23 Jan, 2024

Back to school on a budget

two young girls at a picnic table

It’s that time of year when the kids are heading to back to school. This time can put a serious hole in parents’ budgets and with the current cost of living crisis, it can be even harder. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you get the kids back to school on a budget.

  1. School fees are optional, NOT compulsory: It is important to remember that you are not required to pay school fees. There are plenty of ways to volunteer and help out at the school to contribute in non-financial ways. For example, garden to table program, or chaperoning on school trips etc.
  2. Check what you have: The best way to save money is by making sure you’re not doubling up on supplies. The start of the school year is a great time to do a stock take of everything from uniforms to stationary, lunchboxes and water bottles. You may find unused items hidden away in the bottom of a drawer, or if you have more than one child you can pass down items from one to the next.
  3. Create a ‘sell’ pile: A great way to make some quick cash is by selling off uniforms that might not fit or selling equipment/ supplies that are still in good condition, but your child has outgrown. Using apps like Facebook Marketplace, Olio or TradeMe are a great way of getting rid of unused items and using them to buy supplies you might need for the upcoming year.
  4. List everything you need: Once you’re clear on what the kids need, make a thorough list of necessities. If you have a clear idea, you won’t be buying double ups, it also means you can take time to spot the sales and special offers.
  5. Team up with parents for ‘bulk buys’: Multipacks can seem like a great deal, but often end up sitting unused. Why not team up with other parents who are after the same item that you can split the cost with? This means you can both get what you need while also saving some money.
  6. Make sure there’s growing room: It’s a great idea to go up a size with growing children. Whether it’s their uniform or shoes, it’s handy to have some extra space for them to grow while making sure you get the most of your money spent.
  7. Join or create a parent swap group: Another great way to budget is by swapping. This is a great way to share items and everyone ends up with what they need. Facebook is a great place to find local parents with children who are roughly the same age.
  8. Leave the kids at home: Children in the back-to-school aisle aren’t too different than kids at a candy store. To avoid giving into their pleas for a new set of crayons or sequined pencil cases it’s best to leave them at home. That way you’ll only end up buying what you need, instead of all the unnecessary wants.