The summer holidays can be an expensive time for parents. It’s not just entertainments for the kids and holiday treats. There is also the return to school to consider – new school uniforms, new shoes, bus fares, school dinners and after school clubs to pay for. Workingmums.co.uk has some tips on how to save money.
The summer holidays can be an expensive time for parents. It’s not just entertainments for the kids and holiday treats. There is also the return to school to consider – new school uniforms, new shoes, bus fares, school dinners and after school clubs to pay for.
A new survey shows many parents are worried about the financial pressures that going back to school mean. According to the survey by Turn2us, part of the national charity Elizabeth Finn Care, one in three parents are worried about the costs they will incur sending their children back to school in September and over a third feel that there are too many extras – such as school trips, books and sports equipment – to pay for when sending children to school.
Money-saving expert Jasmine Birtles of Moneymagpie.com, says there are many things families can do to save money as the new school term looms.
She advises that the best way to save, and make, money as a family is to do it together. She says: “Have regular family meetings where you talk about things you want to do as a family and work out together where you can make savings and how you can make extra cash to pay for it. Once the children understand the situation they can help day-to-day.”
She also suggests clubbing together with friends and neighbours. Buying in bulk at the local cash and carry can bring big savings, including on the petrol to get there. She says you could also consider occasional swap shops for toys, clothes and accessories with friends and neighbours.
To cut down on the price of school uniforms, she suggests going for second-hand school uniforms where possible. “Either try your school for their regular sales or swap shops or take a look at Patched Elephant: www.schooluniform.co.uk/index.php which is entirely for second-hand uniforms and school equipment,” she says.
Other advice includes checking out welfare benefit entitlements, such as for tax credits – the Turn2us Benefits Checker will help you check what you might be able to claim. Families on low incomes can also check their eligibility for charitable grants. The Turn2us Grants Search database can help you find charitable funds that may be able to help you, based on your personal circumstances, background and needs. Another tip is to scour the discounts offered by companies. Sites like Moneymagpie highlight bargains on offer and if you 'like' Facebook pages of shops and companies you frequent you will find they often post exclusive discounts there.
Turn2us says many parents are unaware of help available for them if they are facing financial hardship, despite the fact that one in eight said their child had been bullied in the last year because they didn’t have the newest or best equipment for school and one in seven said their child had not been able to go on a school trip in the last year due to the cost.
Less than one per cent of parents in their survey said they had approached a charity for financial support, yet there are around 3,500 charitable funds (national, regional and local) that may be able to give financial support.
Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2us, said: “Families who are already struggling to make ends meet due to reduced salaries and benefits, redundancy and other changes in working conditions will be driven to crisis point by back to school costs. Yet there is a range of charitable grants that may be able to give financial assistance for welfare or educational purposes. It’s important that parents investigate all sources of support, including help from charities.”