As the holiday season draws to a close, parents must consider one of their biggest costs; the cost of education. Here are some back to school money tips as you prepare for the new term:

Plan Ahead

Ideally, parents should have started planning for the school year long before now. When you shop early, you can take advantage of sales and discounts. This is probably the most expensive time to shop for the school year. Indeed, if there are items that your child doesn’t need right away or not for several weeks, then you might wish to wait for when unsold inventory is sold at a discount.

Prepare a School Budget

Most people cannot afford to buy every single thing on the school list. How much money do you have to spend? Set out a budget for school supplies including school fees, books, lunch, the school bus, uniforms, allowance, supplies etc. Shop with your list, prioritise and to stick to it.

Can you afford the fees?

Today’s harsh economic climate has left thousands of parents struggling to pay for their children’s education. If your education. If your child is exceptionally bright and talented, explore opportunities for scholarships and bursaries. If you have cut backs as much as you can, even sold assets, and are still struggling to meet your obligations, it may be time to withdraw from a particular school and seek a cheaper option. The most expensive school whether at home or abroad, is not necessarily the best. Be careful not to jeopardize your livelihood and retirement plans to fund an education you cannot afford.

Review the School List

Review the school list critically; can any items brought home at the end of last term be used for this term? You will be surprised to find that there are many items at home, so you can avoid wasting money or duplicating items. Don’t look down on “hand me downs”. Naturally, every child would love to have everything brand new each New Year but where older siblings attended the same school, it makes perfect sense to use hand down uniforms if in good condition, even if you can afford to buy new ones. Some schools offer almost new uniforms; quite frankly, at the rate at which children outgrow clothes, it makes sense to buy some items second-hand.

Reviewing the school list with your child is an opportunity to teach some valuable money lessons. Talk through the difference between wants and needs; this provides strong lessons in costs, prioritizing and budgeting. It is a good idea to go along with them for some of the shopping trips.

Should you buy in bulk?

Buying school supplies in bulk is most effective for households with multiple students. For single child families, consider doubling up with others for extra savings on basic supplies. If you buy to much, they may go to waste as they will get lost, lent out, given away, misplaced or just never used.

…to be cont

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