Be pru­dent and make money go fur­ther

Bray People - - BACK TO SCHOOL -

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.

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