• Personal Finance Basics

First of all, empty your kid’s lunch boxes right now. You don't want to get to January and realise that a lunchbox full of food has been left in the bags for two months.


The school year has just ended but we will be back to school in no time. Back to school expenses can put a huge strain on budgets, especially as we just recovering from the Christmas spend. If you are really struggling there are options for assistance.


Start with a check of everything you need: uniforms and shoes, lunch boxes, textbooks, stationary, and school bags. Check your supplies from last year; what is still good? Can you patch it up to get another 6 months out of it?




There are limited ways to save money on uniforms. It basically comes down to extending their life or buying second-hand uniforms.


  • Put labels on everything with a name AND phone number to increase your chances of getting things back if they are lost.
  • Get them to remove their uniforms as soon as they get home. Make sure you treat any stain right away.
  • Facebook groups are a great place to find second-hand uniforms. Quite often there are groups specific to your school.
  • You'll need fewer uniforms if you are prepared to wash more.


Shop with a List


Schools generally issue a stationary/uniform list. Buy just what's on the list and no more. Start checking online for discount stationery suppliers. Check Amazon and Officeworks. A lot of stores have back-to-school sales so check those out.


Whether or not you buy name brand or generic I think depends on how frequently your child loses/breaks things.


School Resources Schemes


My children's school runs a school resources scheme where you can buy the whole booklist for a specific fee. Many schools run these. They tend to be very competitively priced. In fact, I don't think I could save any money doing it myself as the school is able to buy in such vast quantities, they can get a substantial discount.




If you do want to get your child some fancy stationary, you might be able to kill two birds with one stone and get some of it as a Christmas present.




Textbooks can be fiendishly expensive. Thankfully, a lot of schools run textbook rental programs, where you can pay a fee to use it for a year.


Alternatively, you can buy them second-hand. Nine times out of ten you can use the textbook from the previous year. Facebook, Gumtree, Ebay and Amazon are great sources for these.


Help with Expenses


Many states offer assistance programs for back-to-school expenses. If you are experiencing difficulty affording back to school expenses, please check out the following link in your state.

Saver Plus


For the following year, if you have a Health Care Card and are working, you are eligible for the ‘Saver Plus’ program.


If you save $500 over the course of a year toward an expense (for example back to school expenses) the Brotherhood of St. Laurence will match it, giving you $1000.



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