School shopping on a budget
School shopping on a budget
Whether you’ve got a single child or a family full of excited faces for the new school term, making sure they’ve got everything they need, can be a costly business.
Sticking to your budget (or even better, buying everything on your school shopping list and staying under budget) can be quite a task, especially if your list of what’s needed starts to escalate.
So, what’s the trick? How do you keep your back to school spend affordable and still provide your children with everything they want and need?
Plan, plan and plan—your school shopping list is your budgeting bible
The very first thing you should do is to make a list. An all-inclusive, everything you need, list.
The second thing you must do—is stick to it.
Planning is crucial. If you make a complete list of everything you need (feel free to create a separate list for each of your children), you can estimate what you can afford to pay for new school blazers, shoes, bags and more. This is your budget. It’s your guideline and bible to keep within what you’re willing to spend.
Once you start searching out where you can match or beat your estimated prices, that’s when you’ll begin to see how you can not only come in on budget but where you can save enough to beat it.
New school uniforms for all of the family can get expensive, so decide how much you can afford to spend
The amount of money you have available will depend on your income, lifestyle and your planning. If this year it’s been a struggle to get the kids back to school with everything they need, then start planning now for the next one.
Set up a savings plan
It’s a great idea to have saving plans for any unexpected items or life events. To prepare for Christmas or to pay for holidays, saving in advance gives you a chance to be prepared for what it’s going to cost, and going back to school could be another event that doesn’t have to break the bank. Life is so much more affordable when you’ve already planned how you’re going to pay for it all.
Save more by doing your school shopping online
The Internet is the best year-round sales store you’re going to find—so use it.
The bigger department stores, online specialists and even auction sites will help you find everything you’re looking for. Once you’ve found what you need, search again for the very best prices available from the masses of available competition.
You’ll find everything from books, pens and drawing supplies as well as the best places to buy school clothes on a budget.
Less distraction—more action!
When you shop online (apart from the savings you should be able to find) another big advantage is that you don’t have to compete with all the distractions you’ll find shopping on the high street or in the supermarket.
Nor will you have to compete with the distraction of a begging child who ‘must-have’ the pricier designer items or expensive branded options. In fact, you won’t have to deal with the crying child who never wanted to go shopping in the first place, either!
Tips and tricks for finding the best school shopping deals
1. Check for items that you already have
Do you already have any of the items on your list? Have your children’s siblings got any of those bits and pieces tucked away at the back of their cupboards?
2. Collect money off vouchers and look out for stationery sales
A penny saved is a penny earned.
3. Do you need a short-term fix item or something made to last?
Feel free to save money on cheaper items that you don’t necessarily need to last; but when you’re doing your school shopping, clothes that are made to withstand more wear and tear could be worth the investment. The same goes for school shoes and trainers.
4. Avoid impulse purchases and stick to your list
Don’t be tricked into impulse buying just because something catches your eye, or your child has a hankering for none necessary items. It’s the quickest way to add unplanned spending to an ever-growing budget.
5. Swap clothing, shoes, blazers and bags with the other parents
Talk to other parents. See if they have any of the items you need that their children have grown out of, yet are still in good condition. If you haven’t got anything to exchange, offer to buy their used items. You should be able to acquire them for a fraction of the new price.
6. Track down those important ‘back to school sales’
Whether offline or on your local high street. The sales are where you can make big savings; track them down wherever you can, but always make sure the advertised savings are genuine.
7. Don’t get tricked into putting it all on credit
Getting into debt and the problems that come with it can be an easy situation to slip into. Credit is a wonderful tool when used correctly, but it makes it far too easy to spend more than you planned if you’re shopping with a ‘buy now—worry later’ attitude.
8. Let your kids have their say
Find out what your children actually want and like. You could save yourself a small fortune by not buying things they’ll never use or lose interest in after the first few days.
Don’t wait until the end of the school holidays!
If you’re rushing your back to school shopping at the last minute, you’re not going to have the time to find the best deals and prices. Give yourself plenty of time to do the job properly.
Look for bargains and great deals all year round—not only just before a new term starts. Stock up on any items you know you’ll need throughout the year if they’re being sold at a highly discounted price.
And if you’re too late to get it done in time…
Never panic. If you spend in haste, you’ll end up spending more. As long as your children have the essentials to start the new term or the new school year, you can still pick up what’s left as you go.
One of the bonuses of leaving your back to school shopping too late on purpose is that the prices on some of the items you will need will actually drop once the school term has started. You’ll be surprised how many school shopping stores up their prices because they know that those items will be in high-demand just prior to the beginning of a new year.
If you are struggling to manage your debts, contact us today on 0808 2085 195 for free and confidential advice on how to deal with your debts.
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