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Back-to-school: Parents share top money-saving tips

CHOICE parents share their cost-of-living tips for the new school year.

Back to school saving tips
Parents share their tips on saving money on school lunches, uniforms and more. (Source: Getty)

The new school year is fast approaching and many Aussie families are feeling the cost-of-living pinch more than usual.

To help with back-to-school costs, CHOICE asked parents to share their best money-saving tips for the upcoming term.

Here’s what they said.

School lunches: Shop, cook and prep smart

“If you've got the storage space, buy various school snacks, juice boxes etc in bulk. It'll help to save money, give your kids variety, and avoid running out and having to pay for food from the canteen instead.” – Rachel

“DIY snacks are cheaper than buying things in packets – and you have control over what goes into them. I make a batch of muffins every couple of weeks and freeze them fresh – you just put them in the lunch bag in the morning and they've defrosted by recess time. Other things that freeze and defrost well are muesli slice, brownies, bliss balls and banana bread.” – Pru

“Rethink what constitutes lunchbox food – it doesn't always have to be sandwiches and apples. My kiddo likes to graze all day so I basically pack a tasting plate for her, filled with (cheap) ingredients like basic stuffed olives, hommus and carrot sticks (Aldi's gigantic tub of hommus is a great buy), edamame, tinned corn spears, cherry tomatoes, baby bocconcini and the like. Dinner leftovers are great, too – throw in bolognese or black bean chilli with a fork and that's lunch sorted.” – Alice

School uniforms: Shop secondhand or generic

“Join your school's Facebook group – people often give away or sell uniforms their kids have grown out of.” – Emily

“It's always a good idea to ask the school office if they sell secondhand uniforms at a discounted price. You can return the favour when your child grows out of them and pass them on to other kids.” – Uta

“If you go to a school that isn't strict about school uniform, you can pick up cheaper generic alternatives from places like Kmart, Big W, Next and so on. It's great for things like polo shirts, sport shorts, tracksuit pants and the like.” – Pru

Check what help is available

“If you're struggling financially, definitely let the school know. The P&C may have funds set aside to give you a discount for uniforms or excursions (or cover the cost entirely) so your child doesn't have to miss out. Depending on how far you live from the school (and available funding in your region), your child can get a free or subsidised bus pass. ” – Uta

“Make sure you're across all of the vouchers that are available in your state or territory. First-time primary school parents like me are newly eligible for some of these vouchers and may not know about them.” – Antoinette

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