As we near the start of Term 1 for 2024 many kids are excited to start the new year with their friends and get back to routine, while parents are left wondering how on earth they are going to afford the extra costs involved on top of all their other crazy cost of living expenses we are all struggling with at the moment.
School fees, new uniform, books and stationery, new bag, new drink bottle and lunchbox, new black shoes, new sports shoes, lunch snacks, the list goes on and on and on….
Here are a few tips to help you get organised:
Emergency relief services are actually anticipating record demand for assistance, as many families struggle to make it from one week to the next.
Sarah Mitchell from the education charity The Smith Family said there were often community organisations which families could access for support.
Sara says, “Tap into whatever resources you have in your community, whether it’s a Neighbourhood House, or the Child and Family Centre.”
According to cost comparison website Finder, the average cost of a full uniform kit is $245 for primary school students and $469 for secondary school students.
Facebook Marketplace has become the go-to location to find second-hand uniforms. Do a search for your local school or uniform swap group and join. Some school uniform shops also offer second-hand uniform items.
If last years uniform, shoes, school bag, pencil case, drink bottle and lunch box aren’t in bad condition (and still fit of course!) give it a good scrub and reuse it again for this year!
Don’t feel like you have to buy new stuff every year.
On top of all the basics required as we head back to school there are often extra-curricular activities we need to pay for as well.
In some states, voucher programs such as Active Kids in NSW, FairPlay in Queensland and KidSport in Western Australia — are on offer for eligible families.
The vouchers provide cash back to help cover the costs of your child’s participation in sporting programs.
Taking some time to meal prep in advance will help you save hundreds of dollars off your grocery bill if you don’t need to head to the shops every couple of days to buy package foods for the kids lunches. Do a meal prep once a week and freeze snacks ready to grab and pop in the lunches as they head out the door.
The Healthy Mummy has lots of lunch box snacks to choose from 50 Healthy Lunchbox ideas.
Check out Fiona’s top tip here – Fiona made 232 snacks for just over $70 thanks to her top meal prep tip!
Many schools will offer a school fee subsidiary to eligible families, speak to your school office to discuss payments if you are struggling and need extra support to pay them off.
Some states do offer a Student Travel Subsidy Scheme or a travelling allowance to eligible families to provide travel assistance to school students who are isolated or required to travel over 5km. Check with your school or bus company for any allowances you might be entitled to claim.