January is certainly a hectic time for families, with many people starting their preparations for the new school year.
The Department of Human Services has been reminding people Schoolkids Bonus has been phased out, with the final instalment paid in July 2016.
“The phasing out of Schoolkids Bonus is a big change for many families, and we wanted to remind parents it had finished,” Michael Sutton from our Families Division said.
“Our Social Media Team had many conversations with people about this back in July, when the final instalment was being paid. The team noticed other members of their online community, Family Update, offering tips and suggestions on managing back-to-school costs.
“As part of reminding families about Schoolkids Bonus being phased out, we thought it would be useful to share these tips. This was so parents could find out what other families in similar situations were doing to help manage their back to school costs.”
Each family’s situation is different and not every tip would be suitable for every person. People offered to share their tips and experiences with the genuine intention of helping make a difference for someone else’s family.
“The #SchoolCostSavers series generated a lot of discussion as well as many more tips,” Michael said. “We’ve included a summary of the tips from this series here, just in case you missed it.
“It’s not too late to offer a tip either – just go to the Family Update Facebook page and type in #SchoolCostSavers to find the series and join in the discussion!”
- Leia and Sharon shared a great tip about budgeting. Budgeting is great way to prepare for those back to school costs. The MoneySmart website has a budget planner where you can put in details about your family income and what your expenses are from home and utilities, groceries, personal and medical and your child’s expenses.
- Meg, Nat and Michelle shared a tip about payment plans for your school fees. Contact your school to find out if you’re able to pay school fees or uniform costs fortnightly, monthly or on a schedule that suits you. They also suggested to see if your school’s P&C Association or other community organisations may also offer assistance.
- Danny and Sonya suggested picking up stationery items throughout the year checking what stationery your kids could re-use for the following year. Lots of items can be re-used like folders, plastic sleeves, small whiteboards, calculators or chair bags as well as glue, pencils and books.
- Nobody likes a uniform that doesn’t fit. Christine suggested checking if your school’s uniform shop have a clothing pool or exchange where you can get second hand clothing. She also suggested looking into second hand shops, online or even talk to other parents to see if they have any spares.
- Given most of the expenses seem to occur at the beginning of the year, Cindy suggested purchasing smaller amounts of stationery items and then buying more throughout the school year. This can take some of the burden off having to purchase 10 glue sticks, 40 pencils, 4 packs of coloured pencils and 40 folders all at once.
- Felicity told us she buys in bulk during the sales or well in advance to avoid the price increase before school. She tries to find 2-for-1 specials on things like shoes. Felicity suggested to try to buy one pair in the required size, and another pair in a bigger size.