With the holiday period coming up, it’s almost time to start thinking about the preparation required to send the kids back to school.

School-related expenses can add up quickly, with school fees, uniforms, books, stationary, and extracurricular activity fees all due at the same time.

To help ease the financial pressure, we’ve compiled seven tips to take the pressure off and make going back to school a little easier on the family budget.

1. Go second-hand

There’s no need to buy brand new uniforms each year. Check out your school’s uniform shop or P&C to see if you can grab a bargain. You may also be able to sell the uniforms your kids have outgrown back to the uniform shop or to other parents. Check out online marketplaces or your school’s noticeboards for quality second-hand textbooks, calculators, laptops or tablets, sports equipment, and other school supplies.

2. Size up 

Kids grow out of their clothes so quickly, so save the hassle of needing new uniforms every few months by buying things a couple of sizes bigger than they need. Your kids will grow into them in no time, and you’ll save some money.

3. Spread the costs 

Give yourself time to save by holding off on buying the winter uniforms until they need them. You may find your kids have grown by the time winter arrives and it won’t hurt the hip pocket quite as much if you can spread the cost over time.

4. Make a list 

Sit down with the kids and make a realistic list of everything you need to buy for the school year. Don’t let yourself get distracted by fancy stationary and stick to your list - it will also mean you can buy in bulk for things such as pencils and pens.

5. Label everything 

Replacing a school uniform, book or laptop can be costly. Label everything clearly and use the opportunity to teach your kids about responsibility and taking care of their things. Consider adding an incentive if your child manages to not lose important items each term.

6. It doesn’t need to be expensive

Low-cost retailers, like Big W and Kmart, will have all your back to school needs. You can also do an online order to avoid the temptation of buying a few extra items that catch your eye in-store.

7. Plan ahead and start saving 

The cost of education can be difficult for families, with many already facing financial stress this year. To help ease the pressure, it is important you make the cost of education a key consideration in your long-term planning and budgeting. The best thing you can do is to sit down and plan how much you will need to set aside for your kid’s education. You can use BCU Bank’s budget planner calculator to help get you started.

Important information

Banking and Credit products issued by Police & Nurses Limited (BCU) ABN 69 087 651 876 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 240701. Any advice does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Read the relevant Product Terms and Condition, before acquiring this product in considering and deciding whether it is right for you. The Target Market Determination (TMD) for products is available on request. Lending criteria, terms & conditions, fees & charges apply.