How to bounce back from back to school costs
If the kids are now back at school, your savings have probably taken a bit of a hit. New uniforms, sportswear, even hi-tech gadgets are often on the list for a new term and can cost a lot more than you expected.
So what can you do to make sure you don't head into Christmas still trying to pay for school essentials? Here are our top tips.
1. Know your budget
A simple budget planner like the one on the Money Advice Service website will help you understand exactly what money you have.
If you're spending more than you earn each month, the sooner you take action the better.
2. Make sure you're paying off as much credit card debt as you can
Did you pay for a blazer or smartphone on your credit card? A common mistake is to just make the minimum repayment each month. If you do this it will take far longer, and be much more expensive, to clear the debt than paying off as much as you can.
3. Find ways to cut back
Use the budget planner to see where you are spending more than you thought. It could be you're spending more than you realised on taxis, or perhaps there are some old memberships and subscriptions you just don't use or need any more. Food is a very common area where savings can be found, by reducing waste and shopping smarter.
4. Make the big switches
Gas, electricity, TV, internet, phone... we all know we should move to a cheaper deal, but finding the time can push them further down the to-do list. But these are actually easy wins. You can save £300 a year by switching energy supplier according to Ofgem – and it can take just 30 minutes.
5. Claim benefits you're entitled to
From school meals to help with the cost of uniforms, you might be able to bring down the costs for this term and beyond.
6. Start planning Christmas NOW
Yes, it's only September, but Christmas will creep up very quickly, and the sooner you work out how much money you'll need for presents, gifts, travel and food, the less likely you'll end up borrowing more than you can afford to cover the costs.
Discover some more tips to help on back to school costs in this video.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.