Back-To-School: The smart shopper’s guide
- Mums Tips
- Published on Tuesday, 12 September 2023 17:07
- Last Updated on 12 September 2023
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
Back-To-School: The smart shopper’s guide.
With the kids going back to school, many parents are pulling their hair out, wondering how they’re going to provide them with everything they need.
That’s where this post can help. We take a look at some of the unique things you can do to bring down the cost of sending your child back-to-school for the new term. Here’s everything you need to know:
Budget For Your Back-To-School Shopping
The first step is to budget for your back-to-school shopping. Make sure you figure out how much money you have to spend before you start buying things left, right, and centre.
Creating a realistic budget means prioritising the things your child needs. Stationery should be high on the list; the latest iPhone probably is not.
If you’re struggling to keep track of all the expenditures, download an app to help you. You can find numerous budgeting services on the app store to assist you with practically everything to do with your child’s back-to-school needs.
Write Down A Checklist
Once you have a budget in place, the next step is to write down a comprehensive list of things they need. Most parents put items into various categories, such as stationery, clothing, textbooks, and electronics.
Such a simple list, though, can be misleading. That’s because the number of things that can fall into each category is extensive.
For instance, stationery can include everything from pencils to printers. Clothing could include body armour for football practice or custom mouth guards, which aren’t always cheap.
Once you’ve made your checklist, ensure you can easily check off items as you find them while shopping. Don’t leave anything off the list.
Prioritise What’s Nice To Have Versus What Your Kid Really Needs
Staying with the list, the next step is to carefully prioritise what your kid actually needs compared to what you would like them to have. If they’ve outgrown their sports shoes, then you’ll need to repair them. You have no choice. But if you want them to have designer clothes, then you might want to file that under the nice-to-have-but-not-essential category.
You might also want to take this as an opportunity to talk to your child about the value of prioritising certain things over others. For example, buying the latest designer clothes might be nice, but it probably won’t help with the ultimate goal of getting an education.
Look For Sales And Discounts
Many brands run sales and discounts on items during back-to-school events and a little beyond to clear stock. Therefore, keep your eyes peeled for these.
Focus on the most expensive items first, looking for money off these, as they are the ones that will leave you most out of pocket. A good example of this would be winter coats. These can be expensive unless you get them in the back-to-school sale.
Another example is printer cartridges, something kids need if they print out work and hand it in manually. Cartridge Save, a company that distributes printer-related products, recommends that parents choose unbranded products that won’t invalidate their printer warranties. It points out that not all third-party printer cartridges are the same and consumers need to be careful.
Timing is critical when it comes to saving money. Waiting until the first two weeks of term can net you even bigger discounts, as long as you can make do in the interim.
You should also look for student loyalty programs that offer discounts. Again, these can help you get money off things like shoes, stationery, and textbooks.
Look For Eco-Friendly Options
You might also want to search for eco-friendly options. The rise of these in school supplies is accelerating, and many educational institutions now want to see children taking things like the environment seriously.
Using reusable lunch containers and water bottles is probably the simplest option. Kids should have equipment and tools they can use day after day.
You might also want to invest in eco-friendly alternatives to traditional supplies. For example, instead of laminating certificates, you might put them in a recycled brown paper envelope.
Make Sensible Electronics Purchases
Historically, children learned with pen and paper, but over the last ten years, that changed in a big way. Now, many schools permit and encourage the use of laptops in class.
When choosing a laptop, pick something your child will want to use in front of their classmates. Ideally, you want something with a reasonably big screen for word processing and a fast chip that can load onscreen assets quickly.
You’ll also want to invest in plenty of protective cases and screen protectors for their devices. Anything can go wrong in school, including damage from spilled drinks or dropping computers on the floor.
Use Second-Hand Options And Hand-Me-Down
Trunk sales and thrift stores are great places to find used and second-hand options for your kids. Many people sell old school uniforms at massive discounts compared to standard retail prices. Look on Google to see if there are any stores or discount stalls in your local area that you might be able to take advantage of.
Hand-me-downs are another option. Many schools have parents’ associations where people regularly engage with each other, passing on textbooks and other items for free or a small payment. Some even pool resources, meaning you can contribute too and receive benefits in return.
Look For Tax Holidays
You might also benefit from areas offering back-to-school tax holidays. These regions eliminate the sales tax on school-related items, similar to other essential products that benefit society as a whole.
Once you buy all your school supplies, the challenge then becomes staying organised. Use labels and colour code everything while maintaining a space for your kids to do their homework.
If your children find it hard to keep everything organised, then you might want to offer them various digital tools and apps to manage schedules and assignments. Keeping everything organised can help make their lives more efficient and encourage them to learn more.
So there you have it: the smart shopper’s guide to back-to-school. Which of these tactics will you use?
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums