as well as new ones. You could also try posting your child’s booklist on social media to see if your friends have any of the books you need.

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. Children often change their minds about a sport or hobby, so check if they can attend a free trial before deciding if your child is going to stick with the activity! You could ask family and friends if they can pass on any sports equipment or supplies that they are finished with.

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