How to budget for kids going back to school

If you’ve got children going back to school, there’s so much to think about – getting them uniforms, school shoes, school books and textbooks, stationery, and kits for maths, arts and PE – the list goes on. On top of making sure that your offspring are suitably kitted out for their return to school, you’ll also have to deal with the expenses. A survey conducted by Equifax in 2016 found these expenses can cost parents up to nearly £300 in an academic year. If these make up a significant proportion of your budget, you may want to consider spreading the cost to make sure that the back to school rush doesn’t cripple you financially.

How to plan a back to school budget

There are several ways you can plan a reasonable back to school budget. Money saving strategies to help plan your budget can include:

  • Estimating how much you’ll need to budget for. Figure out what is a good budget for back to school shopping per child.
  • Saving up earlier in the year. Set aside money whenever you can, especially during periods when you may be spending less, for example, during school holidays.
  • Putting this money in a separate account that you know you won’t touch until it’s time to start preparing for your child’s return to school.
  • Keeping an eye out for items on sale throughout the year, not just before term starts. If you spot school supplies on discount off-season, you may want to snap them up instead of waiting till September.
  • Thinking long term – perhaps you could look for certain items of clothes in larger sizes that your kids could grow into.
  • Being strict with your budget – does your child really need a new pencil case (or other item) this year?

Budgeting for cheap school uniforms and school shoes

What’s a good budget for back to school clothes shopping? In many cases, it might depend on the school and the guidelines that the school has supplied. Make sure that you know exactly what uniform is required – you don’t want to get the wrong one.

If you’d like to save on off-the rack prices, find out where to buy cheap school uniforms. Consider checking out the following to see if you can get your child’s uniform cheaply: online auctions; school sales; auction sites like eBay; online forums. Make sure that you can trust the seller, and that the uniform is in the right size. If money is tight, you may want to consider buying second-hand uniforms.

Some schools are strict about shoe makes, styles and heel heights, so check these before you make your purchases.

How to save money on school kits

Your children may require a range of school kits, from sports to maths to arts. Compare prices online. As with school uniforms, you may want to check our second-hand kits if new ones cost too much.

How to find cheap laptops for school

Find out what type of laptop your child needs. Compare prices in-store and online. Buy second-hand if you need to – just make sure it’s under warranty and has enough memory, as you won’t want to be hit with additional costs for purchasing extra storage space further down the line. Depending on how old your child is, you may want to consider adjusting the parental controls on the device to keep your children safe online.

Finally, remember that your expenses don’t end when the school year starts. You may also want to look at budgeting for school holidays too.

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