Understanding ways to save on back-to-school costs becomes paramount in a time when the cost of living is steeply rising. While most parents are focusing on cost-effective ways to keep their children entertained during the summer holidays, the new academic term is fast approaching. Therefore, parents must begin contemplating strategies to save money on the big return to school.
Below, we’ve set out 7 tips for saving money on back to school items:
Opt for Second-hand Purchases
Buying second-hand school uniforms offers a straightforward approach to cost reduction. Instead of buying each and every item new, explore options like your school’s second-hand uniform sale, local charity shops, or online platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and eBay. Alternatively, consider hosting a swap party to exchange outgrown uniforms. Your child is likely to only wear these items for a few months, so it’s not like they are ever going to be worn out.
Embrace Supermarket Brands for Non-Branded Items
Looking closely at your school uniforms you will probably see that there are a number of items which do not have the school brand, which means they don’t necessarily have to be purchased from the school or school outfitters. According to research, parents can save as much as R1000 a year on average by purchasing all unbranded uniform items from supermarkets and budget stores, as opposed to items exclusively available from designated shops or the school itself.
Be Vigilant for Sales
Keep an eye out for sales to stock up on items throughout the year, making costs more manageable. Jeremy Helm, financial analyst at MWB Solutions, recommends regularly checking for sales during the year and making purchases when the best deals are available.
Seek Out Affordable Stationary Options
While some schools include stationary costs in their fees, many others do not. Finding inexpensive stationary is achievable with various shopping options. Buying from supermarkets when things are on sale, and well in advance is much smarter than waiting for the increased prices on offer just before the children go back.
Invest in Refurbished Technology
Consider purchasing refurbished electronic devices for older children in need of laptops or teenagers desiring new phones. This environmentally friendly choice can yield significant savings. If you choose to go this route, please ensure the tech comes with a decent warranty before purchasing. If opting for new devices, watch for special deals during events like Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday.
Exercise Restraint in Purchases
Before buying new items for your children, assess their necessity. Phoebe Ellis, consumer champion at Thrive Money, advises against succumbing to trends and expensive fad school accessories. Stick to buying durable items that won’t go out of style.
Label All Belongings
Ensure that all purchased items are clearly labelled with your child’s name to prevent losses and avoid the need for replacements. Ceri Gillett, founder and CEO of Mubo, emphasizes the importance of appropriate labelling to protect your investments in the long term.
By adopting these strategies, parents can effectively manage back-to-school expenses while ensuring their children are well-prepared for the academic year ahead.