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Saving On School & Holiday Expenses
●November 13, 2017●9 minute read
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Christmas can be expensive. Parents often wonder about saving on school and holiday expenses around this time of year. Don’t fret – Jacaranda Finance has done the hard work to find you the best ways to save over the holiday period, and on your back-to-school checklist!
Tips for saving on school expenses and school holidays
Theme parks, movies, shopping trips, and the lunch money we give our kids can quickly add up and make for one expensive summer break. Then you throw in a few Christmas presents, the cost of any travel, and food and drink costs. These are obvious costs to consider as a parent when it comes to the holidays.
It doesn’t stop there, folks. Back-to-school expenses mean textbooks, stationery, uniforms and school fees.
“Whose idea was it to have kids?” you may be thinking, but try not to panic. It can be a very stressful time, which is why we’ve put together a few tips for saving on these expenses.
Haven’t had time to save or need a cash injection now? Life happens, and when it does, Jacaranda Finance is here to help. You may consider quick loans from Jacaranda if you need funds urgently.
What expenses should I be saving for?
You don’t know what you don’t know, so make a list of what items and fees you need. Typically, the largest expenses that parents face at the start of each year include:
- School fees and contributions
- Extra-curricular activities
- Transport to and from school (whether it be bus money or petrol costs)
So, while you may gain peace and quiet while the kids are back at school, it comes with a price tag.
Tips for saving on all the expenses going back to school.
These expenses are usually unavoidable. Of course, they don’t have to break the bank completely. Some tips for saving on school expenses include:
- Check what you already have. Search through everything at home and collect all the books and stationery that you already have, this way you’re not buying things you don’t need.
- Only buy the essentials. You don’t need to buy a uniform for every day of the week. Even if it means doing a couple of extras loads of washing. Your child also doesn’t necessarily need every colour of highlighter under the sun or the animal-shaped erasers.
- Spread out the costs. There’s no need to buy all the winter clothes right at the start of the year. It’s unlikely your child will need a jumper when it’s 30 degrees. Put off buying any unnecessary items until they’re needed. This way, you won’t have to fork out bulk money for things that will sit in the cupboard for 6 months. If you need money to buy school supplies and are on Centrelink income, fear not. Jacaranda Finance offers Centrelink recipient loans.
- Buy big clothes. You don’t have to drown your kids in giant clothing. However, it can be quite economical to buy shoes and clothes that are half a size or a size too big. Kids grow ridiculously fast so it won’t be long before they start to outgrow everything. Buying things a little too big will hopefully make them last longer.
- Buy second hand. Second-hand uniforms and second-hand textbooks are a great way to save money. There’s nothing wrong with buying something pre-loved for your kids. If you’ve got a couple of kids, it’s always a good idea to keep the older one’s uniforms to hand down to the youngsters.
- Go shopping without the kids. Children have a special talent in guilting their parents into buying them things they don’t need. Unless it’s vital, they are there, try and do all your grocery and other shopping without them.
- Label EVERYTHING. Literally everything. Hats, backpacks, all uniforms, water bottles, pencil cases, swimmers, textbooks; anything that your kids take to school should be labelled as they tend to lose things. This way there’s a good chance they’ll be returned to you, and you won’t need to pay for replacements.
- Don’t buy branded stationery. It is always the first thing to get torn or stepped on so forget about Smiggle and Typo and just pop into your local supermarket. Books and pens don’t need to be fancy; they just need to get the job done.
- Talk to other parents. When looking for tips for saving on all the expenses, it’s always a good idea to try and get to know other parents with kids at your school. You never know what little tricks other parents might know, and if they have older kids, you may be able to get your kids some hand-me-downs.
These are 9 easy to master tips for saving on school expenses to maximise your back-to-school budget.
Don’t let money stress get in the way of your child’s education or your peace and quiet while they’re out getting that education. If you find yourself in a situation where you need a quick cash injection for when the kids are getting ready to go back to school, consider a loan with Jacaranda Finance. Scroll up and use our online calculator to see what your weekly, fortnightly, or monthly repayments could look like.
Tips for saving on expenses during the year
Once all the initial purchases are made, you’ve then got to keep up with the ongoing costs. These could include transport to and from school, extra-curricular activities and school lunches.
Saving on school lunches can be really easy! All it involves is making tuck-shop an occasional treat or reward for good behaviour and planning your lunches for the week, so you only need to make one trip to the supermarket. Keep an eye on catalogues for good deals on lunch items and make meals in bulk if you can. Again, make sure to use cheap but good quality containers and label everything!
When it comes to the cost of transport to and from school, whether you’re doing the driving or your kids are getting the bus, there can be substantial costs involved.
If your child is catching public transport to school, make sure you apply for a concession card, so they get cheaper fares. Concession cards generally offer half-price rides for children. Some schools even have a dedicated school bus service, so it’s a good idea to contact your school and figure out the best option for your kids.
If you’re doing the school drop-off and pick-up every day here are some tips on how to save on fuel:
- Rewards cards – invest in either a petrol rewards card or a credit card. For example, a Shell Card or Caltex Star Card will offer you great discounts of up to 6 cents per litre. Some credit cards (e.g. American Express) will offer you discounts on fuel and further rewards such as frequent flyer points, cashback from points, and gift cards. These are great because you can save on fuel and get other bonuses for yourself as well.
- Supermarket discount vouchers – Make sure you keep all your receipts as they’ll generally offer you 4-6cents off each litre of petrol.
- Drive smart – this includes:
- Closing the windows on the motorway to prevent “dragging” from the wind
- Remove roof racks when not needed to lighten the weight of the car
- Don’t carry any other unnecessary weight (children are classed as necessary, sorry)
- Accelerate smoothly
- Turn the air-conditioner off when it’s not needed
- Stick to the speed limit (this is also required by law)
- Check your tyre pressure regularly (every fortnight or so)
Implementing these A-grade life hacks won’t necessarily make the daily school drive any less painful, but they will help save a penny or two.
Tips on saving on expenses while travelling with kids
Now that you’ve got all the necessary ‘fixed’ expenses covered, semester break rolls around, and you’re about due for a family holiday. Obviously, this is not a mandatory thing that all parents must do. If, however, you are willing and able, then here are some tips on how to travel cheap with your kids.
- Search for deals – whether you know exactly where you want to go or you want somewhere cheap, keep an eye out for specials on flights, accommodation and package deals so you can save as much as you can.
- Travel off-peak – this can be difficult as school holidays are normally peak times, but the middle of the year can be a cheap time to travel unless you want to go to the snow. Or perhaps if you want to venture overseas, travel to places that are in their offseason.
- Take advantage of last-minute deals – many flight and hotel website offer awesome last-minute specials so make sure you keep an eye out for these so you can add a little value to your trip without those crazy expenses
- Be budget conscious – this includes booking activities in advance, reserving rooms with a kitchen so you don’t always have to eat out, and paying cash when you can so you can keep track of your spending. You should also try to avoid credit card fees, and give your kids their own allowance, so you’re not forking out cash all the time. This will also hopefully get them to think twice about what they spend it on.
While holidays can be fun and relaxing, they can sometimes become quite stressful when you go with your children. If you follow these simple tips, then you should be able to set yourself up for a lovely time away with your family.
What can I do to help my children appreciate money?
Another great way to help yourself save money throughout the school year is to educate your children on the importance of being money conscious. Young children especially can tend to be rather demanding when they want something. This is because they don’t have much of a concept of money and it’s worth. It’s up to you to start teaching your kids about money so they can get a better understanding of how to handle money and spend it wisely.
Make sure they know about what it’s like to work hard for money by giving them tasks to do around the house and pay them for it (e.g. mow the lawn, do the ironing), and teach them about how much things cost so they can develop more of an appreciation for the things you give them. This should hopefully get them off your case a little about buying them the new edition of X-Box every time one comes out.
Do you have bad credit? If so, you may think this would prevent you from receiving a loan from Jacaranda Finance. We encourage you to apply for a bad credit loan because we help people every day receive funding who think their credit is bad.
Savings and loans: what are my options?
These are just a few ideas on how to make the school year go by a little more smoothly by saving on all those expenses. There are some other options available such as applying for Government benefits (Textbook and Resource Allowance, School Transport Assistance, ABSTUDY). Alternatively, could apply for an easy short-term personal loan with Jacaranda Finance. That way, you can get all the bulk payments out of the way without the hassle and give yourself a little bit of breathing room while you pay off your loan.
Our application process is 100% online. We’ll endeavour to have an outcome on your application in just 60 minutes* and there’s no need to fill out a pile of paper forms.
Please scroll up and use our handy online calculator to see what your weekly, monthly or fortnightly payments could look like.
For any questions about our back-to-school money-saving ideas, or if you want to enquire about how one of our personal loans can help you, give one of our lovely customer service attendants a call, and they’ll be happy to help!
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Written by Jacaranda Team