How not to break the bank during back-to-school shopping

School supplies double border on blackboard.
stationary School supplies double border on blackboard.
Image: 123RF/ ROMOLO TAVANI

Do your homework before heading out to shop for back-to-school items.

This is one of the tips from Sanlam Personal Finance's advice‚ processes and tools head‚ Danelle van Heerde‚ as parents try to save a buck while shopping for uniforms and stationery.

"Buying clothes and stationery at the start of a new school year can make a serious dent in parents’ budgets and put them in a tight spot.

"Because it follows after the festive holidays and the long gap between December and January salaries‚ some parents use credit to finance back-to-school items. If you find yourself in this position‚ make sure you have a plan to repay this debt as quickly as possible‚" Van Heerde said.

Her advice: - Confirm exactly what is needed‚ so that you don’t end up buying unnecessary or incorrect items.

- Create a list‚ stick to it and leave kids at home as tempting sparkling pens are not essential. Buy uniforms slightly bigger than needed so that they last a bit longer but don’t let your child go to school looking ridiculous.

- For school specific items like track suits‚ find out if the school has a second-hand clothes bank. Children grow so quickly you can often find barely-worn items.

- For generic items like white shirts and grey shorts‚ shop around. - Buy good quality school shoes and back-packs‚ as these take a lot of strain.

- You don’t have to start the year with all new stationary – last year’s pencils can still be used.

- Be practical when you shop around – don’t drive 20 km further to save a few rand.

Do your homework and compare prices using store pamphlets and online sites.

- Stationery can be bought in bulk if you join forces with other parents.

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