Back to school shopping – that dreaded time of year. It’s expensive, it’s stressful, the kids refuse to wear the shoes you pick out, the sales women are rude, and the list goes on. So what if there were a few handy ways you could turn the whole experience into a relaxing, well budgeted trip to the shops. Believe it or not, it is totally doable.
- Check what you already have
Kids are the best at hoarding stuff or loosing stuff at the bottom of their book bags. Before you go out and buy bags of new stationary and equipment, check that you don’t already have it! If the kids are moaning about using old gear, let them re-invent it! Turn it into an afternoon of craft by getting them to decorate their notebook covers and stick gems onto pencils. For boys, buy a load of stickers about something they love and get them to let lose.
- Set a budget
Buying back to school gear is all about being savvy. Work out how much money you can set aside this month and pick a figure. That way you won’t feel guilty or out of pocket. To make sure you stick to the budget you’ll need to make a list and stick to that too! Extra bits and bobs may be enticing but they are not necessary, and you’ll regret them later. Kids can be messy and forgetful!
- Boost your budget by selling old things
If you’re feeling strapped for cash then boost the budget with a quick whip round of unwanted things. Not only will this make room in a few cupboards, but it will mean you could double your budget, or simply make up for the extra spending. There are thousands of guides and how-tos for selling things easily, but a good place to start is in the garage and old draws. Old furniture is easy to sell on Facebook buy and sell groups, and can results in a fair bit of extra cash. Pick out anything you know you don’t want, spruce it up and flog it!
Old draws are also a great place to find unwanted things. That old phone which is lying collecting dust? It could be worth hundreds! Get onto a gadget trade-in price comparison site and see just how much you could bag for it. Sites like this help you find the best deals, and most recyclers offer free postage, so you can sell your device and get paid in just days.
Once you’ve sold a few bits, you’ll see the difference in your bank account! What better way to soften the blow of September.
- Shop in sales, pound shops and supermarkets
Be organised and start gathering some bits off your list while in the sales. Short sleeved polos, discounted jumpers which are a size too big are all going to come into use sooner or later! Get them while they are cheap.
Don’t be afraid to use pound shops either. Stationary, pencil cases and other basics can be found here for next to nothing, and will last a surprisingly long time! Many pound shops stock branded products, so you can still buy quality. Other shops with great prices are Wilkinson’s and the supermarkets. Supermarkets are ideal for bulk buying school uniform and getting bargain gears. Plus although they are cheap, they are built to be hard wearing. Make the most of it and you’ll have budget left over for a well-deserved drink at the end of the day!
- Resist the nagging and reward them elsewhere
Kids are a marketers dream. They see something, they want it! Your job is to resist the nagging and stay on course to buy only what is on that list, no matter how annoying they are being. One way around this is with rewards. I.e explain to them that the money you save by not buying that impulse buy can be put towards a lunch of their choice later, or something they have actually wanted for ages. If you’re feeling stronger, just put your foot down, get what you need and March home.
- Host a back-to-school swap event
Other mums with younger / older children are your friends! Organise a swap event with them so you can trade clothes that don’t fit anymore. Pile on the tea and cakes and you’ll have yourself a social event that will actually save you a bundle of money!
- Make things un-losable
Once you’ve spent your budget and got them everything they need, it’s time to make sure their stuff is staying put! It might take a while, but those little cotton name tags? They are your best friend! Sew them into everything, even socks if you like! It’s a fool proof way to ensure no other child takes home the wrong jumper or PE kit by accident. Another great thing to do it buy BRIGHT things. When you’re out looking for new pencil cases, get something a little bit unique so it stands out when it is time to pack up and go home.
- Browse second hand
Another great way to shop is utilise charity stores. They may actually be full of exactly what you are looking for, plus you’ll be doing your bit for charity and giving back! Notebooks, pens, pencils and school uniform can be bought here for bargain prices. If you’re taking the kids, turn it into a little game of who can find the most stuff which they need in a charity shop! It will keep them entertained and they do half the job for you.