Don’t let back to school expenses squeeze your finances
The new school term is looming and with many consumers overspending during the festive season, buying school necessities such as stationery and clothes can be stressful.
“Preparing for the new school year may be daunting for parents who have overspent over the festive season,” says Eunice Sibiya, Head of Consumer Education at FNB.
Don’t automatically buy everything newThe start of a school year doesn’t necessarily mean buying everything brand new. Rather than heading straight to the store, go through all the stationery and school uniforms you still have at home. Take time to go through all the left over items from the last school year such as files that can be recovered and reused, pencils, pens and rulers as well as school bags and last year’s lunch boxes that may just need a good wash.
Once you have gone through your items to see what can be reused, chat to other parents and find out if they have any school items that they don’t need, or would consider swopping items. For uniforms, make use of the school swop shops.
Purchase school supplies smartlyRather than buying school supplies all in one go, consider spacing it out during the year. Not only will it help parents get through the difficult January month, but it can also give parents the opportunity to make use of deals throughout the year.
Online platforms usually have a wide variety of items such as stationary online, where you can choose the most cost effective options. Shopping online also prevents impulse buying as it is easier to stick to a list.
Don’t forget those rewards and vouchersThis is the perfect time to max out any rewards programmes you may subscribe to. Use rewards programmes such as eBucks to purchase discounted vouchers for various retailers. Alternatively, if you have unused gift vouchers lying around, make them work for you by cutting down on your school supply spending.
Plan ahead for the rest of the yearDon’t be short sighted when it comes to the school year and finances. Request the school calendar and start a budget now to avoid last minute costs. Plan for additional spending that is required around a sporting season, school tours and school activity expenses such as a Valentines Ball or Matric dance.
Based on this, decide on an amount that can be set up as a scheduled transfer to your savings account at the beginning of each month. On top of having peace of mind that there are funds available, your money will also grow, thanks to compound interest.
“There is no reason to be caught off-guard when it comes to the expenses that seem small relative big expenses such as school fees. A bit of budgeting and smart savings techniques such as the above can go a long way,” concludes Sibiya.