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Back to School

The cost of back to school

Back to school costs are inevitable and yet for some reason, most people forget to budget for it!

It is one of those forgotten expenses. Every year I get taken by surprise and land up scrambling for books and stationery at the last second.


One year 1 of my children went to school minus a few books for the first month

Photo by Chen Feng on Unsplash
Girl in uniform

until my salary came in and I could afford to buy them. I am much better now as I put it on my family calendar to remind me.


School uniforms and shoes usually need to be replaced. Sometimes more than once in the year!  Blazers with or without extra badges and trim, pullovers, pants/skirts, shirts without school badges, tracksuits, socks, trainers, shoes, it all adds up.

If your children are in a school where there are no uniforms, then shopping for ‘school’ clothes becomes even more expensive. You can’t wear the same thing too often!

We want to give our children the best but sometimes we just need to learn to say no without the guilt attached.

Before you even look around you are over the R1000 mark and most likely heading to the R2000 mark!


The stationery lists are definitely shorter and occasionally cheaper the higher the grade.

Thankfully, for the most part, basic stationery doesn’t have to be replaced each year with something new. It may take some convincing to get the children to accept that if it can still be used for its original purpose, they can use it for another year.

With luck, the dictionary, stapler, punch, scientific calculator and maths sets have made it through the year intact. Only if you are very lucky does this happen?

Having to go searching for specific types of pens, pencils and colored pencils also mostly falls away in high school

Books -image by kimberly farmer
Text books!

Text books

For those that have to buy textbooks, the cost is even higher, especially when you are unable to use older sibling’s books as the syllabus has changed.

I remember one year my two eldest, who were not in the same grades, had the same set-workbooks, in the end I landed up having to buy them each a set as they also happened to start the year reading from the same book!

How do you save money?

I don’t often post links to FB groups in my blog but this group has saved me so much money! https://www.facebook.com/groups/539750712854478/

Why not try it out if you haven’t already got your books?

Have a look for Blazers especially from people whose last child just finished or someone who is moving their child to a different school. Maybe your school has a secondhand uniform shop?

Also, check out SnapnSave, last year they had great offers on stationery (there is nothing up on their App on the date that this article went live).

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