14 January 2015

6 Tips to Save on Back-to-School Supplies

Pencils, pads, pens, and notebooks mean it's that time again! All parents know that back-to-school shopping can add up quickly. However, there are things you can do to minimize the cost. This school year, save yourself some money with the following tips.

1. Shop at home first. 

You most likely already have several things at home that can be used or re-used. Look in your office for pencils, pens, unused notebooks, notebook paper, folders and more. Remember to check your child's book bag, crayons, lunch box, and anything else that comes to mind.  

2. Stick to the list. 

Any item not on the list provided by your child's school probably isn't needed. Although kids may beg for extra supplies, make a rule that if something isn't on the list, you won't buy it. They can have fun picking out the items that are actually needed.

3. Consider the source. 

Many parents immediately think of large super-stores as the best source of school supplies. Remember to consider the offerings of discount stores, newsagents and even grocery stores.

4. Watch for the sales. 

As the calendar closes in on the beginning of the school year, keep your eyes open. As soon as Christmas is over, the back-to-school sales abound, and the smart shopper will be on the lookout for the best deals. Often one store will have notebooks on sale for one cent, while another will have a great sale on pencils.

5. Team up with another parent. 

By joining forces with another parent, you have the opportunity to purchase items in bulk at reduced prices. Then divide up the supplies and the savings.

6. Check your eligibility for the SchoolKids Bonus. 

The Education Tax Refund was replaced by the SchoolKids Bonus. This is an amount of money ($205 per primary school child, $410 per secondary school child) paid directly to parents in January and again in July to help with the costs of educating your children.  It is being phased out but you may still qualify, from 1st January this year (2015) an income test applies. The last payment will be made in July 2016. 

Back-to-school time is exciting for everyone, but for parents it can also be a financially stressful time of the year. But school starting doesn't have to break the bank. Get your book and stationery list, stick to it, and focus on saving money by following these tips. This school year might just cost you less than any other.

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