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Five back-to-school money saving tips

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It's nice to spend time with your children, but after six weeks (or eight for some) you're probably both in need of a break from one another.

And it's not cheap to entertain the children over the holidays, so it's not surprising to hear parents breathe a sigh of relief as they get ready for the 2016 school year to kick off in a matter of days.

Unfortunately, the spending still continues as we start to stock up on back-to-school equipment but you don't need to go overboard. Here are five simple money-saving tips that your bank account will appreciate, especially after being slugged by the cost of Christmas.

back-to-school-savings

Uniforms: If your child attends a public school with standard coloured shirts, shorts and socks don't feel pressured to purchase uniforms from the "recommended" uniform store. Try department stores such as Big W, Best & Less, Kmart and Target as you may be able to source these items at a fraction of the price. A quick Google search revealed a three-pack of short sleeved polo tops at Target for only $6 (was $12). This is an online only promotion.

Second-hand uniforms are also a good option and can be purchased from your school's uniform shop (if they have one) or try websites such as schoolxchange, schoolseconds, theuniformexchange or Gumtree. Make sure you shop around for school shoes. I found the leather school shoes from our school uniform shop $20 cheaper than at Shoes and Sox - even after its 20% off school shoe sale.

Invest in name labels: Things will go missing, especially if you don't clearly label school items, right down to their socks! Try websites such as brightstarkids, stuckonyou, tinyme and hippoblue. Some of these sites are currently offering discounts, so now is the time to order. You can also find promotional codes for these sites online, so have a little look around and you could save yourself shipping or a further discount. You can save even more money by just using a permanent marker such as a Sharpie to label your items.

Save on stationery: Don't assume you're getting the cheapest deal at your local stationery supplier for notebooks, pens etc. Don't forget supermarkets such as Woolworths, Coles, Aldi as well as department stores also stock affordable stationery supplies and often have back-to-school sales in late January. It may be 50 cents here and a dollar there, but it all adds up, especially when you have more than one child to purchase for. Big W has a back-to-school sale that includes stationery. Hurry, as it ends today (Wednesday January 27). Woolworths also has specials on some of its stationery items and if you purchase three participating "Back to School" products, you'll be entitled to free personalised school labels as well! The purchase period runs until 11.59pm AEDST on February, 9 2016.

BYO lunch: Save money by planning ahead. Stick a lunch plan on the fridge with a list of items to put in your child's lunch box each day. Mix it up. Apart from the sandwich, yoghurt and the usual suspects in the lunch box, it could as simple as throwing in a boiled egg (save time and boil two or three at a time), a cheese stick, cut-up fruit and vegetables such carrots and celery sticks or 'mini' vegetables such as 'Qukes' and cherry tomatoes. Stock up on these items on Sunday and keep them in the crisper and that way you'll have them on hand, ready to go. Then save lunch orders as a special treat or as a reward to work towards.

Leave Dad at home: A study by the American National Retail Foundation revealed men spent 25% more on back-to-school items than women. Some of the reasons put forward for men spending more include: dads don't believe in coupons, dads aren't attracted to sales, they place more stock in brand names, and last but not least, convenience is king. 52% of women in the study tried to buy products on sale, compared to 33% of men. Bottom line - send the savviest shopper out to purchase back-to-school items.

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