Back to school on a budget

Back to school on a budget

Spending money on things your children’s need for school is unavoidable, but there are ways to help minimise the hit on your pocket/bank account.

10 budget-friendly back to school shopping tips

  1. Hunt for hand-me-downs. After you’ve taken stock of your child’s closet and know what items they need for Autumn, ask friends and family members who have children a little older than yours if they have any clothes to pass on. Winter jackets are particularly great to source this way, since they often don’t wear out before they’re outgrown and can be costly to purchase new.
  2. Find second-hand name brands. As children get older, wearing name brands can become important to them. Try shopping second hand in charity shops for these items. They’ll be much more affordable than buying new.
  3. Buy extra school supplies. Paper, pencils and other school supplies that your children need all year long tend to be discounted in the weeks before school. If you’re able, stock up on these supplies so you don’t have to pay full price later in the year.
  4. Make a list. Some schools send children home with a list of items they’ll need. If yours doesn’t, make one and stick to it. Impulse buying can quickly derail a back to school shopping budget.
  5. Budget for next year. If you’ve never done it before, keep track of everything you spend on back to school clothing and supplies this year so you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll be spending next year. You can then set aside money each week so you’ll have your back to school cash ready and waiting next September.
  6. Don’t assume you need everything. Take stock of the leftover school supplies your child already has. Have them clean out their draws and pencil cases so you can determine if they still have 52 pencils or 11 erasers. If so, cross those off your list!
  7. Go easy on extra-curricular activities. Try to stick with one activity per child. Not only will this make your weeknights a lot less hectic and give your kids the unstructured downtime they need, but it will also give your budget a break. Lessons and sports aren’t cheap when you factor in supplies and equipment.
  8. Choose reusable masks. If schools in your area still have a mask mandate, choosing 3-layer, washable masks is more affordable than continuously purchasing disposable ones. WHO has patterns and material suggestions for homemade masks, and check out these recommendations on how to wash and store masks.
  9. Buy refurbished. If you’re in need of electronic devices, buying refurbished computers and tablets is a cost-effective way to go. You can usually even purchase a warranty for extra peace of mind. 

At Foresters, we believe that smart money management is a big part of your overall well-being — but being able to enjoy quality time with family and living well are also important for happiness and health. MemberDeals is a new benefit designed to help Foresters members enjoy life and save money with access to deals on everyday necessities, electronics, exciting experiences and other online shopping opportunities. Members can login to to find out more.

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