However carefully you prepare for it, the start of the new academic year can still often come as a financial shock, with one-off costs to face and an increase in your ongoing expenditure that’s easy to forget about when you’re planning in advance.
Most children will need a new schoolbag, school uniform, PE kit and stationery – and you’ll probably have to pay for their pens, pencils, calculator and so on, even if their books or paper are provided by the school.
But there’s also the ongoing cost of school dinners or packed lunches, both of which can cost more than simply making a sandwich around midday at home during the school holidays, as well as bus tickets or petrol, if you live a reasonable distance from their school.
All of this combines to put stress on household finances, so what can you do to help reduce the burden?
Make do and mend
One of the great British trends of all time, ‘make do and mend’ is as relevant now as it has ever been – and it goes beyond simply patching up torn trousers.
Buy trousers that are too long, turn the legs up on the inside, and tack into place with a couple of stitches that can be removed easily later.
This way, you will be able to adjust the length to fit as your child grows and – assuming they are not rough enough with their clothing to destroy it completely – you should therefore get at least a few extra months’ wear out of each garment.
Jumpers can be approached in a similar way, and while turned-up sleeves might be hard to disguise, the cuffs can be rolled down over your child’s hands in winter as makeshift gloves, which might be welcome on the cold trek home.
A packed lunch gives you good control over your child’s diet, so make the most of it – and although they are growing fast, exercise a little portion control and you can cut the cost of preparing a midday meal for them each day.
You don’t want your child to be hungry during afternoon lessons, but they shouldn’t feel overly full either, so don’t pack their lunchbox with junk food, and consider making them buy any extra snacks out of their own pocket money as a way to help them learn about budgeting.
Spread the cost
There are plenty of financial products to help you spread the cost of one-off purchases, so if you’ve not managed to save enough for the new year starting, look to loans as a possible short-term solution.
You can get cash loans of up to £1,000 at www.shopacheck.co.uk, giving you total control over how much you borrow, to suit your circumstances.
This means that, unlike many bank loans that enforce minimum borrowing of several thousands of pounds, you don’t have to borrow any more than you need – which in turn, means you don’t have to repay any unnecessary interest costs, either.