BACK TO SCHOOL MADE cheap!
Where does the time go?!?
As if it’s not hard enough already to acknowledge that your little one is not so little anymore, and that they are about to embark on an exciting new adventure called “High School”, then comes the dreaded realisation of the unavoidable "starting High School" expenses! …A double whammy!
Now, each high school has its own requirements, and expectations can differ vastly from one school to another, but generally they’re all pretty similar so I’ll try and cover it on as broad a spectrum as possible.
First thing to do is plan ahead rather than doing it all at once! If your 100% committed to the chosen school, then planning ahead will help ease the inevitable financial drain especially if you have more than one child making the move.
If it’s too late to plan ahead, do not fear! There’s still plenty of ways to do it on a budget.
Hand me downs – Older siblings, cousins or friends are a good place to start.
School uniform shop – Most schools have an on campus uniform shop and often sell good condition second-hand uniforms
Facebook - garage sale/buy,swap,sell sites - Type the uniform your looking for in the search bar on your chosen local site.
Gumtree - Type the uniform your looking for in the search bar on the Gumtree “For Sale” page.
Local charity shops – Many charity shops sell new and used school uniforms. Just hope the uniform you’re looking for is there.
It’s really important to find out what style shoe is required at your new school. You don’t want to find out the hard way!
If the shoes they have still fit and they’re the correct style, then just keep wearing them. No need for new right now.
Online sale sites – Often sell new, just be sure to get the correct fit (possibly try them on in a store first) and watch out for delivery costs.
Retail shoe stores are they worth it? – Sometimes spending more upfront ends up costing less overall! Usually, the quality is better and thus harder wearing and they can be fitted correctly by the people who know. Hopefully, depending on growth rate of course, a good pair of school shoes should last at least a year.
Laybys – Most retail stores offer this service, offering you a designated amount of time to pay it off. Each store may vary in time, so be sure to check first.
Tip – If you find your child wears shoes out unusually fast for no obvious reason, visit (you don’t have to buy) a shoe store with an electronic pressure mapping machine. They can help identify and analyse the way your child walks. Quite often the shoe will wear in the same place simply because the foot needs more support in that area. By buying the correct supportive shoe (again not necessarily from that shop) or by possibly adding a support insole it can help slow down the wear of the shoe and make them last longer.
LAPTOPS - Ugh! This one can be tricky as a lot of High schools require a specific brand/type of laptop. Naturally find out what is required (generally found on the school’s website, probably near the “permission for technology” form) and go from there. If you have the correct laptop with the required specs… That’s awesome! If you don’t, then do your research and shop around. This process may take some time but it’s the best way to ensure you’re getting the cheapest deal. Don’t forget to double check online too, often online will have exclusive offers that are not instore. For example, if Harvey Normans in store acer spin laptop is selling for $435 but on their website they are advertising it for $385 then ask them to price match.
School discount – Always ask the store if they offer a school discount (for the school your child will be attending). Most schools have an associated agreement with leading retailers and will offer a further 10 – 15 % discount. If your school is not on their list, then there’s still no harm to ask for it anyway.
GENERAL SUPPLIES – The most important thing is to work out what’s is REALLY needed! Re-use old stuff, textbooks, art books, folders, pens, pencils, rulers, rubbers, sharpeners, glue, USB you get the idea! there’s no point buying new if what they already have is useable, adequate or correct for their needs. Regardless to what our children say – Parent knows best!
Buy on sale throughout the year – If you’re in the right place at the right time and it works in with your budget, this will save you time and money in the long run!
Price match – If you’re buying in peak school season (after Christmas). Don’t forget many retail stores are happy to price match, just remember to always make sure you have evidence of the cheaper price you’ve seen, current date and items are identically matched.
Kill two birds with one stone – If it can serve two purposes, then why not! Think about what could be included as a birthday/Christmas gift. Laptop, mobile phone, pen sets, cool USBs, pencil cases, socks, drink bottles, lunch boxes and school bag.
MOBILE PHONE – If you decide a mobile phone is needed, consider a reliable hand me down first as there’s always the possibility of it getting lost or dropped. If that’s not possible there are plenty of basic unlocked phones available.
If you decide on pre-paid, check around for the cheapest deal that will suit their needs. If a plan is preferred, you may be able to bargain a deal with your current provider. Just remember to consider a realistic (teenager) amount of mobile data that could be used. Why? Because If it goes over the fixed amount on your plan. An extra $10 will be automatically added to your monthly bill… Yeah, I found out the hard way!
UNEXPECTED EXPENSES – Those delightful surprises! These will happen, whether its school excursion, carnival day, bus pass, lost school jumper/hat, pizza parties, casual clothes day, fundraisers or formals. They happen, expect the unexpected! So, if the budget allows, it’s better to be one step ahead and put a few extra dollars away. Save a few gold coins in a jar to save you from going to get cash at 7:30 in the morning, is worth its weight in gold 😉.
So, now the transition to high school should hopefully be easier on your budget! But unfortunately, I can’t guarantee it being any easier watching them… grow up so fast!
Budget Angel xx