“Planning ahead will save parents money as learners head back to school in January,” said mother and DirectAxis Financial Services’ Chief Marketing Officer, Marlies Kappers.

“An advantage of thinking ahead is that you can shop when it suits you and when prices are best.

“For example, you might be able to pick up some stationery, sports essentials or computer equipment in the post-Christmas sales,” said Kappers. Kappers advised parents to make a list before going shopping for school supplies. “Studies show that people who shop without a list can spend up to 23% more. Find out from the school or other parents exactly what your child needs for the next year and by when. They may not need everything in the first term. Try to get as much detail as possible, so you don’t waste money buying the wrong thing. Cross off the list anything you already have,” she added.

“Another key point is not to be tricked by what’s trendy,” said Kappers.
“Children can be very brand conscious and may want something because its trendy and consequently more expensive,” she said. Another great way to save, according to Kappers is to score with second-hand savings.

“Children can quickly grow out of jerseys and blazers. If the school has a second-hand shop you may be able to find good quality second-hand items there. Alternatively talk to other parents who have children who are older or leaving school and ask if they have any uniforms they want to sell,” said Kappers. For Kappers, setting a budget based on last year’s figures and previous experiences is a good way to save. “Once you’ve got a budget, stick to it. It may be an idea to involve your child. Agreeing the list of requirements and what the budget is may prevent them asking for everything they see when you go shopping,” she added.

Kappers said that once the school supplies have been checked off, parents can save money on fees. “Look for opportunities to save money. Some schools provide a discount on school fees if these are paid in a lump sum at the beginning of the year. The same may apply to bus fares. If you are able, try to take advantage of these savings,” she said.