Skip to main content Accessibility Statement
How can you handle the back-to-school costs and teach your children a valuable lesson about money.

How to handle back-to-school costs

It feels like the summer holidays have barely started, but it’s already nearly time to pack the children back off to school.

Parents across the country will be rushing to the shops to buy uniforms, bags and stationery for the new school year.

Covering back-to-school costs can put a strain on family finances. So, our money expert Andy Webb sat down with children and young people expert Kirsty Bowman-Vaughan to look at how to cope with these costs and how you can turn them into an opportunity to teach your children a very important lesson.

1. Start budgeting

There are a lot of things you have to think about when the kids are heading back to school. Bags, stationery, pencil cases, not to mention uniforms, sports kit and shoes.

All of this can really add up, so it’s important you start budgeting as early as possible to avoid a serious financial shock the month before school goes back.

Start by putting some money aside every month to cover the costs and always be on the lookout for special offers, rather than just waiting for the back-to-school rush.

2. Cut costs

Even if you budget throughout the year, it’s still worth looking for ways to cut the costs of getting the kids back to school.

Children can grow very quickly, particularly over the summer. So, it’s important you think about what’s going to fit them, not just for the next few months, but for the whole school year.

Buy uniform and shoes a size larger than needed, so your children will get extra wear out of them.

If you have older children at the same school, make sure you keep hold of any uniform they grow out of. This can be handed on to the younger kids.

Many schools and local organisations organise second-hand sales, and it is worth having a look to see if you can pick up a few bargains.

3. Introducing your kids to money

Getting the kids back to school is not just about buying them all the kit they need, it can also be a chance to teach them a valuable life lesson about money.

Money Advice Service research found, while most parents talk to their children about money between the ages of eight and 15, kids start to develop money habits from the age of four.

So, what can you do to introduce your children to money and how can you use the back-to-school shop to encourage good habits?

Even at a pre-school age, allowing children to handle money can have a positive impact, while speaking to them honestly about money means they’re in a better position come their teenage years, when they’ll have to start managing money on their own.

With back-to-school costs, why not hand over some financial responsibility to your children? Give them some money and tell them they need to go and buy their own stationery and any money they have left over, they get to keep. This is a great way of creating the next generation of bargain hunters. 

What do you think?

We really want you to share your views, but please remember to be nice ☺
All fields are required. Check out our full commenting guidelines

By clicking on 'Post Comment', you're agreeing to our Commenting Policy