Whilst heading back to school is an exciting and new time for children and parents alike, it can also cause a huge amount of financial worry and anxiety. Read on for some of my tips on how to plan and manage your back to school budget.
👉🏼 Tip #1: Create a budget and prioritise
It can be very tempting to head into your local stationary shop or supermarket and fill a basket with anything labelled ‘back to school’. Stop right there! ✋🏼 Remember to speak to your child’s school and request resource lists of the utmost essentials that you need to buy before your children return in September. Remember, start with the basics, and make further lists as you go on 📃 Chances are lots of items might not be used and will be wasted. Teachers will be understanding towards those who have what’s necessary, and haven’t gone overboard.
Then, create a rough budget of how much you’re willing to spend in each category (this varies but think stationary, tech, uniform etc.). Make a list of items with your child depending on their age, as older children will want more of a say (for very little ones, remember you’re in control!). The more of an exact list you create, the less money you’ll spend. Studies show that people who shop without a list pay as much as 23% more than those who make a list. Once you’ve made your list early on, wait a little bit so that your child can think clearly about trends and styles, and there will be less scope to be impulsive 👍🏼
Schools are there to help when finances get difficult. There might be support options available for families who are really struggling, so remember to get in contact.
👉🏼 Tip #2: Research for alternatives
Sometimes the first place you look isn’t always the best option. Taking some time to research and compare prices of popular items (for example, branded backpacks), can save you lots of money to be used on other, important essentials. Looking to buy second hand doesn’t have to mean less quality; it can be the cheaper and more sustainable choice. Children grow out of uniform every single year, and it can be a source of frustration for most parents. Schools hold on to (sometimes almost new) uniform stock for a much lower, and sometimes free cost, as well as second hand clothes websites. For a jumper or coat that they might only wear for a year themselves, it could be worth it.
For those bigger, branded items, remember to check comparison and dupe websites, where plenty of consumers have researched and found much cheaper alternatives to popular products 🎒
Your children will want to rush out for back to school supplies as soon as the signs appear in the shops, but don’t forget to wait. Plenty of retailers cut their prices in the week before school starts, and you might even be able to get away with waiting an extra week or so after that.
👉🏼 Tip #3: Involve your child
Before you head to the shops, remember to take an inventory of what you already have. Spare stationary around the house or at work? Siblings or friends with unused bags, folders, sports kit or uniform? 🏑 Find them and note them down on your list! Involve your child by asking them to search around the house and organise this inventory 📗 This teaches them the basics of finance, and helps them to start being disciplined about money and budgeting. For older children, remind them to take care of their items, as some might be able to be resold (more money for next year).
Remember, back to school happens every single year, and if you find yourself dreading this time and time again, then plan ahead. Save money aside (or portion off some of your child’s pocket money!) 6-12 months in advance so when the big shop comes around, the experience is a lot more relaxed and fun for everyone.
Let us support your children in preparing to go back to school, and make up for any lost learning in a tutoring session. Book a free tutoring session with GoStudent today and help them look forward to September again.