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Back To School Shopping Breaking The Bank?

All parents know that sickening dread as Januworry rolls around and the back to school shopping has to happen.

Most parents are not able to save during the year and those that do often find December is a hard month that will quickly eat up any savings. This leaves them turning to credit in Jan to cover those heavy back to school costs.

But what if you are living on less and do not have access to credit? How can you cope?


You may have received a long list of needed items form the school and feel daunted when you look at all that is needed. One strategy is to go over supplies that you already have from the previous year. Check what you actually need.

Next talk to your child (or a teacher) about what items will be needed during the month of January, then February, then March etc. You may find that with schools starting later in January this year (if there is no sudden increasing levels of lockdown) your child will not need all the items on the list on day one. You may be able to prioritise shopping for only some of the items in Jan and then once the January paycheque comes in you can then look to buy other items needed for Feb and so on.

You may find that … your child will not need all the items on the list on day one.

Shop Smart

Can you shop around and find some of the needed items second hand or pre-owned? There are many such online resources such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree etc where you might be able to find some of the more pricey items at a discounted cost.

You may also find that there are supplies that can be bought cheaper at one supplier rather than another. A little googling and checking out of websites may help you create specific shopping lists for specific stores. You may find that one store offers one type of product cheap and then hopes you spend more on all the other supplies which they have at slightly higher prices than elsewhere. Be sure to shop around and shop smart. Consider house brands or no name brands which are often cheaper.

Keep in mind that with some items it may be better to get a new or brand name version if this is a key item (eg art supplies for your kid’s art needs). Speaking to teachers about such specific supplies can help you figure out if this will be the case. Here, once again, it could be that not all supplies are needed during January when schools open.

Avoid Embarrassment For Your Child

If you are really unable to afford certain items then speak frankly to your child’s teacher to ensure that your child is not accidentally embarrassed in front of their classmates due to not having something.

Teachers will make efforts to help your child avoid possible embarrassment.


Almost Time For Back To School

If you are proactive and prioritise your child actual immediate needs you may be able to scrape through to your January payday. By shopping smart and taking advantage of sales and second hand options you will be able to get your little darlings what they need to get back to school.