Preparing for the back to school season on a budget

Plimsolls

The summer holidays are fast approaching, which means it’ll soon be time to start preparing for the back to school season. If your kids are anything like mine, school shoes and uniforms need to be replaced every summer and the new school year brings with it a long list of supplies and school books.

Expenses soon add up and before you know it you’ve spent a small fortune on the basics alone. However, with a little forward planning and knowledge of where to look for the best deals, parents can significantly cut these costs. Take a look at some of my budgeting tips that’ll leave you with plenty of spare cash for fun activities during the holidays.

Seaside

Supermarket sweep

My boys are pretty hard on their clothes, so I like to find durable schoolwear at a decent price, as I’m fully aware at least one of them will be home with a hole in their knee before the year is up. From non-iron shirts to long-lasting trousers and skirts, there are a whole host of technologies available now that promise to keep school uniforms looking better for longer. Boys’ and girls’ school shoes can also be purchased alongside the weekly shop at Sainsbury’s, with an excellent range of shoes and plimsolls from TU in-store and online.

Plimsolls

Watch for sales

Once the kids go back to school, prices of pens, pencils, notepads and folders drop significantly. If your kids can make do with last year’s kit for the first week, hit the shops the week after and grab some bargains. Alternatively, keep an eye out for sales before the end of the school year and stock up on supplies you know your children will need the following school year.

Look online

When it comes to novels and textbooks, head to Amazon and eBay rather than the high street. Here you can pick up ‘as new’, second-hand books at a fraction of the price. Try to do this early on in the summer for the best deals and before the items your kids will need are sold out. Good quality stationery, pencil cases and backpacks can be bought in the same manner, meaning you’ll avoid the back to school mark up in popular stores.

Make a list

Before heading out, make a list of all the back to school items you need for each child and don’t veer away from it. It’s all too easy to get carried away by the extra cute stationery or state-of-the-art water bottle that isn’t needed. If your child knows you’re only buying what’s on the list, they’re also less likely to kick up a fuss when you say no to the rubber set shaped like baby animals or superheroes.

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Packed lunch or school dinner?

Some schools offer free lunches and snacks throughout the day, taking the stress and expense away from parents. If you do have to pay for school lunches though, consider sending your kids to school with a packed lunch. Not only will you save a notable amount of money each week, you can keep an eye on what they’re eating, filling their lunch box with healthy and tasty treats.

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