School saving hacks

How to save on back to school costs.

Back to school costs can be a shock to families recovering from the cost of Christmas. 

Essential items such as uniforms, shoes, stationary supplies and textbooks can quickly add up.

Here are some tips to help save for the year ahead.

Make a list

Making a list of what you need and sticking to it is one of the easiest ways to save. Browse catalogues or search online before hitting the shops to find stores with the lowest prices. 

Buy the essentials

School uniforms can eat a huge hole in the family budget. Consider buying two or three full uniform sets and commit to doing the washing more frequently.

You can always buy more later if you find it doesn’t work for your family.

Use what you already have

Start off with last year’s backpack or lunch box if they’re still functional.

Try on last year’s school uniforms to see if they still fit and search drawers at home for the stationery you already have.

You’ll only have to buy the items you’re missing and can pick up quality school gear on sale after school has gone back.

Choose generic options

While your child may insist they need the latest $40 Smiggle pencil case, the reality is a $5 Kmart pencil case will do the job just as well.

You could also encourage your child to use any money they received for Christmas or from a part-time job to pay for brand-name items.

Go second-hand

Online buy, swap and sell communities such as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace can be great places to pick up second-hand school uniforms, textbooks, musical instruments or sporting equipment in your local area. You may even be able to make some cash by selling uniforms your children have outgrown.

Costly items like graphics calculators can be bought pre-owned or refurbished from sites such as Amazon Australia or eBay.

Plan for next year

It’s never too early to get a start on back to school shopping, with the biggest discounts often in early February. You can also shop the sales throughout the year and layby big ticket items.