Budgeting tips for back to school

July 6, 2022

The school year may have only finished, but now is the time to budget and plan for the new school year ahead. Back to school time is always expensive, but with a little extra planning you can make some savings.

1. Figure out your budget

It’s good to have an idea of how much you can afford to spend. Use our budget planner below to get a rough idea of how much everything is going to cost.

There can be a big jump in back to school costs when going from primary to secondary school. If your child is starting secondary school, you will need to consider the extra costs. They are mostly for books, uniforms and transport. They can also include new after-school activities, school trips, equipment and devices. Parents often find the transition to secondary school has a big impact on expenses, so it’s good to be prepared.

2. Consider buying second-hand

Uniforms can be a big 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, you might be able to buy some to use now and some in a larger size for later in the year. Shop around for generic items of clothing like shirts and trousers.

3. Save on school books

Before buying books, it is worth checking if your child’s school offers a book rental scheme. These can be a great way to save money. The school may also use tablet computers in class, so you should find about this.

The cost of school books 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.

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, so if you can afford it, buy in bulk to have supplies for the year.

5. Save on after-school activities

After-school activities can be expensive. Check if there’s a free trial before deciding if your child is going to stick with a new activity. You could ask family and friends if they have any sports equipment that they are finished with.

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