School holidays are nearly done and back to school prep is in full swing.
The thing about back to school is that it is usually a very expensive exercise. Especially coming in the wake of Christmas, family vacations and school holiday activities.
Here are a few ways to easily save some money getting the kids ready to go back to school:
1. Reuse, Relove, Recycle Anything You Can!
I used to order the book lists ‘as is’ from the supplier but I found myself outlaying a lot of money for items we already had.
Now I get the kids to go through their items and keep the usable stuff. Yes, it’s nice to have brand new, shiny stationary every year but it causes unnecessary waste, expense and clutter.
Cull broken or unusable items and keep the rest. Usually a wipe over with a damp cloth will have them looking as good as new. Items able to be reused include:
- Pencils, pens, crayons, textas, highlighters
- Protractor, compass etc.
- Display folders
- Document sleeves
- Drink bottles
- School bags
This goes for exercise books as well – often books come home with only a few pages used. These are easily ripped out and with a new cover, no one will know!
It’s also a great idea to salvage unused pages for drawing, notetaking or homework paper at home.
2. To cover or not to cover?
Some people love covering books but it can be a time intensive and costly exercise.
You could be radical and just NOT cover books! It’s a pretty liberating concept and imagine the time and money you will save.
However, if you do want to extend the life of school books (and possibly reuse them next year) reuseable book covers are a great investment. They can often be used for multiple books over a year and even consecutive years. We have some that are 3 years old and still useable.
Each year I cull any tired ones and top up. They are available most places that sell stationary, including Kmart and discount stores, helping to minimise outlay and maximise the time I DON’T spend covering books!
3. Save on uniforms
A pesky thing about kids is they seem to grow more in the sunshine! Uniforms often need replacing after the summer break.
For staples such as plain coloured shorts, skirts, skorts and polos, Kmart, Big W and Best & Less are often the most cost effective.
If you are in need of school specific items, school uniform shops often sell second-hand or check out the Buy, Sell Swap Facebook pages in your local area.
You could also consider doing a swap with other families in your school community that have kids of different ages.
Don’t forget to get a size bigger so you get extra life out of items. This includes shoes – go half a size up. Kids grow fast!
4. Stock up through the year
This can take a little planning, but stocking up on items through the year can be a great money saver.
EOFY sales are great for stationary and I have even bought pencil cases and lunchboxes on sale from Smiggle, keeping them aside for the new year.
5. Don’t take the kids shopping.
This may be the most crucial point of all – leave the kids at home!! Make your list from the book list supplied from the school and stick to it.
Shopping with the kids means you run the risk of being nagged to buy the latest fads.
You could even use a free list service like the one offered by Office Works and you don’t even need to shop. Drop in the list and they’ll tell you when it’s ready to collect.
Then you can use the money you save not buying gel pens and rubbers that smell like bubblegum to buy yourself a large coffee and a treat – you deserve it!