5 back-to-school money saving hacks

If you still have last-minute back-to-school shopping to do, these tips will help you save money on supplies.


Back-to-school shopping can be stressful for parents for a number of reasons including crowded malls, putting up with ratty children and the anxiety of overspending on school supplies. If you’re pinching your pennies, but still have back-to-school shopping to do, these saving tips are a must-read.

ALSO SEE: 5 back-to-school safety tips to teach your child

Do your [shopping] homework

While it might seem obvious, in order to know if you’re getting a good deal on school supplies, you need to know how much the items sell for! Make sure you know the pros and cons of every item, so the buying process is breezy.

Make a [budget] plan

When you know exactly what you need and where to find it, get a budget going. It’s without a doubt the most important part because we know the last thing you want to do is blow your grocery money on pens and pencils. However, you’ll often find the best school supply deals after the back‐to‐school rush, so it’s not the end of the world if you miss something during the shopping rush. It is also recommended you buy before the rush, as you’ll find goods are usually cheaper.

Rent your school supplies

Thanks to Teljoy, the online retailer for appliances, electronics and furniture, you’re able to buy products on a rent‐to‐own model. This essentially means a consumer with a clear credit record and permanent employment can buy a product on a month‐to‐month contract. This includes laptops, TVs, sound systems, cellphones and cameras.

Doing it this way also means you avoid the stampedes that usually go with back‐to‐school shopping. As well as dodging hectic mall parking, you have the benefit of having supplies delivered directly to you. South Africans are becoming increasingly braver about trusting the internet for school shopping, and rightly so. To make things even better, they can upgrade, downgrade or cancel your product purchase at any time. Talk about convenient!

Check out China Town

While it might not be your first choice when it comes to shopping, stores within the China Town complex are unexpectedly helpful when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

Calculators, tape dispensers, staplers, glue… you’ll be surprised just how much is on offer.

Download moneysaving apps

Another helpful tip is to use money saver apps. They help track your expenses and allow you to comprehensively understand how to better afford school supplies. Some examples include:

My financial life

This application analyses your spending and provides insight into how to take control of your spending behaviour. While the Nedbank app is only web‐based, it isn’t limited to those with Nedbank accounts.

My Money

This handy app sets up automatic bank feeds so your income, expenditure, and bank transfers are automatically updated in My Money.


The iOS, Android and web application gives you an automatic overview of your finances and a personalised budget.


This application shows you how much you can spend on a daily basis. It even has the ability to factor in fixed expenses too. If you overspent for whatever reason, the app will recalculate to make sure you reach the end of the month.

Some others are: ShopSavvy and Hollar.com.

Shop on the offseason

Some of the best back‐to‐school deals can be found if you shop off season! This is especially relevant for clothes, as you’ll find it isn’t easy to purchase a winter coat in the middle of summer, but retail experts say the savings will all be worth it! Always be on the lookout for things that’ll come in handy for the coming year/s.

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