Back to school costs for school uniforms, stationery and other school-related equipment are at an all-time high and parents and guardians need to set even more money aside than usual or find alternative ways to get their children kitted out for the new school year.
With uniform price hikes and more equipment required such as books, PE kits, stationery, calculators, etc. the cost of going back to school can quickly stack up. If you are looking for ways to minimise back-to-school costs, here are some tips:
Buy uniforms from supermarkets
School uniforms can cost hundreds of pounds, particularly when you are buying multiple items and have shoes to take into account. You also have the potential extra cost of buying a new uniform when there is a growth spurt, or if items get lost or damaged.
Supermarkets now sell uniforms such as polo shirts, shirts, trousers and skirts at a much more reasonable price than uniform shops, department stores or buying directly through the school. Even if there is a requirement to have the school logo on a sweater or blazer, you can buy the other items from supermarkets to save a considerable amount of money.
Buy second-hand textbooks
When you need to buy textbooks, try to buy second-hand ones instead of new ones. You can find bookshops that stock second-hand textbooks that are in good condition, but you can probably find plenty on websites such as Amazon or eBay that are also in next to new condition.
You can often pick the same textbook up for a fraction of the price, even for copies that are in top condition. If you are a member of a Facebook group for your local area, you might even find that ex-pupils no longer need their textbooks and parents will give them to you or charge a small fee.
Use comparison sites for expensive equipment
If you are making a big purchase like a laptop, musical instrument or sports shoes, you can use comparison sites to find out which retailer is offering the best price. Shopping when there are sales during the year, rather than in the summer holidays can also help you to save money on these more expensive items. You can also search online for second-hand equipment and reconditioned laptops cost considerably less than the brand-new versions.
List essential items before going shopping
Before you go shopping for back-to-school products, write down all of the essential items that you need to buy, as this will help you to stick to the specific items that are required, rather than getting talked into buying non-essential items.
Depending on the age of your child, they may be at the stage where they are asking for designer brand shoes, coats and bags, so having discussions about the spending budget will help to manage expectations. You may need to compromise and buy more expensive shoes or trainers for their birthday or Christmas, for example.
Teaching children about budgets and managing spending is important to keep costs down and opening a savings account with the Central Liverpool Credit Union is a good place to start.
The Young Savers account helps children to learn about money first-hand, as they develop responsibilities around handling money. Find out more about Young Savers accounts here.