The back to school supplies shopping trip can be an expensive part of the summer, especially after spending a lot during the summer to keep the kids entertained. Research from Mintel has shown that Brits spend an average of around £400 on new school uniform and classroom equipment each year. But you don’t have to fear the long and expensive supply list: here are some back to school money saving tips and tricks to help you save before term starts!
Reuse stationary from last year
Many parents believe their children need new supplies for a new school year but that’s what the retail stores want you to think. If school shoes still fit or their pencil case is still well-stocked with working pens and pencils, you don’t have to replace them instantly. After the initial back-to-school surge, retailed reduce the price of most school essentials, so you could save a few pounds by waiting.
Buy basic school uniform from a standard retailer
Many school’s uniform policies don’t require you to purchase everything from the school shop. Some basic pieces such as shirts, trousers and skirts can be purchased from standard retailers as long as they match the school colour theme. Key items such as blazers, jumper and dresses (or anything with the school logo) may, however, have to be purchased at the school store or an official store.
Look For Second Hand Items
Check local auctions on Facebook, Gumtree or even local newsletters to see if any former student’s parents are selling their old uniform, textbooks, calculators etc. You might find some barely worn uniform pieces in great condition, or even a copy of Great Gatsby with some useful notes in for a fraction of the cost. You should consider looking in charity shops too— they’ll quite often sell secondhand stationary that has been barely used before.
Plan well in advance
The best way to save money for the school year is by planning well in advance. What textbooks are required for the school year? Will your child need art supplies for school projects? Are there any school trips this year you’ll need to fund? Email the school secretary or ask a class teacher at the beginning of the year what extra activities are planned and the cost involved for the year. Knowing what you will have to pay for you’ll be able to budget and plan better for the year ahead.
Save on next year by buying now
From mid-September onwards, most retailers reduce the price of most school stationary and uniform. If you’re able to wait for the sales, this is a great way to save for this school year. If not, you could use this as an opportunity to stock up supplies for next year. Just remember if you’re planning to buy cut price school uniform, buy a size up in case your children go through a growth spurt!
Don’t fall for retailer’s marketing tricks
It is common for retails to divide school supplies into two categories – girls and boys. For example, school shoes are always nearly marketing for either boys or for girls, but boy’s shoes often have much thicker midsoles making them far less likely to break as fast as the thinner girl’s shoes. Try to buy your children the shoes that and are comfortable and robust rather than the ones that are aimed at their gender for fashion and you might find that they last longer.
Spend less (or more) on tech
When it comes to purchasing new technology for school use or homework, it’s important to consider the age of your child and how advanced the gadgets needs to be. If they only require a laptop for typing up homework or researching, a very basic device will be more than sufficient – and you can worry less if they lose or break it. However, it’s also important to keep in mind the longevity of the product and how long it will need to support your child’s education – you may save more in the long run by spending more on faster, more efficient tech.
Lastly, shop around and compare the prices in multiple stores where you can. Some stores such as John Lewis, Currys PC World, Argos and Tesco offer a price match guarantee, so check online to get the best price. The chances are that your children won’t need the professional set of colouring pencils and are probably better off getting the cheaper set.