Reducing back to school costs
Save on school costs
The cost of sending kids to school can add up quickly. Not only
are there uniforms, bags, shoes, stationery supplies and school
fees to pay, there are also lunches, excursion and transport costs
Here are some ideas to help prepare and save for the school year
Save on school
If a uniform is required for your school, here are some
cost-effective ways to buy school uniforms:
- Buy the essentials - Don't buy a uniform for
every day of the week, instead buy a few full sets and commit to do
the washing more often.
- Spread the costs - Put off buying warmer
clothes until the seasons change.
- Go second-hand - Most school uniform
shops sell very serviceable second hand uniforms at much reduced
prices. Or ask parents with older kids at your school if they
have any second-hand items they can hand on to you.
- Family hand-me-downs - If you have a few kids
at the same school, try to hand down some uniform items to younger
- Label everything - Putting your child's
name on every single uniform item is important as it means it will
be returned to you if they lose it. Make the label as large and
obvious as possible so if it accidentally gets taken home by
another child, the parent will quickly see it's not their
It is a good idea to create a budget and work out your school
expenses. Be sure to include extra costs that might come up during
the year, such as excursions and project supplies. This could be a
good opportunity to teach your kids about
the importance of budgeting.
Create a budget and factor school expenses into your
Save on stationery and
Here are some ways to help cut the costs of school supplies for
- Use what you already have - Search all the
desks and drawers in your home and collect the stationery you
already have, so you'll only need to buy the items you are
- Go early but look for sales items - Start
shopping early for school supplies to avoid the queues and get what
you need, rather than just what's left but also remember that some
retailers put leftover school supplies on clearance. Keep an eye
out for these and stock up.
- Avoid impulse buys - Stick to a list or go
shopping without the kids so you won't be tempted by them to buy
more than you need.
- Don't buy into expensive stuff - Knowing that
they might be lost or trashed, aim for cheap but durable stationery
supplies that will last, rather than brand name items. Shop at
discount stores, supermarkets or bulk stationery stores known for
good prices or price matching.
- Label your child's property - Clearly
label everything your child takes to school - it will save you in
the long run as the items will come back to you fast if they get
- Set a limit - If your kids are older, agree on
a budget with them so they can choose what they get and at the same
time learn a life lesson about budgeting and managing money.
Save on school lunches and
Be prepared each week by planning school lunches. Search
catalogues for good deals on lunch and snack items, and make meals
in bulk if you can.
If your child is catching public transport to school, make sure
you apply for a valid concession card for cheaper fares.
If you live in a remote area and your child cannot get public
transport, your state or territory will provide a scheme to offset
the costs of getting to school. Here are details about different
with school costs
There are quite a few assistance programs to help parents cope
with the extra costs of school.
Saver Plus matched savings
Saver Plus is a program to help
families on low incomes develop savings habits, and could help save
up for larger school costs like fees and excursions. It helps you
reach a saving goal and then matches it dollar for dollar, up to
Some financial assistance is available to families on a low
income. Some are means tested or require parents to hold a
School costs can add up quickly, especially if
you have more than one child. To save money, be prepared, shop
early, and keep an eye out for specials and second-hand items.
Last updated: 30 Oct 2019