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10 hot tips for back to school budgeting


Number 4 actually adds money to your budget!

2023 is in full swing and it’s almost time for the kids to head back to school.

Now, you might be a bit nervous about your school supplies budget. Let’s be honest, it can become pretty expensive.

But going back to school doesn’t have to break the bank.

Here are our top 10 tips for an easy breezy start to the school year.

1. Set up a budget with your kids

This should be the most fun of the whole process. Include your whole family and make it memorable. Pour yourself a glass of wine, make chocolate milk for the kids, and grab some yummy snacks. Do whatever it takes to make this a joyful activity.

You have a golden opportunity to teach your kids the value of money and how to spend it wisely. It opens the conversation and allows them to ask questions. And while talking, you can show them how to distinguish between their needs and desires.

If your kids are a bit older, you might even involve them in buying stationery. Yet another chance to teach them how to compare prices and how to stay within the budget that you set together.

Remember that a budget doesn’t restrict you. It gives you the freedom to spend money.

2. Make a list

Whether you love or hate them, lists make your life easier.

If your school doesn’t provide a list of stationery items, make your own. It won’t take too long, and it will save time, money, and probably some frustration, too! Lists keep you organised and prevent you from spending money on stuff you don’t need.

3. Shop at home

Time to go on a scavenger hunt. You might be surprised as to where some stationery items end up. Look under the bed, between the couch cushions, in the boot of your car. And don’t forget the junk drawer!

Chances are you already have a few items at home that you can cross off your list. Now just give them a good clean with a wet wipe and it’s ready for the new year.

4. Make use of Back-to-School Vouchers

$150 in vouchers per eligible student? Yes, please! The NSW Government announced the return of Back to School Vouchers. Access them in your MyServiceNSW account.

Visit the website for more information on vouchers and where you can use them.

5. Shop online

Ever gone to the shop to buy bread only to return with a new pair of shoes (they were on sale), a wallet (yours is falling apart), some swimmers for the kids, a cute-looking door stopper for the bathroom, and whisk that might be better than the one at home?

Shopping online not only saves you time, but it helps you stick to your list. It’s convenient, so make use of it.

Do they charge a delivery fee? Rather click and collect.

6. Compare prices

Yes, it is a little extra work. But comparing prices from different stores might just bring you in under budget. Is there anything better than that in January?

Also, take note of any stores that have sales on at the time. 

7. Spread the cost

Chances are your kid won’t need 7 glue sticks, 3 rulers, 9 erasers, and 12 bottles of hand sanitiser in the first month. Don’t break the bank to get all those items in one go.

Rather add them to other budgeting lists later in the year. And it will give your budget a bit of extra time to recover from the holiday season.

8. Buy second hand

Kids grow fast! That might be hard on your budget. But the great thing about it is that they don’t wear out clothes. Check out second-hand uniforms at your school’s uniform shop. If you can’t find anything there? Take to Facebook. You won’t be the only parent who’s on the hunt for a bargain.

This works well with textbooks, too!

9. Don’t skimp on valuable items

Better to loosen the purse strings on some items. Backpacks, ring binders, school shoes, pencil cases… You want these items to last, and maybe to even use them again next year.

So be on the lookout for quality items. And just to be clear, branded or trademarked items do not always equal the best quality. No need to spend big bucks on a backpack with Olaf’s face on it, if a cheaper option will do the trick.

10. Label everything

Kids lose things. It sucks, but it’s true. So, label every item in your child’s bag. It might just save you running to the store every second week, spending money unnecessarily.

Future you will thank past you.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information only and we do not endorse their content.

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