It’s Back To School Time
*This post is sponsored by Flora Proactive*
It’s that time of year again!
This morning I waved 3 of my 4 girls off to school for the new school year, with a smile and wave.
Even though the weather is dismal and rainy, they all seemed happy to head off, overly keen to get back into the school routine.
However now that the school year has started my mind it’s time to start thinking about all those predictable (and some not so predictable) fees that are going to start dribbling in.
Which ever way you look at it this is such an expensive time of year.
Between the 4 girls we have school fees X 4, Netball registrations X 4, Flute lessons and Band Fees, Rep Netball Fees. Plus we are still paying off Miss M’s braces, and that’s just the expenses we know about.
There is also going to be school excursions and camps, netball camps and band camps throughout the year. And we also have a year 12 Formal to think about too!!!
When the school year starts you are generally given a list of all the stationary requirements the kids are going to need for the year. So along with uniforms and school shoes, there are exercise books, pens and pencils, glue, scissors, binders etc the list goes on and on!
Then there is the added grocery shopping expense. I must say it certainly has been nice not having to make any school lunches over the past 6 weeks. But with school now back the shopping list has been extended to include all those school snacks and sandwich fillers.
So what are some tips that can ease the financial strain that always accompanies Back To School Time?
- Inventory what you already have. Reuse display folders, document wallets etc. Go through pencil cases from last year and sharpen pencils and test out the texta’s to see what is working and what isn’t. They don’t need new ones each year.
- Stick to your school list. No matter how much they beg you and try to convince you that they really need that great set of multicoloured highlighters and that fantastic Monster High pencil case…they don’t.
- Plan your school lunches for the week. Buy only the items you need. Don’t take the kids shopping with you, if you can avoid it, they will always make this task ten times harder.
- Try not to use the school canteen. Although very convenient it is often more expensive to buy everyone school lunches compared with making them yourself.
- Buy in bulk. Instead of buying 3 or 4 pencils at one time, buy a whole packet that everyone will be able to use all year.
- Get them to design their own book covers and cover with clear contact. Clear contact is cheaper than the patterned variety. Also this activity should keep them occupied for a while.
- Many schools offer payment plans for school fees, even if they don’t advertise this fact. Make enquiries with your school as to whether this arrangement will work for you. Most will agree, so don’t be afraid to ask. Large families often struggle to pay everything all at the one time.
- Spread out your purchases over a few weeks so you are not buying your Back To School products all at once.
- Check out your schools “Uniform Shop” for great second hand uniforms. Sometimes second hand is nearly as good as new.
- They will come home literally starving, so organise a plate of fruit and maybe some easy pikelets (see easy recipe below) in advance for that afternoon pick me up. Cheaper and healthier than packaged snacks.
After School Snack
Basic Pikelet Recipe
1 1/4 Cups Self Raising Flour
2 tablespoons castor sugar
3/4 Cup milk
Extra Margarine for melting in the pan
Place the flour and sugar into a bowl, stir to combine
Add the milk and egg to the mixture and whisk until smooth
Heat margarine in a pan and drop in tablespoons of mixture
Cook until bubbles form then flip over and cook for a couple of minutes until cooked through
Serve the pikelets with margarine (much healthier than butter and easier to spread) and jam, or topped with fresh fruit.