The Real Cost of Living: Back to School
17 Aug 2015 | COMMENTS: 0 | Author: Ryan Smith | The Real Cost of Living
As the end of the school summer holidays approaches, I’m sure you haven’t been able to get away from all of the Back to School offers in the supermarkets, alongside their accompanying adverts on the television. But before you get overwhelmed by jumper offers and school polo shirt sales, it’s worth taking into consideration just how much the Back to School buying spree could actually set you back by.
According to a new study by Brighthouse, around 43% of respondents spent over £50 purely on school uniforms.
As I’m sure you can imagine, kids going to college were the ones that ended up costing parents the most, with primary school children costing the least at less than £20 per child.
In fact, the average cost of sending a primary school age child back to school following the summer holidays was just £140. This increases to £250 when they’re heading back to a secondary school, and a whopping £325 per child if they’re going to college.
But stationary, sports kits and unscuffed shoes aren’t the only things parents are having to shell out for as the new school year approaches: 38% of parents surveyed by Brighthouse said they purchased new technology for their kids’ new school year. That’s smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. Just how necessary are these bits of kit for kids’ studies – particularly if they’ve not yet reached college.
Slummy Single Mummy
Jo is a mum of two from Somerset; she runs the blog ‘Slummy Single Mummy’, and was kind enough to offer us her personal tips for saving money as the Back to School rush approaches:
“My top tips for back to school budgeting, although I am rubbish at listening to my own advice, would be to not leave everything to the last minute!
“Obviously kids grow quickly, but there are plenty of things you can stock up on when they are on offer throughout the year, even if it’s just pants and socks, t-shirts of school supplies.
“Alternatively, use one of the supermarket saving schemes or just put aside a couple of pounds every week through the year, so it doesn’t come as a bit expense when September comes around.
“You could try contacting your school and seeing if they offer a second hand uniform shop or a swap system and if they don’t, why not set them up? Some uniform gets worn out quickly, but others bits don’t get used as much and are perfectly serviceable – you’re sure to find plenty of parents keen on the idea of recycling old uniform.”
Who’s The Mummy?
We also spoke with Sally Whittle, who runs the blog ‘Who’s The Mummy?’ with her daughter Flea (a nickname of course – she’s not that cruel!).
Sally provided the following words of advice:
“Assuming you’re like me, and missed the opportunity to snap up cheap shoes and coats in last year’s end of winter sales, my personal top tip for keeping costs down at this time of year is: discover your inner seamstress.
“There’s a reason our Mums were so good at letting down seams – clothes are expensive and kids mostly grow outwards; I always let down Flea’s blazer sleeves, for example, and can easily get another 6 months’ wear out of them that way. Even if you have to pay a local shop to do the adjustments for you, it’s a sight cheaper than buying new.
“Second, don’t assume that you need to buy everything from the ‘official’ school store: while I have to buy certain things there, a pair of socks and a white shirt are the same no matter where I buy them, so I’ll go to chain stores for those items.
“When buying stationery, give the local “back to school” shelves a miss, while you’re at it. I think retailers bump up those prices to exploit panicking parents like me – I buy Flea’s back to school supplies at the local office supplies superstore – way cheaper, and who’s going to know the difference?”
The Back to School rush has no doubt already started in your home, so hopefully you’ve started making plans to get all stocked up and ready for September. Let’s hope these tips help you to keep your stress, as well as your spending levels as low as possible.