How to save money on back-to-school items

How to save money on back-to-school items

Parenting blogger Tahlia Mandie gives her tips for saving money on items your child will need for the new school year.

Before the school year has even begun, your credit card can often get quite a workout with all the school uniforms, stationery and other items that need to be purchased. Kids often want new pencil cases, new colouring pens, books for writing, and new school shoes are generally a must-have item too. The list and tally of expenses can very quickly become quite large.

There are a few money saving tips and tricks that all parents can benefit from to make this period a little bit more budget-friendly. It was just the other day I saw a friend post an update on Facebook that stated she was giving away ‘excellent used condition’ school uniforms. Brilliant! Other ideas to consider include:

  • Join local buy/swap/sell Facebook groups in your area.
  • Look out for second-hand items for sale in your school newsletter or uniform shop. Or better yet, organise a yearly school uniform swap day with other school mums whose kids are different ages to yours.
  • Benefit from store sales, including Christmas and Boxing Day sales.

Kids also need to understand the concept of budgeting. It is important to get them involved in their books and stationery list and then sit down together to set this school budget. Stationery purchases can certainly get out of hand, so it is important to establish this early. Special items or brands need to be considered, but also set to a limit.

When it comes to technology, such as readers and iPads, think about what you already have and what other important items your kids may need. What is essential and what is a ‘want’? Often schools will also provide technology resources, so it is important to check what is included in your school fees and what is not.

Other great budget-friendly tips for back-to-school items can include:

  • Review what you already have as you may have purchased certain items seasons in advance.
  • Buy some items in bulk, such as socks and underpants.
  • Find your local factory outlet for school shoes and other school essentials, including stationery.
  • Shop at your local $2 shop or supermarket for exercise books, writing pads, stickers and other knick-knacks.
  • Shop around for second-hand textbooks online or at your local second-hand bookshop.
  • Connect and source items from your community, as there may in fact be a family with a spare size 6 sports top that they don’t need or use.
  • Print out your own book labels instead of buying expensive ones. Getting the kids involved in this activity can also count as a great school holiday activity. For something even more simple, search ‘free printable book labels’. Also, women’s magazines often publish school book labels in their January issues, so if you buy these magazines anyway, have a look for them.
  • Make a list and stick to it. Don’t be tempted to buy other items that are on sale.

With a little extra thought and planning, the back-to-school list can very easily incorporate budget-friendly ideas and purchases.