Be prudent and make money go further
IF you’ve already put kids through school then you won’t need me to tell you it can be a costly business. Preparing kids for school can bring the same added costs and pressures as Christmas which is why you need to be one step ahead come autumn. First off, it’s not too late to start putting money aside to help meet the cost of school. Items like stationary and school bags can be bought now and will be one less worry. Here’s a few tips to consider:
Generic school wear: while you may have to purchase certain parts of the school uniform like jumpers, crests and tracksuits from a specific store, be sure to shop around for other items. Cheaper things like shirts, trousers and skirts can all be bought cheaper if you shop around, but remember it’s a long school year so you’ll need items that are of quality and durability also.
A size for tomorrow: many people abide by this rule and insist on plenty of room in a school uniform. It can make your purchase more cost effective as kids grow fast. Look for seams and be sure there’s plenty of hem that can be let down when necessary. If you’re handy with a needle and thread, even better. If not, anyone with a sewing machine can extend the lifespan of a uniform no end. Increase in back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance: Applications opened on the June 1 and will stay open until 30 September. The allowance paid for each child aged 4-11 on or before 30 September 2017 is €125. The allowance paid for each child aged 12-22 on or before 30 September 2017 is €250. Children aged between 18 and 22 years must be in full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college. Contact the department at BSCFA@welfare.ie or contact your local Social Protection Office for advice.
Be book smart: They’re not always easy to track down, but sourcing second-hand books is well worth the effort if you’re looking to reduce costs. The cost of school books has been a contentious issue in recent years and with good reason given the costs involved. If purchasing at a school book shop, always ask when submitting your book list if second hand books are available. But be sure to check that you are buying the version of the book specified by the school. When buying second-hand books from a retailer, it is reasonable to expect some wear and tear; but they must still be fit for purpose. Second-hand books are well worth the effort and you’ll save money too. You can also ask parents of kids who have moved up a year to part with books, but again be sure they are valid for the course in question as books, even from year to year, can have subtle variations to suit the curriculum.