7 Back to school hacks that will save you money
The start of the new schools years is coming up way too fast, which means it’s time to start getting organised for the year ahead. Unfortunately the start of the new school year can also mean spending huge amounts of money on school fees, uniforms, shoes, stationery, school books and lunch boxes, and the list just keeps going. Luckily, there are some great ways you can cut down these costs and save some serious money.
This will be the third back to school our family has experienced, and I feel like I’m finally starting to learn those little tips and tricks to save money on everything school related. Hopefully my tips will help cut down your family’s back to school costs too!
Look for school fee discounts
The amount of school fees you pay will largely depend on where you live and the type of school your children go to. If you are a low income family, find out if your family are eligible to apply for a school card. This could mean your school fees will be reduced or even free! Some catholic and independent schools offer school card discounts too, and these could save you thousands.
If your children attend a private school, take a good look at your invoice and see if your school offers a discount for paying the year’s fees up front. Our school offers an 8% discount. If you don’t have the cash to pay this year’s fees up front, divide the yearly fee by 52 and put that amount in a separate bank account each week. This time next year you will have enough cash to pay the fees up front, and you can benefit from that nice little discount. If you have multiple children at the same school, find out if your school offers sibling discounts.
Buy second hand textbooks
As your children get into the higher years of school textbook costs can jump sky high. Fortunately there are a few ways to save some serious money on textbooks. The best way is to search for second hand copies. Schools often hold textbook buy and sell days, but a great way to get your hands on used copies is to check out your schools buy and sell Facebook pages. The buy and sell pages for our school are currently jam-packed with used textbooks for a fraction of the cost of brand new copies. Just a tip – if you do buy second hand copies, first make sure they are the current edition.
If you are struggling to find current edition used textbooks, it might be time to start looking for new copies. There are plenty of places to get brand new textbooks for a far lower price than the RRP. Online stores like Angus and Robertson and Book Depository are a great place to start.
Shop around for stationery
Prices for school stationery can vary greatly, so it’s worth doing a little online research to find the cheapest option for your family. Officeworks are great for this, as they promise to beat other stores prices by 20%. Department stores like Kmart and Big W are also great for stationery, the only issue can be the quality of some of the own-brand products that some of these stores sell. There is no point saving money on things like pencils if they break more often than not.
Second hand uniforms
If your school is anything like ours, uniform prices are likely to be astronomical. The quality of the uniforms is amazing, but that doesn’t help families already struggling with high back to school costs. A great option with schools that require a school uniform is to buy second hand rather than new. Most schools have at least one buy and sell Facebook group where you can buy second hand uniforms, and sell any uniforms you no longer need. Buying second hand uniforms has saved me hundreds of dollars.
If you do decide to buy second hand, check the items thoroughly before handing over any cash.
Buy generic uniforms
Shop around for uniform items that don’t require the school logo. I just brought my daughter’s PE shorts from Best and Less for $6, much cheaper than the $30+ dollars at the uniform shop. I also do the same with long sleeve button up shirts in winter. Big W and Target are also great for uniform items, as is Next online.
Shop around for school shoes
There are plenty of options when it comes to black school shoes, and prices can vary from $15 to more than $130. The difficult part is that the more expensive shoes don’t necessarily mean better quality. My daughter wore the Aldi school shoes for all of last year and didn’t have a single issue, in-fact they still looked almost new by the end of the year. How much you choose to spend depends on what you are comfortable with, it just takes a little research and a whole lot of trial and error.
Fill the freezer with lunch box snacks
Now is the perfect time to start doing a little baking and filling the freezer with lunch box snacks. It saves so much money when compared with store bought packaged versions, and would have to be healthier too. Check out our 12 freezer friendly lunch box recipes to get your started.