Outsmart the other parents with back-to-school saving tips!

It’s that time of year again! After 6 gruelling weeks of relentless tantrums and boredom, it’s finally time for your little cherubs to clear off back to school. As pleased as you’ll be to see them go, the back to school shop can end up costing you a fortune! So, we’ve sent Angelo on a quest to find you the top tips for saving money this September:

Uniforms

You probably spend more money on your kids uniforms than you do on clothes for yourself, right? No wonder, they can be one of the biggest expenses during the back-to-school period. And it doesn’t stop there, you’ll likely need to replace a few things throughout the year after all the knee-sliding and mud-playing takes its toll.

One piece of good news, though, is that schools are now encouraged to increase the number of suppliers that stock their uniforms, meaning we can shop around for the best deals. It can still be pretty expensive though, so why not try asking your school or other parents to find out if they offer a second-hand uniform shop. Sometimes schools offer them year round and others hold second hand sales, usually just before the school year kicks off.

Keep an eye out for shops offering special promotions throughout summer. Often you will see numerous 3 for 2 offers on items like polo shirts and skirts/trousers. It’s a good idea to stock up now to save having to spend more money throughout the school year. Maybe try buying 2 packs to use now, and a 3rd in a larger size, to use later in the year as those little cherubs grow really fast.

Finally, check out your local charity shops and see what they’ve got to offer. When kids grow out of their uniforms, most parents won’t just chuck it – they’ll donate it! Raid the shops in the same area as your child’s school and you might just be surprised at what you find.

Stationary

Over the years, schools have mostly stopped offering unlimited supplies of stationary, which leaves you with yet another thing to stock up on. Before you start though, do an inventory of what you’ve already got, it’ll save you spending money on duplicates.

Again, at this time of year you’ll likely see deals for buying stationary in bulk. You can usually pick up bundles of books, handwriting pens and notebooks. If you buy in bulk, they will suffice for this year and maybe even next year too.

Speaking as a once over-excitable 9-year-old who remembers being dragged, screaming when my mum refused to buy the coolest pack of smelly gel pens EVER– the biggest mistake you can make here is taking the kids stationary shopping. Shop’s are filled with stationary laced with their favourite characters, an abundance of glitter and other completely unnecessary features. Save yourself the tantrums and the expense and just leave them at home. *Bonus tip* Have the grandparents come around to look after the kids as they love spending time with the little grand cherubs.

Travelling

Not only is driving the kids to school every morning bad for the environment, it’s probably not too healthy for your wallet either! Yes, mornings can be busy, but the money you could save from a 1-mile journey twice a day, five days a week, would really add up. If you can’t quite manage the walk to school every morning, team up with some parents in the area and carpool. There’s no point in you all making the same journey, so allocate days each to be your responsibility to get the kids to school.

After-school Activities

Extracurricular activities are great for kids – they aid their development and, most importantly, keep them busy! But, like most things, they come at a cost. Most after school clubs charge an hourly fee or a weekly contribution, but there are ways of getting your kids out and about without having to splash the cash.

Firstly, find out from their school what kind of programmes they offer. Usually if they’re offered by the school directly there’s no charge included, and if they’re outsourced, you’ll probably get a discount from booking through the school.

If your kids are big into sports but you don’t have the funds to let them join a team – see if you can have their fees reduced by offering to help reduce the costs of the activity. For example, offering lifts to matches for the football team or providing refreshments.

If all else fails, you can buy equipment yourself second-hand. Again, charity shops and sites like Gumtree are a great place to start. See if there’s any other parents who are willing to chip in, and you can take it in turns to go down to the park for a kick about, or host games in your back garden.

Use social media to save

With 2.7 billion active social media users and 91% of brands using 2 or more social media channels, there’s no doubt that social media is the new place to shop. If there’s any shops you usually use for the back to school shop or even weekly food shop, get following them on social media. The difference between advertising and social media is that social media is real-time, so if there’s a special promotion or limited time only offer – you’re likely to hear about it on Facebook or Twitter first.

Some to keep an eye on include:

  • Staples: @StaplesTweets
  • TK Maxx: @TKMaxx_UK
  • George at Asda: @Georgeatasda
  • WHSmith: @WHSmith
  • Brantano Footwear: @Brantano_Shoes
  • Marks and Spencer: @M&S

Thanks for reading Angels!

 

Sources:

http://www.moneycrashers.com/save-extracurricular-activities-kids-after-school/

http://www.netmums.com/your-child/back-to-school-money-saving-tips

http://www.consumerhelp.ie/school-expenses

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/back-to-school-shopping

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