10 Back to school money saving ideas

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

If you are like me and have a few children at school it becomes an expensive time of year with new books, shoes and uniforms.  Here are 10 handy ideas to help you save a little during this time.

  1. Don’t purchase winter uniforms now, instead buy at the beginning of April, the kids won’t need jumpers during the summer.
  2. Reuse items such as pencil cases, backpacks, calculators, scissors, USB sticks from what they brought home from school last year.
  3. Use supplies such as erasers, pens, tape etc that you have in the drawers at home.
  4. Get as much wear from school uniforms as possible
  5. Consider taking the kids to the local TAFE where a beauty course is held to get cheap haircuts.
  6. Plain backpacks are alot cheaper than brand name or character packs, and may still be just as durable or, purchase good quality backpack, take care with regular washing and it may last you 2-3 years.
  7. Shop at the dollar stores such as Sam’s Warehouse, Crazy Clarks etc, they have cute pencils and erasers for half the price elsewhere.
  8. I saved this year instead of buying black school shoes plus joggers, I purchased black joggers, no need to spend on an extra pair of shoes.  Remember though, good quality shoes are important for little growing feet.
  9. You all know me I am a huge fan of Tupperware.  I purchased my kids sandwich keepers when they were in Kindy, 5 years on and I have not had to purchase new lunchboxes.  Yes I have had to get them replaced once or twice because the corners have broken, that’s the bonus of a lifetime guarantee.  They are superb quality, saving on glad wrap, great investment I believe.
  10. And finally, don’t back-to-school shop with the kids, you will shop faster and more economical without them saying “‘But Mummy…I want this one”.

That’s it for posts this week, I will be back on Sunday with my meal plan, then Monday will be more back to school ideas!!  I haven’t forgotten about the de-clutter challenge, a post will be coming once the kids return back to school, plus a great new series.

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Su Chin January 13, 2011 - 6:27 PM

I patch up the knees of my boys' trackpants. And I do it for the other moms too. It's always a shame to throw away otherwise useful pants. If it's beyond repair, I cut off at the knees, and remake them into shorts.

Katrina January 18, 2011 - 11:39 PM

Clever, tracky style shorts are always comfy!

Trish January 13, 2011 - 7:54 PM

I am impressed your kids don't lose their lunchboxes! My daughter has lost a few in her 5 yrs at school…one brand new pink one sent it in was gone that day…

Love your ideas …thank u…

Katrina January 18, 2011 - 11:44 PM

No worries at all Trish.

Michelle January 14, 2011 - 1:33 AM

Both my kids schools have their own school bags that are mandatory. My DS has got 4 years out of his, but with highschool and heavy school books it had to be repaired end of last year. DD's is still going strong 4 years on.

I too buy the winter uniform just before easter. One less back to school expense especially if they have had another growth spurt!

Another thing to think about, if your kids are forever losing their school hats, consider having their surnames embriodered on the back of them. DS's school this is mandatory. After DD losing 2 hats I paid for her 3rd hat to be embroidered. It has disappeared 3 times and been returned each time. Well worth $13 to embroider her surname!

Kin January 11, 2012 - 9:07 PM

My kids school jumpers and hats were embroidered last year. At the end of the year I have 1/2 jumpers and no hats. Furious as. it’s not like anyone’s not going to notice a kid walking around with a name on it that’s not theirs.

tegan January 11, 2012 - 9:06 PM

I know not everyone can do it but i have saved $5 each week since my kids were born for school stuff. All this money is put in a internet saving account and as i buy something i take it out of the account to pay for it. 1st DS is in kindy this year and i have loved that the money is there for uniforms which are alot in the first yer of any school. I will also put the ETR back into this account and if there is any left at the end of their schooling then they can split it between them.

Katie Bowles January 11, 2012 - 10:17 PM

I have done something a little similar. havent put any money aside but ever since my son was born I have been buying things I know he will need for school i.e; School bag, lunch box, drink bottle, pencil case, rulers, erasers, library bag. been doing the same for my daughter just been buying little bits and pieces over the years. My advice for buying cheap supplies is to go to office works, kmart and maybe big w. these are the cheapest places I have found for stationary. Also start your school shopping as soon as christmas is over. all the back to school stuff goes really quickly by the week just before school starts. And dont forget if you are shopping at kmart and big w you can put it on layby. Another Idea to help out with uniforms is my father inlaw he baught my son some shorts and a pair of shoes as christmas presents

Diana January 12, 2012 - 2:58 AM

it have never occurred to me to layby the school items, i always wait until i have enough money to buy it all in one go, thanks so much for stating the obvious, it is an excellent idea…i’m going to place my layby tomorrow, much more budget friendly

Tammy January 16, 2013 - 9:18 PM

I have done something similar, but it is earmarked for major school excursions – the trip to Canberra, etc… that I can’t just find from skimping on groceries for a week. This takes the form of individual bank accounts, so anything left at the end of schooling is their nest egg. I don’t use it yet for sporting activities etc but if we progress to more than once a week swimming lessons and about $25/term each in other activities, I might. (At present our budget allows for some fitness activities).
I also saved at the start of Kindy by buying fabric for school dresses and sewing them myself while on holidays at Mum’s. I have made 4 dresses and matching scrunchies from fabric equivalent to about 1 1/2 new dresses. I also modified the later 2 (made for Term 4 of Year 2) with VERY big hems.

Katrina January 17, 2013 - 8:44 AM

That’s a fabulous idea to sew the dresses yourself, that will save a lot. Great idea to start saving for the big Canberra trip, my twins will be in Grade 6 next year (last year of primary school) so I should look into a savings plan for them.


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