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Save Money on School Supplies

By Staff Writer

It is about that time of year again, as the festivities subside and we ready ourselves for the year ahead. What this translates into for every parent is school preparation and one of the biggest potential headaches under this umbrella is stocking up on school supplies. Justmoney looks at how you can save money in the process.

“Understandably anything associated with back-to-school gets put on hold until the new year, which unfortunately means that budgets are depleted or stretched when it comes to the increasing cost of schooling,” said Kirsten Reynolds, marketing executive at fintech company MyBucks.

School fees aside, Reynolds says that parents often misjudge their budgeting when it comes to the cost of stationery, uniforms, books and transport.

She advises that parents adopt a ‘how much can I afford’ approach as opposed to a ‘how much will it cost’ approach, especially in the light of the rising cost of living.

Below are some of Reynolds top tips for budgeting on back-to-school costs this year:

1. Plan ahead
Make sure you check your child’s stationery and book lists well in advance so you are aware of what is needed and can properly assess what can be re-used from the previous year.
Often “items can perhaps be used from older siblings who no longer require them. The same applies to school uniforms,” states Reynolds.

It is also essential that you then, based on the above, put together a list of things needed and go and price them at different stores, comparing the prices to obtain the best deal before purchasing.
 
2. Purchase as soon as you can
“It’s always advisable to avoid panic shopping at the last minute and spending more money than you can’t afford,” said Reynolds.
When it comes to uniforms a good place to check would be thrift stores or second-hand stores, as they usually stock items that are as good as new at a fraction of the store price.
 
3. Shop online
Many of the stores these days have an online facility allowing you to compare items and prices in the comfort of your home.
 
“Also keep a look-out for two-for-one specials and bulk discounts and if necessary team-up with family and friends to save where you can. Some retailers also offer discounts to specific schools, so check to see if this applies to your particular school,” suggests Reynolds.

Another useful tip is to make use of cash instead of credit cards. “Paying for supplies with cash allows you to keep an eye on your funds and to stay within your budget,” explains Tembisan.

Shopping for school supplies is an unavoidable task this time of year, so make it easier on yourself even if it’s just in the convenience department. Tembisan further suggests you “head to the supermarket for basic supplies. Check weekly circulars for great deals on pens and paper, and get your weekly grocery shopping done at the same time.”

In addition, First National Bank (FNB) advises that parents make use of their store rewards.

“Various retailers have rewards programs such as cash back or points that accumulate. Don’t forget to use your points or cash back to save on purchases such as white school shirts at clothing retailers or lunch boxes at home stores. Alternatively, if you have gift vouchers lying around for which you could not find a purpose, make them work for you by cutting down on your school supply spending,” said the Eunice Sibiya, head of FNB Consumer Education.

Give your children a budget and a list of necessities, and let them help make decisions on the rest of their stationary. “Back-to-school season is a great time to teach budgeting basics to your children,” highlights the Germiston City News.

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