Back to school on a budget? No problem
There are ways to keep those inevitable new-term costs down when money is tight, using admin skills, social media sites and your social circle
If you have school-age children, you’ll know that September can be an emotionally charged time, as summer comes to an end and schools get ready to reopen. It can also be an expensive time, with uniforms and stationery to buy.
If money is tight, your thoughts could well turn to how to get the kids back to school on a budget. If so, here are a few ideas for you.
Create a back-to-school budget
The first thing to do, is to sit down and work out exactly how much money you have to spare to get the kids ready for a new year at school. Then, create a list of all the things that they need, and try to split them into sections depending on how essential or pressing they are. Once you have a rough figure in mind along with a kit list, this will help you work out where you need to save and where you can splurge a little.
Make an inventory of your kit
Look around the house and spend some time gathering the kids’ school clothes and kit together. Can anything be reused for another year or passed on to a younger sibling? If so, you can take it off the inventory list. It is amazing how many loose pencils you can find under beds that can be collated into a perfectly useable pencil case.
Buy (and sell) second-hand goods
With so many families getting ready for school and kitting out children who have had a growth spurt over the summer, there are bound to be lots of good-quality second-hand uniforms, bags or sports kits in your local area. Check to see if there is a local sale, or if parents from your child’s school are selling their wares through Facebook, for example. This is also a great moment to look at what you will no longer be using and decide if you can sell it on. Every penny coming in helps take the pressure off the back-to-school budget.
Scour the supermarkets
There will always be some items that you need to buy new each school year, and supermarkets can be a great place to start your hunt. Larger stores such as Asda and Tesco will have dedicated school clothing sections, where you will be able to pick up affordable generic items, such as white shirts, gym shoes or grey trousers. These stores are always a great place to buy stationery, too.
Buy in bulk
For the truly organised, buying items in bulk can be a great way to save money. If you have a group of friends who all have school children, you could team up to buy larger packs of items that can be split between all the children. This could apply to things like stationery, as well as packed lunch items with a long shelf life. Stores such as Costco or cash ‘n’ carry outlets can be a great place to find bulk discounts.