Stretching your back-to-school budget
It’s that time of the year again, where kids are excited about the new school year while parents are thinking of ways to cover for the hefty school expenses.
Preparing for a new school year can be a stressful time for parents, especially as it comes on the back of Christmas. Not only there are the school fees, uniforms, stationery, textbooks and electronics, but also school excursions and extracurricular activities. Back-to-school costs could add up quickly if not budgeted carefully.
According to the Heritage Bank Back to School Survey, more than 60% of Aussie parents admit to feeling stressed in the lead up to the new school year.
From budgeting to cutting down costs on your back-to-school supplies, the Credit Savvy Team have a few ideas to share to help you and your family get savvy for the school year ahead.
# Take stock of what you currently have
Search the house, you’ll be surprised by what you’ll find. Instead of buying new things which would only end up with the other pile of things unused, reuse the items from the previous school year that are still in good condition.
# Plan ahead
Think about what other expenses you should anticipate throughout the year and factor them into your budget, e.g. sports fees, excursions, school photos, etc.
# Prioritise & buy only the essentials
Prioritise only the important items, as not everything listed on the supply order list is essential. It pays to take a good look at the items listed and work out what’s really needed.
# Allocate a budget and stick to it
A great way to start is to look at the previous school year’s expenses to know how much you have been spending to send your kids to school. Once you eliminate the unnecessary school supplies, you can work out a realistic budget for your back-to-school shopping list.
# Labelling goes a long way
Clearly label everything your child takes to school – it will save you in the long run as the items will come back to you fast if they get lost.
# Take advantage of back-to-school deals
Got a few favourite school supply and clothing stores you like to shop at for your kids? Subscribe to their mailing list so you can get notified of any promotions they have. Get in early on the clearance sales so you can stock up for less, especially for the items like pens and notebooks that they’ll need every school year.
# Get your kids involved
Sit down with your child and create a list of what school supplies and clothes are needed for the school year. This is your opportunity to help your child distinguish needs from wants. Our article on teaching your kids about money is a great place to start.
If you are facing financial difficulties, there are government assistance programs available for low income families, you can visit ASIC’s MoneySmart for more information.