As the school year winds to a close (the fourth term goes so quickly!), many schools distribute their stationery requirement lists now. Those lists can be a little scary to look at, so here’s some tips on how to keep those costs down as you shop for next year’s stationery.
This one seems obvious, but it’s often overlooked. If you can, get the stationery list for your child’s next grade a little earlier than usual and start your shopping earlier in the year. Many stores and online retailers have big sales during the middle of the year, so take advantage of those where you can. Oh, and rather don’t leave it until the day before school starts in the new year – that’s when prices will be at their highest!
Half the stress of doing the stationery shopping lives in the shopping aisles. Keep your eyes peeled for good specials online and try to source the big ticket items in bulk. This is often easier online, and you can use it to your advantage. Buy a big box of blue pens, for example, and use some for school and some for home. Bonus? You won’t be scampering around the house looking for a pen because you’ll have a convenient stack of them on hand. Take a look at Takealot, Makro and others online.
Second Hand Is Just As Good
Textbooks are expensive! Although many schools have shifted to using tablets, some schools do still require physical textbooks. Rather than shelling out for a brand new copy, take a look at second hand bookstores, online classifieds sites like Gumtree or ask past pupils from your children’s school. You could scoop up a sweet deal on textbooks that way.
Reuse and Repurpose
If you’re anything like I am, you probably have a stash of half-used crayons and pencils in a box or drawer somewhere. Before you set out shopping, take stock of what you’ve stashed from previous years and only buy what you need. I made the error of not doing this one year, and when my daughter came home from her last day in Grade One with all her unused stationery, I calculated that I could’ve saved R500 when buying stationery for Grade Two. Yes, R500.
Only Buy the Essentials
Yes, the school list says they need 47 sticks of glue for the year ahead, but you don’t need to send them along on the first day back at school. Rather buy what they’ll need for the first term, and then top up as you go throughout the year. You’ll undoubtedly save money this way too, as you’ll be able to take advantage of those mid-year sales mentioned above.
Pass On With a Purpose
If you do find that you’ve got a little too much stationery or items that you no longer need, donate them to a nearby school or creche. Items like old files, extra pencils or even half-used crayons are a windfall for schools. Also look at your paper at home – have you got stacks of paper that’s only printed on one side? Pre-schools will love you for handing it over, because it makes for perfect drawing paper!