Schools in! Our back-to-school savings tips.

That’s it, folks – summer’s over. Well, the school holiday bit anyway. Now, for parents, it’s all about the inevitable back-to-school kit list. From pencil cases to backpacks, uniforms to lunchboxes, those new-term essentials can put your bank account in the bad books. So here are our tips for scoring top marks with your money.

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Go back to class

Schools are communities in themselves, so they provide ideal hubs where parents can communicate and organise things. Why not get in touch with teachers or the PTA to set up a back-to-school swap day with other parents? Uniforms, books, backpacks – everyone has pre-loved, out-grown gear they don’t need. It’s a great way to bring everyone together before the start of a new term, too.

Make a list (then check it twice)

Love them or hate them, lists can stop you buying things you either already have or don’t really need. Save time by printing off an existing list (this one (opens in a new window) from greatschools.org is a great starting point), then start narrowing it down. Do you really need to buy things like colouring pencils, or does the school supply them? Just buy the basics first, then you can pick up other things as you go along.

“You’ll be amazed what can turn up when there’s treats to be won!”

Get personal

Instead of buying branded folders and lunchboxes, why not put your creative critters to work personalising plain ones? All you need is some comics or magazines to cut out (or look up and print off their favourite characters), some glue and an afternoon at the kitchen table. Not only will the kids have unique things rather than off-the-shelf, they’ll be more likely to look after things they’ve put real time and effort into.

Hold a back-to-school ‘treasure hunt’

Chances are, your house has been turned a bit upside down in the past month or so. As a result, last term’s school things might have gone astray – vanished into that mysterious ‘black hole of lost things’. If so, there’s nothing surer to help youngsters find them than a school-stuff treasure hunt (with prizes, of course). Write a list of the missing items, set a time limit and award prizes for every ‘find’. You’ll be amazed what can turns up when there are treats to be won!

Deploy the robots

Once in a while, we all have that nagging suspicion we might be over-paying for something. Well, suspect no more. Money Saving Expert’s MegaShopBot (opens in a new window) trawls the top internet comparison sites to find the cheapest online deals. For everything from school shoes to ipads, it’s a quick and easy way to make sure you’re getting the best price around at the time.

This blog is a bit of fun and not intended to influence your decisions in any way. The content of the blog is reliable at the time of publishing, but we can’t guarantee that it is neither error nor omission free, beyond our knowledge. The links are there for you to explore if you wish, but we don’t have any connection with the third party sites, nor responsibility for them or their content.