Before we know it a new school year is almost upon us! The kids will be heading back to school soon and it’s full steam ahead with projects, school supplies and lunchboxes. It all seems wonderful until you realise the harsh truth - back to school shopping costs are big.
New school clothes, sports togs, school supplies, extra-curricular activities, school fees, food for lunches and snacks, and the list goes on… but last time you checked, there was no money tree in the backyard!
How do you stay on track with your money and pay for everything necessary for your child to go to school simultaneously, without going broke or losing your mind?
Here are some useful saving tips:
Make a list and stick to it
December is all about shopping, spending and sales. The most important thing is don’t go astray. It’s always a good idea to start with a budget and a shopping list. Do an inventory check so that you can compare what you need versus what you already have before you head to the stores. You’ll be surprised to realise that backpacks and binders might be in good enough shape to use again.
Stay away from character niche products
Frozen, Paw Patrol, Sophia the First – your children may love a character lunch box or pencil case based on their favourite characters. The problem is if they see their friends with another kind of character lunch box, chances are they will want that too.
Online shopping for the win
Websites like takelot.com and Zasttra have tons of Back-to-School shopping and their delivery service makes it convenient and easy. Check the websites regularly for great deals on stationery. Buying it online also saves you time and money.
Ditch the money for the tuck shop and instead encourage the kids to help you make their own healthier options for their lunch.
Why not carpool?
If you live in a neighbourhood where all the kids go to the same school, carpooling can be an extremely efficient and time-saving solution to get children to school. And with rising petrol prices, carpooling can also save you money. However to be successful at it, keep the following considerations in mind:
- Organisation is key – set up a schedule with all interested families, determining what days and times work best for each and making sure the responsibility is distributed evenly.
- Make an emergency contact list – Once you have your schedule, ensure each participating family has it – and that it also includes an emergency contact list including names of parents, children, addresses and phone numbers.
- Having a reliable back up driver is also a good suggestion.
- Keep extracurricular activities in mind – If your children are active in any extramural activities, consider carpooling with families whose children are also involved in similar activities.
- Teach car safety – Before you start carpooling, you can have a discussion with your children about being safe in the car, such as not screaming, buckling safety belts and being courteous to the other passengers.
- Don’t be late – In the mornings, it is important that your child is ready to go before the parent who is driving arrives at your house. This way, you won’t cause delays in picking up the other children.
- Update your child – Make sure your child knows exactly who is picking him/her up every day. This way, there will be no confusion.
With the extra money you will be saving, put it towards the children’s education fund or watch it grow with a Tax Free Savings Account.
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