We caught up with some of the UK’s leading parenting bloggers to pick their brains about some great money-saving ideas for starting a new term at school with some serious savings.
WHO’S THE MUMMY
Sally Whittle @swhittle is a leading parenting blogger, founder of the Tots100 network of parent blogs and the MAD Blog Awards, and author of Who’s The Mummy that recounts her experiences with her daughter, Flea, and their life in Lancashire. Her Top Five Money Saving Tips are:
- Buy blazers two sizes up and tuck the sleeves up to get several years wear out of them.
- When your child starts a new school, only buy one or two sets of uniform for the whole term, then stock up at the Christmas fair on second hand items.
- Buy winter coats two sizes up in the summer sales, and keep them in the loft until the winter!
- Rather than buying costly juice cartons for lunch, buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up each day.
- Instead of sending kids to school with boxes of raisins and snacks, I buy small plastic pots and fill them daily from a big box of cereal, mixed with some dry fruit.
Susanna Scott @britmums founder of the BritMums blog, one of the UK’s largest parent blogger networks, which is made up of friendly and supportive group of parent bloggers covering a wide range of topics. Susanna give us her Top Five Money Saving Tips for parents:
- Do you really need to buy everything new? Can you recycle shoes with a little polish? Pass down a pinny?
- Shop around for the best deals, many retailers put school items on sale for this time of year, take advantage and buy extras for later in the year when you need them!
- Label EVERYTHING, that way when lost it may actually make its was back to you!
- Remember to buy slightly larger (but not too big) so you child won’t outgrow in one term.
- Use this opportunity to teach your children about the value of money.
THE DIARY OF A FRUGAL FAMILY
Cass Bailey @frugalfamily writes the blog, The Diary of a Frugal Family, which is packed with ideas on how to survive the credit crunch and live a more frugal family lifestyle. Cass’s Top Five Money Saving Tips are:
- Don’t think you have to buy a whole new uniform. Unless your child had a growth spurt over the holidays, they’ll still be able to wear most of the uniform from last term. Apart from the white polo shirts that my two wear and one pair of my son’s trousers, everything else is still in good condition and will be fine to do another few months at least, which means I can take advantage of the price cuts that happen just after the kids have gone back to school. Anything that does need replacing can be done easily and cheaply using one of the big supermarkets who are all offering school uniforms for increasingly low prices as they compete with each other for our business.
- Label everything. That way anything that gets lost can be easily returned to your child which means you won’t end up replacing it.
- I always buy large packs of school socks. Last year we got a pack of 10 pairs of the exactly the same socks for each child – that way when the sock monster inevitably eats one of your socks, you don’t have to get rid of the other one. We started out the year with 20 school socks each and have ended the year with about 6.
- Packed lunches – get into the habit of baking things for your children’s packed lunches. This is much cheaper than shop bought snacks and you know exactly what’s going into them. I usually make a batch of fairy cakes or muffins on a Sunday and freeze them so I just have to take one each out the night before to add to the packed lunches. I also make home made sausage rolls and cheese straws and freeze them.
- Once the kids have gone back to school, the shops usually reduce their remaining stock by massive amounts to clear it ready to start stocking the Halloween/Christmas things so it’s worth keeping an eye out and stocking up when the prices are low – you can even buy uniforms in the next size up if you don’t need anything at the time. Also, look out for reduced priced school supplies like pens, notepads and crayons as they make excellent cheap stocking fillers for Christmas or even to add to party bags.
If you’re looking for more ‘back to school’ money-saving tips, why not head over to our family forum, and join in with other parents and carers chatting about a wide variety of parental subjects.