CAP Monthly Advice Column - September 21
By Christians Against Poverty on 07/09/2021
Manager of the Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre,
Save on back-to-school supplies
It seems as if the children are only just out of school when adverts start popping up for back-to-school supplies. Whether it’s uniform, stationery or new lunch bags and water bottles, these tips will help you shop savvy to save pounds while getting everything you need for the kids.
Look at what you’ve got already
The kids were in and out of school so much over the last year, so what you’ve already got might still be in good nick. If uniforms fit and there’s stationery in the kids’ pencil cases, then don't feel under pressure to spend on new stuff just because it’s that time of year. Get the kids involved too – teach them savvy shopping and saving skills to set them up for success in the future.
If your kids have outgrown their uniform and it’s still in good condition, consider organising a uniform swap-shop. You can bet that lots of other parents will thank you for it. Maybe there’s already something set up in your area – do a quick online search to see what uniform swap-shops may be available for your kids’ schools. This is also a great way to get cheaper uniform if your child is moving schools this year.
Remember to check what support you may be eligible for from the council if you’re on certain benefits via gov.uk/help-school-clothing-costs.
Make a list
Make a list of anything else you might need to get. Whatever needs updating, it’s always a good idea to write it all down in advance. That way you’re less likely to forget something or be caught out by impulse buys.
Schools often provide new starters with a list of what’s needed, but try to get in touch with other parents before shelling out cash for every item. There may be some things on the list that are nice-to-haves but aren't essential.
Ways to save on stationery
Why spend pounds on notebooks, pens and pencil cases when you could spend pennies? Often high street stationery stores can be costly and you end up paying for brands or fancy designs, so don’t be drawn in. Budget stores often offer a wide range of back-to-school equipment at lower prices. Also, shopping online is a great way to avoid the ‘I want this and can I have this?’ conversations with the kids.
Budgeting for school dinners
If you’re worrying about how to pay for school dinners for your children, consider packed lunches. There are some great healthy recipes that you could use and if you plan ahead it could be a cheaper alternative. Check out nhs.uk/change4life/recipes/healthier-lunchboxes. You may be eligible for free school meals if you’re on certain benefits – you can find out and apply through your local council.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity with over 580 services across the country delivering debt counselling, money management education, job clubs, life skills groups and more. Visit capuk.org to find out more.