Back to school budgeting

During this time of the year most of our budgets are understandably depleted, with schools going back in two weeks, we should be mindful of back-to-school expenses that are around the corner.

This also affords a great opportunity to chat with your kids about the costs associated with their schooling needs. Involving your children not only helps them understand how much time and effort you put into shopping for them, but it sets them up with good budgeting habits for the future and hopefully, an appreciation for their stationery and uniforms!

Using a whiteboard will provide a more fun and visual way to get your children interested. It also allows for things to easily be added and removed. Write the overall back-to-school budget amount at the top of the board and then create two columns, one for needs and the other for wants.

Check your child’s stationery and book list to see if items can be re-used from the current school year or whether items can be used from older siblings who no longer require them. (The same applies to school uniforms.)

You and the kids can research together and compare prices online and in the malls to determine how much the items they need or want would cost, sourcing the best possible deals. If your child would rather have a Marvel superhero space case instead of an unbranded alternative, they will have to make up for it in the budget.

When it comes to school uniforms visit the school second-hand shop to see if they can assist with any of your uniform requirements. They usually charge a fraction of the price you would pay in clothing outlets and often their stock is almost as good as new.

Underestimating the cost of books, stationery, uniforms and transport is a common occurrence in many households. It is advisable to think “how much can I afford?” as opposed to “how much will it cost?”. It’s always advisable shop early and avoid panic-shopping at the last minute and spending more money than you can afford.

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