Back to school is not just about a couple of exercise books and new shoes.  With technology making it to the classroom, the stress on parent’s to buy.  The financial burden placed on parents has increased dramatically with new technologies, with Australian school today also assume that children have a computer and internet connection at home.

It has become common for parents to pull their kids out of extra-curricula activities like sports because they can’t afford the costs and equipment, not to mention the petrol and other expenses expected to be paid throughout the season.

As the beginning of the school year books, uniforms, stationery, plus school fees (voluntary or not) are all due.

So how can you save cash?  Here are some ways.

  1. Keep all your receipts for school-related expenses, because these may be claimed under the Government’s 50 per cent Education Tax Refund. The Refund applies to textbooks, computers and home internet connection and the maximum amount is $794 a year primary school kids, $1588 for high school kids.
  2. Consider leasing or renting technology items required, like laptops, printers, USB drives, and e-readers.
  3. Visit second-hand shops for books and uniforms.
  4. Talk to the school. Do they offer a rental system?
  5. Remember you don’t have to spend a fortune to get what is necessary.  Think about what your child will be using an electronic device for, and buy no more fancier than that.  Remember, computer technology changes so rapidly, getting caught up and over-spending will only led to regret when you are replacing the device in a couple of year’s time.
  6. Recycle stationary items, hats, bags, lunch boxes, drink bottles and as much as possible from the year before.
  7. Sell your child’s old books and uniforms.
  8. Start and education savings plan early on to try and avoid the stress at the start of each school year.
  9. Make sure you purchase protective covers for all electronic items.
  10. Try to grab a bargain – negotiate to include software your child will need in a package price – things like Microsoft Office, for example, all add up.
  11. Don’t forget to check if compute software comes in a student version.  You will need to produce a student identification to either buy or install the software, but this will save you hundreds of dollars.
  12. Ban tuckshop!  Or if you can’t be that mean, make it an extra special treat, say no more than once a term.  If the kids want more, have them save to pay for it out of their pocket money.  A lesson in saving plus more cash in your bank account to put towards next year’s school costs!