Cut the cost and stress of back-to-school supplies

Mia Steiber 18 January 2017

back to school kid - in text

Finance expert Canna Campbell reveals how you can save on supplies this year.

Research conducted by Officeworks has shown that money and affordability is a parenting pressure point during the weeks leading up to back to school.

In fact, two-thirds of parents find purchasing school supplies to be the most stressful aspect of the back to school period.

It's undoubtedly a stressful and expensive time of year for parents, with many admitting to avoiding dining out or spending on entertainment and sourcing hand-me-downs and used products to manage the expense of school supplies.

But Australians are savvy shoppers and are adept at bargain hunting, with three-quarters of parents shopping around and visiting multiple stores including online stores to source all the things their kids need for the best price.

Officeworks' finance expert Canna Campbell believes there are a number of ways parents can save and find a bargain when it comes to school supplies this year.

“The research tells us that price is the biggest factor determining where parents’ shop, so things like the Parents Price Promise (PPP) from Officeworks are very helpful for families at this time of year. Basically, if parents find an identical stocked item on a quoted school list at a lower price, Officeworks will beat it by 20%," said Campbell.

In addition, getting organised and starting early can also save parents big bucks.

“Organisation is also key when it comes to saving money at back to school time – by starting shopping earlier, parents have more opportunity to shop around for the best products rather than doing a last minute scramble,” she said.

For any parents who need a few extra savings tip, Canna Campbell has some key budget-friendly back to school tips that can help parents stretch their dollars further. Scroll down to read her advice.

8 budget friendly back to school tips

1. Make a list

Having a shopping list will not only help you stay organised and prepared, it will also keep you focused so that you only buy what you need instead the newest most exciting products. There are plenty of apps you can use to keep your lists ultraorganised – jump onto the app store and find one that suits you.

2. Check what you already own

Go through your home and see what items on your list you already own. This may take a while but it will force you to get organised and will stop you from wasting money by doubling up. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to see what needs to be replaced and you might uncover some hidden gems. Consider what you could get your hands on from family and friends too, hand me downs are a great option to save costs!

3. Shop how you want

These days there are so many different ways to shop – online, click and collect, on the phone or in-store. With retailers like Officeworks, you can choose from any of those for not only back to school, but every other day of the year. Shopping online can save time and makes comparing prices quick and easy. But if you like to get your kids involved and enjoy the experience, then in-store is another great option, where you can get them involved in the process of making lists, checking prices, understanding the difference between needs and wants. They will learn to understand the importance of value and hopefully show greater appreciation and care for what you buy for them

4. Check out Officeworks

Not only does Officeworks have a great range of products at great prices they also have a Parents Price Promise, which means if you find an identical stocked item on a quoted school list at a lower price, Officeworks will beat it by 20%. When comparing school lists, a family of three who shops at Officeworks can save approximately $300 on their back to school shop. Officeworks also has a free School List Service where you can upload your kids’ Back to School list online or drop it off in-store, and they will gather all the products for you and package it up, so all you need to do is swing by your local store and collect it.

5. Focus on quality

If something looks poorly made or won’t survive your kid’s wear and tear regime, simply don’t buy it. Unlike other retailers at back to school, Officeworks offers all of the brands on school booklists, plus some of their own, so you’ll find something that meets your quality and budget requirements.

6. Invest in a labeller

Let’s be honest, kids lose a lot of stuff….all the time. If you can label as many things as possible (within reason) right from the get-go, you are more likely to have these things find their way back home and save you money having to replace them. Particularly important with school tech devices considering the investment made!

7. Go green

Try buying things that are made of recycled or recyclable materials. An easy way to do this is by looking for back to school essentials carrying the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which means products come from well managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. As well as that consider reusable products like sandwich bags, aluminium water bottles, refillable pens and reusable sticker books. Not only will this save you money in the long run, it is so much better for our environment.

8. Start early

It’s very easy to take a laid back approach as summer kicks in and not thinking about supplies until the week before classes start, but organisation is vital when it comes to back to school time. By starting earlier, parents have more opportunity to shop around for the best products rather than doing a last minute scramble and spending more than expected.

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