Everyone expects Christmas to be an expensive time of year – but January? Well, that can bring a few hefty bills of its own if you have school-aged kids. Fortunately, there are some handy hacks that will help you bring back-to-school expenses back down to earth.
Don’t buy more than they need.
Kids don’t need to have a separate uniform for every day of the week – just a clean one. So buying a couple of outfits and washing them on a regular basis can be a good way to save money. Using a good quality detergent will also help keep school uniforms looking brighter for longer.
Second-hand – the first place to look.
With kids growing so fast, there’s usually a steady supply of second-hand uniforms with plenty of use left in them – if you know where to find them. The shops that sell the uniforms may stock second-hand items in good condition. Otherwise, check with your school’s office or social media community to see if there’s a market for pre-loved uniforms or equipment.
Stock up in the sales.
January sales are a great way to save as you stock up. Items like stationery, bags and sports equipment are often reduced straight after Christmas – providing some real bargains. Of course, getting an early start is also a great way to avoid the last-minute queues the weekend before the schools start up again. Win-win!
Write down what you need.
It sounds simple – so why doesn’t everyone do it? Writing a list of school supplies will help you get everything you need – and nothing you don’t. If your school provides a book list for each year, use that as your starting point and work out which items you have – and which you need to get. The simple act of writing a list will help you avoid impulse buys.
Try before you buy.
Before you buy replacement items, be sure to check whether uniforms still fit, bags still zip up and any leftover stationery still works. Don’t just assume older items are no good. And check all those cupboards and drawers at home to see what you already have buried in there. Be strict, because spending money on things you already have is nuts!
Set aside money during the year.
The key to staying on top of back-to-school expenses is to plan ahead. Putting aside a few dollars here and there over the year will ensure you have the money you need, when you need it in January. And that’s the best way to make sure back-to-school expenses don’t come back to bite you.