By: Rachel Miller.
Wise parents realize that spending a fortune on school supplies/uniforms isn’t just restricted to the summer. Yes, we spend a lot on clothing, uniform, stationary, bags and all of the other requests for equipment that the school like to throw at us, but sometimes kids need things throughout the year that you might not have necessarily budgeted for. Plus, with new and improving technology and the need for school children to have access to the internet, buying supplies for school can be extremely pricey if you add laptops, e readers and tablets into the mix! Here is a short guide on how to keep costs down throughout the whole school year- not just in summer.
If your child is in a school where uniform is compulsory then you will probably find yourself spending a lot less throughout the year as opposed to if your child wears their own clothes to school. As children get older fashion becomes more important to them, meaning that buying a few staples of jeans, jumpers and boots won’t be enough. For clothes, always wait until the January sales to buy new school clothes. You’ll find that shops want to get rid of their existing autumn/winter stock so will be selling it off at discounted prices. Also, buying online can be cheaper as well because they don’t have to spend money on the overheads that running a concrete store can have. It may be worth making it clear to the older kids that you will buy their staple wardrobe, but any extras (accessories, bags, jewelery) must be paid for out of their own pockets.
Also, make good use of discount vouchers/coupons. Using vouchers can be a great method to save money on clothing, especially as kids get older and clothing becomes more expensive.
You may think that stationary is the cheapest part of buying supplies for the school year; a few pens, pencils and erasers can’t cost too much, can it? When you start adding up the cost of notebooks, binders, calculators, diaries, rulers and everything in-between, it can become expensive. Instead of just buying the essentials in the summer, buy in bulk when stationary stores have sales on. You can buy big boxes of biros, pencils, rulers, correction fluid, erasers, pencil sharpeners (anything you can think of really) in bulk which ends up being cheaper than buying them individually. Buy some supplies and the kids can dip into them whenever they need it, instead of having to ask for money for them. This will help to ensure that you’re not hit with extra costs throughout the school year.
Gone are the days when all you needed to do homework was an encyclopaedia and a pencil. Nowadays kids are encouraged to use the internet to do homework and to also word process documents as opposed to hand writing them. Even though computer/laptop prices have come down a lot in the past few years, buying a new one is still pretty expensive. The most important rule to abide by when buying a computer/laptop is to compare prices from different retailers first. Not all retailers will sell at the same price; some may even have special offers or have sales on, so type in the computer model into a shopping comparison tool first. Also, it’s important to consider what equipment children actually need to do homework. It is pointless spending money on the latest state of the art gaming computer and software if the kids are only going to be surfing the web and creating word processor documents. Don’t let sales staff push you into buying software/hardware that you won’t use.
If you have more than one child buy one PC and keep it in a place where it is accessible to all children so they can share it. It will be more easy to monitor internet usage too if it is in your living room or study and it will save you hundreds rather than buying multiple laptops or desktops.If surfing the internet is an important part of your child’s homework, make sure you’re getting the best deal on your broadband. If you think you’re paying too much, shop around and see what is out there on the market and then ring your provider and ask them to match it; you don’t get if you don’t ask!
Schools love to spring field trips on us parents which sound like fantastic, educational days out which seem like fantastic opportunities for the kids, however with most things in life there is a cost attached. Depending on your school you could have multiple school trips sprung on you throughout the year, ranging from a day out at the zoo or a weekend away in Europe. Either way, these can be costly so it’s a good idea to budget a little for this each month if you’d like your child to be able to go along. If you budget for it, it won’t leave a huge dent in your spending as you’ll already be prepared.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rachael Miller is part of the voucher codes team at moneysupermarket.com.
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