Babies & Kids 3 min read

10 Super Smart Back to School Shopping Tips for Parents!

A dad holding his daughters hand on the way to school
Published on Sep 01, 2021
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So it’s the moment all parents across the globe have been waiting for… the kids are going back to school!

But after a long summer holiday, you may be feeling a little unprepared. And after weeks of tirelessly trying to keep your little ones or teenagers entertained, your wallet may be feeling the consequences, too!

That’s why we’ve devised a list of our top smartest back to school shopping tips for parents. So that you can get your kids ready for their first day of the new term and beyond – without having to worry too much about the bank balance.

Read on to find out more:

1) Check Inventory

First things first, check what you already have and what can be reused before you even begin thinking about shopping!

Most basic school supplies don’t change from term to term – and your kids definitely won’t mind using the same stationery for another year.

Pencils, pens, pencil cases, and even gym wear for their PE kit may all last them another school term. But if they have outgrown any of their PE Kit or school trousers, there are lots of affordable options at stores like Children’s Salon.

Two parents and a child in a store checking their list

2) Make a Shopping List

Once you have an idea of what you need to shop for, creating a list is imperative to help you keep on track. You could include a budget within this, too – so that you know roughly how much you’re looking to spend on each item when you are browsing stores like Vertbaudet for cool kids clothing.

Have a think about everything your kids going to need before going back and speak to their teachers to see if there’s anything extra that they may need this term such as a scientific calculator.

3) Get Your Child Involved

The best way to not get into an argument with your kid about needing the very latest or trendiest backpack from JoJo Mama Bebe - get them involved from the start!

Go through your list of necessary supplies with them and emphasise the difference between their wants and needs.

By giving them a budget for each supply, they’ll learn valuable lessons on how to manage money. You could even allow them to save up extra pocket money if what they really want is out of your allocated budget.

A happy woman clenching her fist in celebration

4) Earn While You Spend 

Yeah, you heard us right... the best way to spend money is by earning it at the same time!

Check out various cashback websites or money-saving websites such as us at Hey Discount for all of the latest deals and cashback discount codes that will allow you to earn money on every purchase that you make at stores like Baby Mori when picking up all the kids supplies you need.

5) Reuse & Recycle

If your kids have grown out of their previous uniform or shoes, or if they have books that they no longer need – then you could consider donating these locally so that they can be used again by another child.

If you are on a budget or struggling to keep up with your child’s wants and needs in terms of clothing and the latest trends, we love Polarn O Pyret where you can pick up lots of second hand clothing at discount prices to keep you on top of your budget. 

Not only is this helpful to the environment, but you could also be seriously helping another parent who is in need. Speak to the school headteacher as they may already have a recycling initiative in place, or ask in your local charity shops.

A group of children in school uniform

6) Don’t Bulk Purchase Uniform

We know it can seem tempting to bulk purchase your kids’ new school uniform, but don’t!

Bulk buying works really well for a lot of school products such as stationery and clothing from your favourite online stores like Trotters Childrenwear as it generally means you get better prices. But your kids will more than likely grow out of their current size pretty fast. We recommend finding a product that your child likes and buying it in their current size then pick up a few more in bigger sizes so that your child has new clothing that they like that will fit them for longer! Don’t buy loads in the same size as they won’t last very long!

7) Buy Good Quality Shoes

Decide when buying quality counts! It’s important that your kids’ shoes are comfortable and can withstand all of the running and playing they’ll be doing in them. For this reason, we recommend buying good quality shoes from stores like PatPat – so that you don’t have to buy twice.

Shop around and check out online reviews to see what shoes other parents are raving about. To help keep the costs down, you should also keep an eye on shoe store discount codes.

A pile of school books in front of a chalk board

8) Shop Around for Books

If your kids have heaps of books that they need for the new term, then this can end up setting you back quite a few quid.

But the good news is there are so many schoolbooks and textbooks readily available at great prices if you shop around and don’t forget to stop by places like Alex and Alexa where you can pick up some bargain books.

Check out charity shops for second-hand books – or look online for discount codes for books from various educational websites such as Noorart. You could also speak to the teachers to find out what really needs to be purchased, and what could just be loaned from a library.

9) Label, Label, Label

Probably one of every parent’s top tips – label everything! And we mean all their jumpers, t-shirts, skirts, dresses, trousers, PE Kit……everything!

Kids love to play ‘swapsies’ it’s normal but sometimes the only way you can be sure to get those swapped items back is by making sure they are clearly labelled. 

We all know how easily kids lose stuff or get them misplaced with their friends’ like those trendy wellies you picked up at Muddy Puddles, so labels really are your best friend! We’re talking uniform, lunch boxes, stationery bags, pencils – the lot! Even if you can only fit their initials in biro on it, it’s definitely better than nothing.

A family making school lunches

10) Make School Lunches

Last but not least, don’t underestimate how much cash you can save from making school lunches for your kids!

Paying for hot school lunches every day can become very costly. But with a bit of meal prep and savvy grocery shopping, you can feed them for half of the cost. And don’t forget to pick up a sturdy lunchbox from We Love Frugi that can withstand being dropped, kicked and thrown about! Kids will be kids after all! 

For any more back-to-school shopping tips for parents– please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

If you’re a busy mom or dad on a budget, then be sure to check out our other articles for tonnes of money-saving advice on household bills, holidays, and more.


Charlotte Marshall

Lead Editor

Being a full-time content writer and part-time shopaholic, globe-trotter and avid lover of all things food (and wine)...I love researching the best money-saving hacks so that I can help fuel my own passions, and yours!

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