Friday 1 September 2023

Back To School Without Going Broke!

Many families are having a tough time finding funds to buy back to school items and enjoy the process with their kids. Everything has gotten so expensive it is really tough to fit extras into our budgets this year. I have been letting my kids know for the last 5 years that we are on a strict budget just so we can save for our first home so they are quite understanding. But it’s nice to be able to encourage the back to school process and get them excited about their return! 

I have found a few ways to save on some of the most expensive pieces of the puzzle for people in all walks of life! So whether your saving for something big like us, having a tough time staying on budget or just don’t want to spend a fortune this year these tips can help you too! 


Kids need clothes all year long, they grow and wreck stuff constantly so our clothing budget is always being used up! I find if we start a decent hand me down system with our friends and family we can save hundreds on gently used clothes. Let your friends and family know you have clothes to trade and offer to take their kids old stuff in return. Assuming they have a child the same size or larger this can work for years to come! 

Thrift shopping is another great option for top brands for a small fraction you would be paying for brand new. My kids love to go thrift shopping so this is always a great option for us. Buying items second hand is such a great way to save and reuse to help the planet! 

Look online and on Facebook marketplace for people cleaning out their kids closets and you can get huge amounts of gently used clothing and shoes. 


Getting your kids to and from school can be expensive if you have to take time off work and drive them back and forth. 

We opt in for the school bus every year and it turns out to be around $300 a year per kid, that is an amazing deal! If you are a low income family you may be able to get subsidized bussing and have to pay nothing for your transportation. 

City bus is another option if you have older kids and it can be around $50 a month per child for unlimited riding. This is a great option as kids can use it after school to hang out with friends and on the weekends to get around town as well. 

Another amazing option is carpooling, you and other parents can take turns driving each others kids or you can offer a small bit of gas money for the help. Make some friends with parents who have kids around the same age, networking with other parents is very important to learn and grow together as a united parenting team.

Lunches and Snacks

Stock up on snacks when they go on sale and keep your eyes on stuff you can freeze. Keep a stocked pantry and fridge for  after school snacks and friends visiting. 

Try making freezer sandwiches, wraps, burritos, and other filling foods that kids can easily warm up and eat without cooking. 

Smoothies are another great option as well, teach your kids how to use a blender and keep portioned smoothie bags in the freezer with written instructions on them for the kids to follow. It may be as simple as a bag of cut bananas and strawberries with instructions to add a cup of milk, a scoop of protein powder, and a scoop of vanilla yogurt! 

Breakfast clubs, lunch programs, and other options are available for low income families in most areas so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it! Back to school season shouldn’t be stressful so don’t let it bring you down and enjoy this milestone with your kids no matter what! 

School Supplies

School supplies can be expensive so make sure you check with your school for a list before you even buy anything. In our area the elementary school kids don’t need to buy any supplies they just pay for it as school fees. 

If you do need to buy school supplies try to reuse old stuff from home, if your like me you save anything and everything useful as it can be used again and again. 

The dollar store is an excellent place to get lots of great items. Kids don’t need $20 pencil cases and $8 markers, you can spend a couple bucks and get the same stuff at the dollar store. Stuff I won’t buy at the dollar store are binders, cheap erasers, backpacks, and lunch kits just due to how cheaply they are made I have had them fall apart. 

Thrift stores, second hand stores, and special events can be a great place to get school supplies as well if your willing to keep your eyes peeled and do some searching. 

You work hard to make sure your kids have everything they need so even if your working during back to school time your kids will appreciate any efforts you make! 

Hair & Body 

We go through lots of personal care products in our family. Our boys shower daily and our daughter loves her makeup, plus we all need body wash, deodorant, and personal care products. 

Sign up for coupons and freebies whenever you can! Sample bottles can help you out in a pinch and help you save money if you are trying to use less. 

Making your own personal care products can be a great way to save as well if you are willing to learn. You can make deodorant, toothpaste, face wash, dry shampoo and more! I love this dry shampoo recipe I made for my kids and so do they! 

Hair cuts can be costly as well. Try to encourage your kids to take good care of their hair as it will reduce the amount they need it cut. If boys keep their heads shaved you can do their hair cuts at home every month. If you have girls with long hair trims are an easy skill to learn as well and it doesn’t cost a thing. If you can find a hair cutting school nearby they usually look for people to practice on as well so you can get free hair cuts pretty regularly, this goes for all kinds of beauty treatments as well like extensions, hair dye, nails, eyebrows, waxing and more! 

These are just a few of the ways we have saved money over the years for back to school and the rest of the year! How do you plan on spending this back to school season? Are you splurging or are you saving? 

Check out our all socials on our media page to get more amazing tips, tricks, hacks, and help to become more frugal and fantastic! 

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