Christmas may be done and dusted but now that the New Year has ticked over, that means just one thing for parents of school-aged children. Yes, back-to-school supplies.
Before your December credit card statement can land into your inbox, you face the reality of having to pay for back-to-school uniforms, stationery, shoes, backpacks and more. Whether you have one child or three, the fact is that costs add up quickly.
So how do you approach your back-to-school shopping list? We’ve put together our top five tips for being money smart.
1. Plan ahead and start early
Getting your school stationery list/s early is the first step to mastering back-to-school organisation. Firstly, take some time to list out what you need to buy, sort it by each store and don’t forget to add in other essential items that may not appear on the list. E.g. lunchboxes, backpacks, shoes, uniforms and socks. If you have more than one child, combining your lists is important and can save you multiple trips to the same store.
2. Buy smart
If the school your child attends requires them to wear a uniform, opting to buy only the essentials up front and then spread the cost over the course of the year, can help you save money. This can include:
- Buying a few full sets of uniforms and doing the washing more often.
- Delaying the purchase of warmer clothes until the season changes.
- Purchasing second hand uniforms from the school uniform shops at reduced prices.
- Family hand me downs to younger siblings in the family.
3. Better is not always BEST
Investing in the latest and greatest stationary each year when it’s not required will escalate your overall cost. Generally when it comes to kids, things get lost and broken. To help you save money in the long run, consider the below points.
- Make a list of the items you require and stick to it.
- Stockpile what you already have from the previous year and write a list of the items you require.
- Purchase discounted stationary knowing it may get lost or damaged.
- Purchase a labeller to label all of your child’s school items – you’ll thank us later.
4. Get the school deals
Typically, the best time to start purchasing your back-to-school supplies is in early January when stores release their specials. Most schools also have access to local suppliers who offer discounts or special deals, ask your school for details if it’s not provided on your stationery list.
5. Be snack smart
Packing healthy lunchboxes for your child is a must to promote healthy eating practices. Whilst prepping can take up some time, the work will pay off in the money otherwise spent on tuck shop. Put some of the savings away so they can enjoy a treat every now and then though.
Do you need general budgeting advice? Book a free consultation with one of our experienced Financial Planners on (07) 4632 1966.