The start of the new school year is an exciting time. It is also an expensive time with uniforms, stationery and other necessities to be bought. But with a little bit of planning and some smart thinking, you can send your kids back to school without destroying your bank balance. Here are 10 ideas
Buy with a budget
Decide how much money you have available for back-to-school shopping and stick to it as closely as possible. Distinguish between the items your child has to have, and the things she would like to have. Buy the must-have’s first.
Start with what you’ve got
Empty cupboards and drawers and make a list of all the stationery you already have. You will probably be surprised to see how much there is. Keep this list with you when you go shopping so that you don’t buy supplies you don’t need.
Stick to the list
Don’t waste time and money on items that are not on the teachers’ supplies lists. Extra supplies may seem like a good idea at the time, but chances are they will not get used and just leave your pockets empty.
Don’t fall for fashion trends
Brand names are all the rage, but don’t let your children convince you to waste your cash. Rather set limits. For instance, if you can afford it, let them choose one or two branded items but agree that the rest will be generic.
Host a back-to-school swap
Invite a couple of parents with children the same gender as yours but different ages, and see what clothes, books and other school supplies you can swap. You might end up with some good advice and valuable tips too from parents whose children have already completed the grade yours are going to.
Encourage your children to refresh last year’s pencil case (if it’s still in one piece) by decorating it with sequins and beads, embroidery or other craft techniques. They can also decorate inexpensive plain, white binders by creating a collage on a piece of paper and inserting it into the plastic outer cover.
Buy in bulk
When pens, crayons or glue go on sale, buy enough to get you through the rest of the year. Also check the prices at wholesale stores. Another idea is to agree with friends, family members or neighbours to pool your money to buy supplies in bulk and then divide them equally.
Timing is everything
Don’t leave your back-to-school shopping till the last minute. We often make unwise decisions under pressure. Rather start buying some items a month or more in advance. You will also alleviate the pressure on your purse if you don’t have to buy everything at the same time.
Use cash Instead of credit cards
Paying for supplies with cash helps you to keep an eye on your funds and to stay within your budget.
If you have to borrow, do so responsibly
Despite your best intentions and efforts, you might still need a loan to get your children back to school. If you do, borrow responsibly:
- If you need to pay one year’s school fees, don’t extend your loan period to two years.
- Only borrow the amount you need, nothing more.
- Shop around for the credit deal that best meets your needs.
Want to know more about healthy money habits and the benefits of a personal loan? Head over to Bayport South Africa’s website to learn more about managing your money.