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Saving Money On Back To School Expenses

Saving Money on Back to School Expenses

Saving Money on Back to School Expenses

The cost of sending a child back to school can be daunting for parents.

In fact, a recent survey revealed that 72% of parents are stressed by the burden of financial pressure which the new school term brings.   At Vendor Finance, we appreciate that this costly time can place extra strain on the family finances and so, we offer some cost saving tips for the back to school expenses.

Believe it or not, parents have identified the three most costly back to school items as extra-curricular activities, school lunches and school books. So, this would be a good place to begin making savings.

School Books:

With some school books costing up to €40.00 each, a text book rental scheme is a life-saver for cash strapped parents. Check whether your school operates a rental scheme service.   If this is not available, consider buying second hand books in good condition as this can save a lot of money.   Track down the pop-up second hand school book shop in your area. Take the lead from their example and sell any used books which your own child is finished with. If no shop is open in your area, use social media and your school parent’s networks to source pre-loved books at the right price.  Classic novels on the Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate curriculum may be languishing on bookshelves at home, with family or from your local library.


Buy a good lunch box and drink bottle and plan ahead for home-made lunches. This is much more sensible than handing out a few euro each day.  If you feel lazy and unmotivated to the task, just remember that three euro a day spent on shop and canteen lunches, amounts to over five hundred euro a year. This is money which could be well spent elsewhere.  (Perhaps on family treats like the cinema/zoo or even on parental treats like wine and spa treatments?)  With a little inventiveness and advance planning, homemade lunches can suit your child’s personal tastes while suiting your pocket.

Extra-curricular activities:

Everyone wants an all-embracing education for their children. Extra-curricular activities should be encouraged. Team sports, drama and music are as important to learning as reading, writing and arithmetic.  But every extra activity brings an added expense. Research online for the best prices in sporting equipment and musical instruments. Buy second hand if you can. Borrow equipment till you are sure that your child will continue with the new rugby team/orchestra/ archery.  Organise car-pooling with other parents when activities take place outside school hours.

General Savings:

Buy generic items where possible.  Bulk buy stationery. Do your homework and source as much of the school uniform as you can from the cheaper outlets. Let’s face it, grey trousers are just grey trousers. Check the hems to ensure that there is room for adjustments.   Make sure you mark each student’s belongings clearly.  The lost and found cupboard in every school is full of unmarked, unclaimed and expensive items.  Do purchase a good quality school bag as the cheaper options are a false economy and you may end up replacing half way through the term. Pay particular attention to the size of the bag, relative to the size of the child. Ensure that the straps fit well and consider bags on wheels for younger children who have heavy loads.

Car pool with neighbours for the twice daily school run.

The average cost of kitting a child out for the new term of school is estimated to be €1,209.00 per child.  This is a frightening prospect, but with a little common sense, budgeting and forward planning, you can reduce these costs and ease the stress of the back to school expenses.

A back to school clothing and footwear allowance is available for those on social welfare payments. Closing date is the 30th September.  See details here 

Details of 2017 subsidies on child care and crèche/playschool places are available here   

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