September marks the end of the summer holidays after an extended period of absence from school for many children due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Returning to school presents its own challenges at the best of times, and adjustments for the entire family, but more so given our current circumstances.
According to a Mintel Press Office study published in 2019, the back-to-school market was worth £1.16 billion in 2018, an increase of 36% from the previous year^. Mintel’s research also suggested that back-to-school spending was the third biggest retail event (excluding food or drink) after Christmas and Black Friday.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of tips to help you prepare your child for school whilst saving money!
Stock up on stationery
Most schools expect students to bring their own stationery, and this may be even more likely due to the pandemic. This includes pens, pencils, rulers, notepads, books, calculators, and more. The best approach for stocking up on these supplies is to buy them in bulk. Big retailers may have special offers, so take advantage of them. If you can, stock up! Unlike their uniform, they won’t grow out of pens and pencils, so buying them when they’re on offer can save money in the long run. Just remember where you put them…
It might have been a while since you’ve had to put together a packed lunch, but as you plan your weekly shop, plan their packed lunches too. There are a range of different (and healthy) recipes on websites like the BBC Goodfood site, including a section on cost-saving recipes that could last all week if you plan in advance.
Plan your child’s travel arrangements
A good routine is going to help you and your child adjust to going back to school, both physically and mentally. Before returning to school, sit down with your child and devise a plan. This can include what time they wake up, eat breakfast, and leave the house to get to school on time. Make sure you check that the travel arrangement they had pre-lockdown are still suitable. Public transport times may have changed, or new roadworks might have started on your route which could cause delays.
If you rely on public transport to take your child to school, you could save money when buying a season pass. Whether it’s a weekly, monthly, or yearly pass, it can be a more cost-efficient approach to traveling. If your working patterns have changed due to Covid-19, and you have some degree of flexible working, you could even consider walking to school. Not only is it free, but it’s good for you, the environment and it means you’ll get a little more quality time together.
Teach your child about savings
Learning about finances and saving money is a great skill to learn from a young age. Your child may learn about Maths, English, and Science at school but may lack knowledge about the importance of saving and budgeting. It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about money; learning to save helps children get into the mindset of setting goals (perhaps there’s something they want to save up for!) and gives them more responsibility too. You could even help your kids work towards the bigger things in life such as learning to drive or starting a university degree. If they’re old enough to have a part-time job, not only could it teach them important life skills, but it could save you a few pennies too!
Here at the Marsden, we understand the importance of saving from a young age. Our children’s savings accounts are available to young people under the age of 18 and could be a great way to teach your children all about how a savings account works so they can start saving for the future.
^Mintel Press Office: ‘Counting the cost’ study, published 13 August 2019.