Back to school shopping can be an absolute nightmare. The clothes, the shoes, backpacks, lunches, and don't even mention the stationary supplies...
Making sure your kids are prepared for the start of the school year is priceless, and you want the best possible for your little ones, but all the costs can quickly add up. So how do you stick to a budget and find back to school freebies? Glad you asked.
First things first...
There are so many freebies out there so before you spend a penny, check these out!
Our favourite back to school freebies
Free £10 Cashback on School Uniform at George
What a great offer! You can claim £10 cashback on all school uniform at George, Asda when you sign up to TopCashBack. Don't forget to check out their other offers!
Free Peperami Snack Pack
This free Peperami Snack Pack will certainly excite your kids at lunch time. Pick one up from your local Tesco, Sainsbury's or Asda and scan your receipt on CheckoutSmart to claim yours and pop one in their lunch box.
This free Mathscard from Loughborough University is super handy for anyone studying maths and comes in a foldable format, perfect.
Free Little Fella's Pizzas
All that learning is hard work! Treat your little one to a post-school treat for dinner with these Free Little Fella's Pizzas from Goodfella's, delicious!
Free Robinsons 'Squash'd' Drink
Thirsty anyone? Pack this in your child's lunchbox so they can liven up their water with a splash of this free Robinbsons 'Squash'd' Drink.
Free LEGO Club Magazine
Your child will be the coolest on the playground with this fab free LEGO Club Magazine suitable for aged 4-11.
Free PaediaSure Milkshake For Kids
Is your child going through a fussy stage? This free PaediaSure Milkshake for kids is perfect for making sure they get all their essential nutrients, as it contains 26 vitamins and minerals, great stuff!
Great freebies! Now how do I save money?
Take a stock inventory around your house
What do you already have in the house? Make sure you're not doubling up on items that cost you money this time last year and haven't been touched yet. Could that jumper last another year? We've all had that sinking feeling when we buy a duplicate item and bring it home and find we have the exact same thing, so take a stock check before you go shopping for back to school essentials. It will save you both time and money.
Give yourself and your kids a budget
It's important to teach kids how to manage money from a young age. That way, they will eventually learn that if you're super-tight for cash, you can't just buy that pretty backpack or expensive football trainers. Have a rough budget in your own head on how much you want to spend and give your kids a small budget so they can buy their favourite stationery and accessories. This will also help teach them to prioritise and value their items if it's come from our of their own pocket.
Sell before you buy
If you do find yourself with duplicates that are brand new or even slightly used or outdated, they could be exactly what someone else is looking for. Sell unwanted books and gadgets via online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. That way, you can make a bit of cash before you splash out on new gear for your children.
Save money on stationary
Stationary supplies is an aspect of school life that can definitely pinch sneaky pounds from your pocket. Your little monster's best friend's parents bought them a rainbow selection of every pencil, ruler, protractor, etc. in town and if they don't get one too it's the end of the world! So familiar? If you're looking for ways to cut back, try these out.
Buy on eBay and get nectar points
If you fancy a break from the high street, why not check out online marketplaces like eBay? A lot of sellers offer brand new stock or you can get a bargain on nearly new school supplies. There are other sites you can use like Amazon or local Facebook groups, but the best part about eBay is you can earn nectar points on your purchases, score!
The Pound Shop is your best friend
I'm not sure if pound stores still have the same stigma that they used to, but they definitely shouldn't. Their stationary aisle is an absolute life-saver and this is definitely the place to go for last minute items you may have forgotten off your list.
Always be on the lookout for coupons
Pick up magazines and free newspapers which often contain free coupons for things like pencils, books, and computer accessories. Does your child have a favourite cereal? Keep a keen eye on the cereal boxes, which often promote special back to school deals.
Save money on uniform
This is the most important thing. Your child needs a uniform, but it's pretty pricey and they outgrow it so quickly! It's not just a shirt and trousers. It's shoes, jumpers, blazers, a tie and even a PE kit. Panic! Here are some ways you can cut costs when it comes to bagging your uniform.
Look at the places you shop for groceries
It's not the first place you'd look, but plenty of supermarket chains like Asda and Tesco often have the best deals. Lots of you are probably thinking 'OF COURSE!' but did you think of Aldi and Lidl? They both offer 2 cotton polo shirts, stain repellent trousers or skirt and a sweatshirt for less than £4! If that's not a deal I don't know what is...
Go to outlet stores
Clarks is a parent favourite for providing good quality school shoes, but they come at a price. If you're on a budget, why not try one of their outlet stores? Chances are you'll pick up a bargain.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard parents complain that their child's jumper's been stolen or a kid has picked up the wrong thing. Labelling your clothes will save you money replacing items in the long run.
Host a clothing swap with other parents
If you're friends with other mums with children, why not host or co-host a uniform clothes shop with them? They may have clothes from older kids that you could use or vice versa and it will save you buying brand new.
Save money on lunches
Join forces and create a 'Come lunch with me' scheme with other parents
Photo courtesy of What Lisa Cooks
Are your kids bored of cheese sandwiches and an apple? Why not mix it up a little and take it in turns to make lunches for your kids and their friends with other parents? That way they get a healthy, varied lunch every day and you get a break from the kitchen. It also works out cheaper!
Cashback apps for school snacks
Apps like CheckoutSmart and Shopmium are perfect for finding kids snacks for free. You can even get popular brands like Dairy Lee snacks at a major discount rate. They're so easy to use, too. Check out my cashback apps guide to help you get started using these apps.
So there are my top tips, I hope they help you save some cash this time around when shopping for back to school goodies. Let me know if you have any tips of your own!