Tips for choosing and saving on school essentials

September reminds us the summer has drawn to a close, the crispness of autumn in upon us and for many families it’s a time when life gets back to the normal routine, its back to school.

Most parents have spent the best part of the last six weeks finding ways to entertain the kids the final task to get them ready for the new term is buying the classroom school essentials.

Each year most kids like to update their school essentials and the choice is huge, with online and on the high street retailers boasting the latest, on trend options. This can seem like another expense parents simply don’t need, at time when you already have to buy new uniforms and sports kits; and with the effects of the recession still being felt, saving on your back to school essentials is key.

Sticking to a budget

Setting a budget is vital and since teachers often dictate what pupils should bring to the classroom it helps keep your kids desires in check. It’s helpful to write a list of the real essentials before you embark on your shopping trip. It’s always sensible to include a pencil case or tin containing at least one pencil, pen, highlighter, ruler, rubber, pencil sharpener and colouring crayons or pencils. Anything your child(ren) wants outside of this list, agree that they can use their pocket money to purchase, it’s not always easy to say no but this gives you the chance to teach some negotiation and smart money handling skills.

Whilst it may seem time consuming, it’s worth shopping around, looking to new retailers both online and on-the-high-street to find the best savings.

Buying big

Buying in bulk can also workout cost effective if you have more than 1 child in school, online educational resource suppliers usually offer great value buys at this time of year, and the bulk buys should see you through the rest of the year.  Many also offer these on branded names for those who feel under pressure to send their children to school with the right brands.  In fact shopping online, can provide additional cost incentives and removes the hassle of trekking the high street, with kids in tow and can remove any further temptations usually found on the shelves or till points in store.

Whilst it may have once been fashionable to cover your many exercise books in wrapping or wallpaper many secondary school children are advised to work on loose paper and store this in sectioned folders, so you don’t have to buy lots of different subject books. Thankfully these are available in different colours and sizes to suit all budgets; many even fit inside the smallest of school bags.

Choosing wisely

But be careful, choosing the cheapest option isn’t always s the most cost effective long term. Choose a reliable supplier of products that look like they’re going to last, it means you won’t have to buy replacements later in the term or year.

And remember schools also replenish their own classroom stores with paper, paints, pens and more each term so if you’ve forgotten anything you child won’t go without.

Carlo Rossi is a freelance blogger based in London and blogs on Hope Education primary teaching resources covering everything from school essentials to literacy books.

Photo courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rebeca_falc/