Back to School Tips for Money Conscious Parents

Back-to-school time in September can be a costly affair for any family. In the current economic climate we realise families are extremely budget conscious when purchasing back-to-school items such as books and uniforms. With this in mind we have some money saving tips for parents to cut down on annual expenses.

Wary consumers will undoubtedly look for discounts anywhere they can find them. Using voucher codes allows for discounted access to a whole range of school products. Check VoucherPages.ie for the largest choice of discounts.

One of the biggest expenses will certainly be the school uniform. Mums and dads must provide their children with full school uniforms, everything from jumpers, trousers, shirts, coats, ties and shoes for boys to cardigans, skirts, blouses and blazers for girls. In certain schools a second-hand uniform sale is held during the summer, which is an excellent way to pick up low price uniforms. This can be a great way to save money even if you can only pick up certain items of clothing. Shopping around for generic items like grey skirts or trousers is an efficient way to get parts of the kids’ uniform and get value for money. If the official school jumpers have crests then this can be a budget way to complete the uniform. Uniforms over the course of the school year will inevitably suffer some wear and tear but hand-me-downs can be worth a look for. Ask relatives or neighbours if they have any second hand uniforms that may be useful. If parents must buy new uniforms then know that a perfect fit is not always the perfect fit. Buy uniforms and shoes one size too big so that the kids can grow into them as opposed to buying a completely new uniform. The same ideas can be applied to P.E tracksuits. Ensure to label all of the children’s clothing so that they don’t simply lose them in the first week and require a costly replacement.

Similarly you can reduce expenses by buying second hand books. Pick up whatever you can second hand and ensure with all new school books that they are kept in good condition by adding protective covering and not writing on them, so they can be sold at the end of the year. This can be a great way to generate a little bit of bonus revenue. Some book stores will be offering early discounts on back-to-school books so it is important to try and get the books as early as possible. Watch out for back-to-school promotions and sales.

For generic stationary and art supplies it is important to buy in bulk and avail of discounts. These items will always be used so do not be afraid to purchase a good deal instead of one-by-one.

Keep the children healthy with fresh packed lunches. This is not hard to achieve through a little bit of organisation. A big shop at the start of the week can sort all the sandwiches, juice boxes and treats that the children will need for the whole week. This also enables you to control the kids’ diets and not give them too many sweets.

In terms of travel expenses it completely depends on individual situations. Avail of free bus service if it is available or walk if the distance is short enough. Alternatively you can organise with fellow parents to carpool in order to save on time and fuel expenses. Buy bus, train or DART child tickets. Monthly and annual tickets can be the cheapest option. Cycling is another great option and it will keep the children fit and healthy. Remember to wear a helmet and bring lights in the Winter time.

It is crucial to reward children for good behaviour in school whether for doing their homework, proper conduct in class or even good grades. A very effective method is devising a points system where children earn points for good behaviour. This encourages good behaviour and inspires the kids to do well but also allows the opportunity for points to be taken away when they are bold. When the child reaches so many predetermined points they receive a treat. You can reward your kid with anything from a colouring book to a computer game so long as good behaviour is reinforced.

After-school activities are also important for a child’s development, health and making friends. Encourage your kids to engage in sports. Get them involved in soccer, GAA, camogie, dancing and rugby. Unfortunately there will also be certain expenses associated with these sporting activities but they are nothing when compared with the long term effects of an unhealthy lifestyle! Whether they need sports gear, boots, balls or jerseys find them at discount prices on VoucherPages.ie

A little bit of organisation goes a long way. Be aware of your budget all the time and realise that there will be once-off expenses like school trips that are inevitable. Having organisation and sense is the only way to prepare for these kinds of things if you are not given an official calendar.

Get the free money saving guide, Spend Time Spending Less, at http://www.voucherpages.ie/save-money-online.

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