"Sending my children back to school is cheap." Said no parent ever.

Here are some of the ways I save money when sending my kids back to school.

Heading back to school can be overwhelming for so many reasons, particularly this year for me with my youngest starting school. Now all three of my children will be in school – and that means I have three lists and three sets of uniforms, lunchboxes, stationery and school snacks to buy.

Private school fees shouldn’t be spent on marketing.

Nobody said freedom was cheap! Just kidding. I am in no way looking forward to ‘freedom’. My baby is starting school…are tissues on special? I’m going to need a few boxes of those.

A few boxes of these please.

The first couple of years I went shopping for school supplies I spent a fortune buying the best of everything, but eventually I realised that a glue stick is just a glue stick. Now I know lots of ways to save.

And here they are. My gift to you ahead of the school year beginning:

1. Second-hand uniforms.

School uniforms can cost a fortune. This year at the uniform shop I saw a lot of parents trying to figure out how to save some money by purchasing less items than they wanted to. They will have to do the laundry a few extra times a week, but there’s no way you can afford a uniform for every day.

Line them up.

Instead, ask about the school second-hand shop. Most schools have one and it will save you money to buy some of the more expensive items there such as blazers and tunics and pants. Also, if you know families with older children in the school, ask if they have any uniform items their kids have outgrown. They are normally happy to see them go to a good home.

Gen Ys are the best at saving money

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by HP’s new Stream family. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

2. Bulk buy stationery.

When it comes to buying stationery, don’t feel like you have to buy the best and most expensive on the market. Have you seen how kids treat their stationery? They are so focused on colouring and cutting and gluing and creating and they lose items all the time.

So, two things. Buy affordable stationery from a discount shop or a store known for its good prices. And buy extra during the back to school sales for later in the year – because they will need a top up.

Refills anyone?

3. Access school deals.

Most schools have relationships with local businesses that offer discounts to school families. Normally details are included in Parent Packs that were handed out during orientation.

Ask about these offers and try and buy things like labels and school shoes and sports shoes there for excellent discounts.

Often you can access further discounts by referring other so refer away!

4. Invest in a reasonably-priced laptop.

These days school kids need access to a computer. They use websites in class to help them learn to read and count and do all sorts of things – and then there’s the homework.

Instead of sacrificing your computer to the kids, invest in a reasonably-priced laptop such as the HP Stream which comes in kid-friendly colours and is the perfect first computer for your school-aged children. You can pick up a laptop for $299 or a tablet for $229.

Do women prefer laptops?

5. Be snack smart.

One of your most important tasks during the school year is to keep all the kids’ favourite snacks and lunch foods in stock. Here’s a tip. Pre-pack non-perishable snacks in brown bags ready for at least two weeks ahead and store them somewhere the kids can’t find them. The kids’ favourite pre-packaged snacks can be a bit pricey and you don’t want them eating them all after school.

Also, buy their favourite rolls and lunch meats whenever they are on special and freeze them for later use. You can even prepare a week’s worth and store them in the freezer. Just pop them in their lunch boxes each morning and buy lunch time they will have thawed. Voila.

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What are some tips and tricks you use when trying to cut down the cost of sending your child back to school?


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