Some people love shopping for school supplies, and for others it is a real drag. We have put together some tips and tricks on back to school shopping and buying school supplies

1. Does your school provide a school supplies list?

Check if your school provides a list and is it a suggested list or a compulsory list. Is it compulsory to purchase the book packs provided by the school or can you can purchase you own. You may wish to see if you can purchase the items in the pack yourself which may work out cheaper. Personally, with the busyness of life and other commitments, I prefer to just buy the book pack from the school if they provide one. It can be a lot more convenient and when I did a comparison of prices from a public school, the book pack from the school was actually cheaper. Obviously all school vary in prices and requirements.

2. Check what you already have at home

Before heading to the shops or buying online, check for supplies you already have. Check pencil cases to make sure they are still working fine. Find stationery that is still good and throw out the old, unusable stuff. Check school shoes to see if you can get another term out of them. Try on school uniforms and list ones that don’t fit on your school’s uniform buy/swap/sell Facebook group and then see if you can get what you need on there second hand before buying new.

3. Make a list

Buying school supplies can be an exciting time which can lead to the tendency to overbuy and buy things that your child doesn’t really need. Stick to a list and only buy what you need.

4. Take advantage of buy one, get one 50% off school shoes

Many shoe shops offer buy one, get one 50% off for school shoes in January, so take advantage of this offer. This is also one of my favourite tips for those of you who only need to buy one pair of shoes. Go shopping with another friend that only has to buy one pair of shoes and pay only 75% each for school shoes.

5. Look out for clearance items throughout the year

6. Shop with another parent

Divide and conquer the school supplies list by shopping with another parent. Sometimes teachers and schools request a certain number of items such as 16 pencils when pencils may come in a pack of 18 or 24. You can go in together to purchase what you need.

7. Look out for sale days at school supply shops and uniform shops

Lowes often have specific sale days that can save you a heap of money and you can get lots of clothing that doesn’t need the school emblem at Big W, Target, Kmart and Best & Less.

8. Set reminders in calendar or an alert on your phone for expensive items

Some of the tech stuff that’s needed for school can be costly, so try not to pay full price. Watch out for special deals and sales on the more expensive items like laptops and calculators. Set a reminder in your calendar or alert on your phone when things come on sale and compare with online prices.

9. Use the uniform shop at your school for second hand uniforms

Kids grow fast and second hand uniforms are usually still in great condition.

10. Stick to a list and say no

To save money, tell the kids before you go shopping that you are only buying what is on the school list and no extras. Saying no is sometimes not easy and back to school shopping can be fun. Consider going school supplies shopping alone if this is an issue.

11. Try to stay away from novelty licensed and brand name items

The markup on these products can be huge. Although I have to admit, I find this one tricky sometimes. For example some of the surf branded school bags are great quality and last ages.

12. Follow stores on social media

Many businesses will offer coupon codes and deals to loyal followers and advertise when sales are happening. On our School Mums Corner directory, businesses usually offer our School Mums a special offer or coupon code.

13. Label everything

The first rule of kids’ school stuff is to label everything from the uniforms to the glue and pencils. If it’s not labelled they will lose it. Every time. Well they still might lose it but if it’s labelled then at least you will have some hope of finding it. There are a number of businesses that sell really cute personalised labels, otherwise a label maker is very handy to have as well.

14. Bulk cook

If you are packing a lot of lunches, the best thing you can do is some bulk cooking. You can make sandwiches and freeze them, bulk cook things like muffins, scrolls, biscuits and slices and freeze them all for the term. You can also bulk make your crunch and sip in separate containers in the fridge every weekend, so you can just grab and go.

15. Kids can do chores for their school supplies

Is there something that the kids REALLY want to buy or an expensive back to school item? Get them to work for it.Assign them chores to do or jobs to do for friends and family to earn the money needed for these items.

16. Use buying school supplies a learning opportunity

Back to school shopping is a great opportunity to teach kids a valuable lesson in spending and sticking to a budget.


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