Back-to-School On A Budget
- Gina V
It’s that time of year again – time to get the kids ready for school! Back-to-school season is just as fun for moms as it is for the little ones. But it’s even more enjoyable for the moms that can get the most bang for their buck on back-to-school shopping!
If you’re ready to learn how to shop for school supplies ’til you drop without dumping your money into overly priced products, read the back-to-school shopping tips featured below.
According to The Schoolwear Association, the average cost of compulsory school uniforms for secondary school is £100. The compulsory school uniform includes PE kit items like a polo shirt, shorts, and games jersey. If we add the meals, stationaries, shoes, and backpacks, the total costs are rocketing.
Pencils, crayons, pens, and notebooks mean it’s that time again! All parents know that back-to-school shopping can add up quickly. However, there are things you can do to minimize the cost. This school year, save yourself some money with the following tips.
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Back to school list.
Any item not on the list provided by your child’s teacher isn’t needed. Although kids may beg for extra supplies, make a rule that if something isn’t on the list, you won’t buy it. Following the list is a good way to start teaching them about financial responsibility. They can have fun picking out the items that are needed.
- If a list wasn’t given out before the first day of school, there’s no need to get carried away and purchase a bunch of stuff your child might not ever use. Get the list as soon as possible; you’ll be able to pick up items when they’re on sale.
- Contact the school or look at the school’s website if you haven’t received a copy of the list. Many schools now provide a downloadable version on their website. A-Made-For You Shopping List can be found here.
Shop at home first.
You have several things from your back to school list that can be used
Look in your office for pencils, pens, unused notebooks, notebook paper, and more. Remember to check your child’s book bag, crayons, lunch box, and anything else that comes to mind. Items like pencil boxes, pencil sharpeners, and scissors can be used for years before they need replacement.
Consider the source.
Many parents immediately think of large super-stores as the best source of school supplies. Remember to consider the offerings of drug stores and even grocery stores.
- Frequently, these less-considered stores can have spectacular sales on many back-to-school supplies just to get shoppers in the door. Check out newspaper inserts and mailed circulars to find out about drugstore sales.
Watch for the sales.
As the calendar closes in on the beginning of the school year, keep your eyes open. Sales abound, and the smart shopper will be on the lookout for the best deals. Often a one store will have notebooks on sale for one penny, while another will have a great sale on pencils. Using coupons wisely can save you a ton of money.
Get help with school uniform costs.
Many local councils offer help with the cost of uniforms and PE kits. Check here if your council offers this kind of support.
Team up with another parent.
By joining forces with another parent, you have the opportunity to purchase items in bulk at reduced prices. Then divide up the supplies and the savings.
Did you know that Poundland offers home delivery for a flat £4 fee and there is no minimum spend for customers? Check here if they deliver to your postcode as well.
If you have three kids or more, it makes sense to consider stockpiling coupons for school supplies as soon as you can. A little trick that many savvy coupon moms like to use is stockpiling coupons for the essentials by purchasing the newspaper, printing online, and requesting that coupons be directly mailed to their mailbox.
By the end of the summer, the coupon moms that stockpile coupons often find reduced deals because the items have been on the shelf for most of the summer. Often, many items end up being free or laughably cheap.
Charity shopping is often frowned upon because the items are second-hand, and you might fear that they may be dirty and germy. However, a quick wash in the laundry will do the trick for most used clothing items. Charity stores, such as the Salvation Army, often run tag sales. Sometimes all items with pink tags are priced 50% off, or items with red tags are priced under £3.50.
These items can include jeans, brand name suits, and shoes, among other things. Sometimes, you can score an entire second-hand wardrobe for under £25! But of course, you have to be a savvy shopper. When you learn to shop the tag sales at charity stores, you’ll be able to dress your children for pennies on the pond!
Save money throughout the entire school year by making your child a packed lunch every day. I had shock after the first two weeks in secondary school when my son spent £30 on lunch. He never checks how much the cost of the products and he just ordered. It was a good lesson for him but a shock for me. Since then, a packed lunch is the best option. And honestly is much cheaper. Furthermore, I know how much he is eating, and we also avoid the sugary cakes that are sold in schools. Fresh fruit is always a better option.
When you go back to school shopping, it may be tempting to simply shop a few weeks before the semester begins, like most parents. But, if you purchase items, such as binders, pieces of clothing, pencil holders, etc. just a few weeks after school has begun, just about everything in the store will be marked down considerably.
To further your savings, sign up for email newsletters of all your favorite stores. Stores like Tesco and Sainsbury send out quarterly coupons. It isn’t uncommon to find children’s shorts and t-shirts on sale for less than £5. So, the savings can be considerable.
There are so many ways to save on back-to-school shopping for your family. You can stockpile coupons, shop for free (with coupons), and even go shopping a year early to get your shopping out of the way completely.
If you’re willing to invest your time, and keep an eager eye, you’ll be able to score amazing deals for both school supplies and clothing.
Back-to-school time is exciting for everyone, but for parents it can also be a financially stressful time of the year. But school starting doesn’t have to break the bank. Get your supply list, stick to it, and focus on saving money by following these tips. This school year might cost you less than any other.