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Back to school: Simple tips to save and get more bang for your buck

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Back-to-school costs are daunting for parents but savings can be made. Photo: Stock image

Back-to-school costs are daunting for parents but savings can be made. Photo: Stock image

Back-to-school costs are daunting for parents but savings can be made. Photo: Stock image

Everywhere we look we are bombarded by adverts and announcements about the back-to-school season and how we can get more bang for our buck.

Parents are being inundated with information about everything from cheap uniforms to all those “must-have” school accessories, but all the while they are creaking under the burden of Ireland’s crippling cost-of-living crisis.

Despite inflation and rising prices, however, there are still ways to save money on looming back-to-school costs.

Cheap is cheerful

Generic uniforms have had a very welcome place in the back-to-school market for so many parents since they arrived to the Irish market around a decade ago.

While the initial reaction was to question the sturdiness or shelf life of a product that undoubtedly pushed the notion of wear and tear to its limits in and around the playground, generic uniforms have stood the test of time and are now a firm favourite with many parents.

While the rush on uniform staples such as jumpers, skirts and trousers is well underway, keep in mind that 3-for-2 offers and other promotional buys on polo shirts, T-shirts, socks, and shoes are always included in year-round sales.

Keep it handy

Some schools will recommend their own supplier of school jumpers carrying its crest.

However, where this rule is flexible, always opt to buy an “iron-on” or “sew-on” crest on a generic jumper.

The savings can be significant.

A crest can be bought from as little as €3 in some schools and when added to a generic jumper, can save up to €25 on one bought from the school.

Many schools are setting up second-hand swap shops where parents can buy perfectly good used uniforms from older children which cost a fraction of a new uniform.

This is something that should be suggested to a board of management if not already in place.

Buy in bulk

School accessories can be a costly item in the run-up to a new school term, but prices are likely to be cheaper at other times of the year, when there is not such a rush on them.

Part of saving money on school costs is steeped in the idea of planning ahead, so when you see those essential items on sale, buy what you can and keep them for times like this when a fresh supply will be necessary.

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Choose good second-hand books where you can – or even try and get other parents to push for a rental scheme in the school, so books can be swapped and passed down to children as they are needed.

Some schools operate a lending or exchange scheme, which is something that should be encouraged to help ease the burden of costs.

But there is a growing movement on social media and second-hand sales sites where used textbooks can be bought and sold or swapped.

If the school stipulates you do need to buy a new version of a textbook, be sure to shop around. Online and bookstores will often offer discounts.


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