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Back to school: tips to cut the cost

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Parents will breathe a collective sigh of relief when the summer break comes to end next week, but their wallets will still feel the pressure thanks to lofty back-to-school costs.

Research from American Express shows heading back to school will cost the average two child household £332 – that’s the equivalent of six weeks’ worth of food shopping for a British family.

Uniform and PE kit make up the bulk of the cost, setting parents back £244 on average. They will also shell out around £23 on new technology and £22 on stationery.

To help parents get their children set for September, while keeping a handle on the family budget, American Express has selected some top tips to save money and earn rewards:

  1. Check what you already have-make a list of every school-related item you already have to avoid unnecessary spending. Also check with other parents and the school to work out what you actually need. You can always top up supplies a few weeks into term.
  2. Set limits –if your children are after lots of new items, back-to-school shopping is a great opportunity to teach them the value of money. Plan the shop together, have a set budget for each child, let them find good deals and perhaps allow them one ‘luxury item’.
  3. Defer non-essential purchases – if there’s an item on the shopping list that isn’t actually needed for the return to school, consider deferring the purchase to a birthday or to Christmas.
  4. Use your points – check how many rewards points you have on your credit, charge or store card. You may have enough to get some back to school items for free simply by redeeming your points.
  5. Buy simple and jazz it up – plain supplies are often much cheaper and your children can add their own personal touches with stickers and colourful embellishments. Not only will this save money, but will make a great summer holiday activity to get children excited about returning to school.
  6. Buy in bulk– items such as stationery are always much cheaper when bought it large quantities. If you don’t think your kids will need 100 pencils, talk to your friends, pool your money together, bulk buy supplies, and then divide them equally.
  7. Earn rewards and cashback on your spending – Whether its trainers or a tablet, make your money work harder for you by using a card that earns cashback or rewards which can be put towards some well-earned rewards for the whole family to enjoy as the summer fun draws to a close.