Avoiding the back-to-school financial blues


It won’t be long before it’s the start of an expensive new school year so Just Credit Union are already looking ahead to help parents meet the financial strain of kitting out their kids for the beginning of term.

Karen Farrow, Chief Officer of Just Credit Union, said “A survey conducted by credit information company Equifax has calculated the average the cost of children starting a new school year. So if parents haven’t had the chance to total up the cost of paying for new uniforms, sports gear, equipment and schools trips etc the research reveals it comes to a staggering £296.82.”

“We have a few hints and tips that can help reduce the total amount needed and then it’s a case of careful budgeting to make the most of the money available. We’re also able to provide both savings and loans to help parents’ finances stretch further to meet the demands of a new school year.”

“As a not-for-profit community bank, Just Credit Union can help people save for the ‘must have new school items’ as well as access to low cost affordable loans – even for new members – with our unique FREE life savings and loan protection insurance at no extra charge.”

Steve Barras, also of Just Credit Union, added “With two children of school age I have the same back-to-school bills to consider. Those parents who have a plan and follow our useful hints and tips will definitely reduce the cost and enjoy the rest of the summer without worrying about the financial implications of getting their children ready for the new school term.”

Our top 6 hints and tips:

1.    Plan early. Have a look at the school’s uniform list. Think about what you really need and, if possible, talk to other parents.
2.    Be a minimalist. Think carefully about how many of each item is really necessary.
3.    Buy early.  Once you’ve made your list don’t leave buying school uniforms until the last minute - when the shops are packed and there’s no time to find those bargains.
4.    Pick pre-loved.  Many schools have a service where outgrown items are donated and then sold on cheaply to raise funds for the school.  Your school might also be open to organising a uniform exchange at the start of term.
5.    Shop around. Standard items such as plain white shirts or black trousers can be bought on a budget from supermarkets or other online retailers. You can even shop around for blazers and buy a school badge to sew on a lower cost blazer.
6.    Label everything.  Clothes are easily left on the bus, lost on playing fields or mistakenly taken from coat pegs.  They are all very costly to replace so make sure you have time to label everything before the start of term.

Just Credit Union, which is based 1A Castle Gates, Shrewsbury SY1 2AQ, 01743 252325, info@justcreditunion.org has paid its members a 2% dividend (interest) on their savings for the past six years.