It’s ‘back to school’ time, which means spending more on books, uniforms and school supplies. But, is it possible to save some money? Of course! Here’s how.
Most schools in India reopen in June following the summer holidays. This almost certainly means added expenditure on books, bags, stationery and other items that your kids will need. This may cost you a pretty penny or at the very least a sizeable amount. However, should you choose to swipe your Credit Card, there could be a way you could save some money as well. So, without further ado, here are some ways you can save money on school supplies:
The early bird catches the best offers
Don’t wait until the last day to buy school supplies for your kids. Look out for off-season sales, when things are fairly inexpensive. School supplies are usually less expensive during the summer holidays since demand is low. The closer the time comes for schools to reopen, demand increases and prices go up. So, try and buy all the school supplies your kids will need well in advance.
In fact, with an SBI Simply Save Card, you can even save on supplies that you buy from a departmental store. This card offers 10X rewards for departmental store spends. You also get reward points for other spends and you can even save on fuel as well since it gives you a 1% fuel surcharge waiver for transactions between Rs. 500 and Rs. 3,000.
Check your eligibility for the SBI Simply Save Card here.
Additional Reading: We Found A Credit Card For You
Want Vs Need
Have you ever thought that maybe you just buy things for your kids because they want them and not because they really need them? If saving money is a top priority for you, then putting your foot down will go a long way towards achieving this.
For instance, your kids may want Disney-themed fancy oil pastels, when crayons will more than suffice. Sure, we all want the best for our kids, but giving in to their whims every single time may spell disaster for your finances.
Additional Reading: How To Teach Healthy Financial Habits To Your Kids
Reusing last year’s supplies
Are those old Avenger water bottles still in good condition? What about those Peppa Pig lunch boxes you got your kids last year? While convincing your kids to reuse last year’s supplies may take some doing, you can attempt a trade-off by buying them something else they might need during the year.
Additional Reading: Financial Planning For Your Child’s Needs
Kids can be very fickle, especially when it comes to entertainment. But, then again, that’s what makes them kids. They usually tend to have a favourite cartoon character one year and a completely different ‘favourite’ the year after. If it was Spiderman last year, it will be Captain America this year.
They will insist that you buy school supplies that have those characters on them. Not only can these branded supplies be quite expensive, but buying different ones every year just because they depict a different cartoon character seems like a superfluous expense.
Instead, why not try stickers? Most character-branded items usually just have character stickers on them. Peel them off carefully and replace them with new stickers (with the characters your kids like). You can do this for water bottles, lunch boxes, bag tags and many other items that are still useable.
Additional Reading: Tips To Save – Attention Brand Addicts
Buying in bulk
Even though buying supplies in bulk over a period of two or three years may make sound financial sense, it isn’t always a good idea. Instead of buying a whole bunch of stuff that your kids may not like or even need down the line, concentrate on stocking up on essential school supplies such as pens, pencils, notepads, erasers, etc.
Stationery always comes in handy regardless of how old it is, so look out for any off-season sales where you can pick them up in bulk and on the cheap.
Maybe the school supplies that your older child once used could be handed down to your younger one, provided they’re in good condition. There’s probably a raft of them that haven’t been used very frequently and are still in mint condition, like lunch boxes, water bottles, geometry sets etc.
Also, why not try second-hand stores? You’re sure to have plenty to choose from. However, do check if they have new editions when you buy books. Buying old or outdated editions won’t help your child.
Alternatively, you could get yourself a Credit Card like the SBI SimplyClick Credit Card (Psst…you can click here to check if you’re eligible for this card.) to help you save further. You get an Amazon gift voucher worth Rs. 500 as a joining bonus and 10x rewards when shopping with select online partners. You also get 5x reward points for all other spends.
Additional Reading: 3 Tricks To Save Money With Your Credit Card
Check for durability
When you purchase supplies for your kids, check if the product is durable. Buying a product that will break within months of use makes no sense. You should aim at buying durable products that can be reused.
Hopefully, you can use them for at least two years without having to worry about buying new ones, as long as your kids don’t break any of them. Fingers crossed!
It may be a good idea to not take your children along while you go shopping for school supplies. You could even order them online after your kids have gone to sleep. If you take them along when you go shopping, your kids might end up demanding things that they don’t actually need resulting in you giving in to their demands. After all, impulse shopping is more prevalent among kids than adults!
However, if you do decide to take them shopping, you could look at alternative ways of saving money, just in case you end up splurging a bit on something that catches their fancy. A card like the Standard Chartered Manhattan Platinum card could work wonders for you.
You get 5% cashback on all purchases made at departmental stores and supermarkets. You even get 20% cashback on all your Uber rides. Your first-year annual fee is nil and you get 1,000 points as joining bonus on your first swipe.
Additional Reading: Credit Cards With Zero Annual Fees In 2017
We hope some of those tips helped. If you’re looking to save money in anticipation of your children’s schooling needs, here’s how you can go about it.
The best way to ensure that you save money is to automate the process. How? Set up an auto debit for all your savings. You can use a sweep-in account for this purpose. You can also make use of Fixed Deposits, Recurring Deposits or Mutual Funds to build your savings over time.
In case you’re unable to save money despite your best efforts, try and get yourself a Credit Card that comes with vouchers, freebies, cashback and more to help you save some money.
If you have any suggestions on how to save on school supplies, feel free to write to us using the comments section below.