Beat the rush, get ready for school today

While you may be focusing on getting your kids through their end of year exams and planning that December break, now is the perfect time to start stocking up on next year’s school supplies. Moneybags journalist Jessica Anne Wood looks at how you can prepare now for the new school year.

1Life notes that the cost of school textbooks and materials is rising yearly, to make managing these expenses a bit easier, don’t wait for January to join the hordes of other parents rushing to get school supplies, starting planning and purchasing what you child will need now.

Here are 6 tips to help make the beginning of school next year a less stressful affair:

  1. Make a list of what your child needs now: If your child is already enrolled at a school for next year, you probably already have the stationery and textbook list of what is required. If not, you will most likely get it before school closes at the end of the year. Once you have the list, starting looking around at what you child needs and compare prices at the different suppliers. The lever arch file your child needs may be cheaper at one store, but the plastic sleeves to go in it are cheaper at another store.


  1. Buy second hand: While this may not always be possible, to save money purchase second-hand textbooks and school uniforms. 1Life notes: “If your child has expressed an interest in a certain sport, avoid buying all the top line equipment, rather go second hand or less expensive initially so that if he or she loses interest, you won’t be too badly out of pocket.”


  1. Reuse old stationary: Every year schools send home a stationary list of what your child will need the next year. However, often many of the stationary items from the previous year are still in perfectly good condition, such as pencil cases, coloured pencils.


For example, if the files from this year are still in good condition, remove the school work that is in them and reuse the files. One way to revive an old file is to cover it in wrapping paper. If your child wants to be creative, use brown paper and allow them to decorate it themselves.


  1. Keep spares at home: To prevent the need for having to rush out and get something that your child forgot they needed or didn’t tell you they needed a new one, such as a pen, keep spare stationary at home for any emergency.


  1. Buy at the beginning of the year what you need for next year: This may sound odd, but after the initial mad rush to purchase school supplies, many stores often have sales on the left over, excess stock that they have. Also keep in mind that with inflation, the same stationary may be more expensive next year. When you see something that your child will need in school, such as workbooks and pens, purchase them during the year when you see them on special and put them away for when they will be needed.


  1. Be more money savvy: 1Life highlights that while you may feel the urge to splurge during the festive season, it is important to keep in mind your child’s schooling.

“Spend within your means and always make provision for extra things that pop up during the school year – school trips, cake and candy sales, Valentine’s Day celebrations, civvies days etc. It is also a good idea to put any additional money such as bonuses, or even part of your December salary away before the festive season gets into full swing – to make sure you have the money you need when the school run starts,” said 1Life.