Beat the Back to School rush with these tips
It's that time of the year.
Schools are either out for the long July/August vacation or winding down.
The opening of the new school year might be far away for children but for parents and guardians it is ever-present.
A new school year means buying new books, bags, uniforms, stationery, shoes...the list goes on.
It means battling traffic, long lines, making frequent trips to several stores in such of that elusive textbook and, of course, spending money.
But it doesn't have to be this way. You can beat the back to school rush and emerge from the holidays happy, calm and stress-free if you follow these tips culled from the wisdom of those who've figured out the magic formulae.
1) Start early. Purchasing books as soon as book lists are distributed will ensure you avoid the packed stores and also improve your chances of getting all the books at low prices.
2) Save in advance. It may be too late to employ this strategy for this year but if you haven't done so already, next year make sure to set aside savings each month for your back to school expenses. That will certainly put less pressure on your pocket when this time of year rolls around.
3) Shop around. If you start early and have the time, shop around to see where has the best prices.
4) Buy second hand. Save some pennies with by purchasing second-hand books. Some schools sell second-hand books or you might be able to buy them from a streetside vendor. Just ensure they are the correct edition required and in a pretty good state to survive another year of use.
5) Invest in sturdy items. That school bag you are eyeing might look pricey but if it is sturdy and looks like it will serve your child for a few years then it will be a worthy investment. Same for lunch kits and sports gear.
6) Save some purchases for last. When it comes to shoes, you can either buy them a size up early or wait until the very end of the holidays to purchase a pair. Children grow like weeds over the holidays so you want their shoes and uniforms to fit.
7) Look for local swap meets. If you can't afford a particular item or can't find it, look for groups that do swap meets in your community. There are groups on Facebook that do it from time to time as well as sites that allow people to exchange items.
8) Buy online. Let's face it, some things are just cheaper when you purchase them online especially in bulk. Socks, underwear, T-shirts and stationery can all be bought online in bulk for way less than you would probably get them at a local store.
9) Talk to other people. Join a parenting group on social media or talk to friends with children to get tips on where to get the best items, find out where has the best prices and ideas on beating the back to school rush.
10) Enlist your children. With everything that you are doing, get your children to assist with all the running around. After all, this is all for them. At the end, organise a little party with your kids to sort all the items and paper the books.