Back-to-school shopping can be stressful for parents for a number of reasons, but with some planning, it is possible to save both time and money…

Back-to-school shopping can be stressful for parents for a number of reasons, ranging from crowded malls to energetic children accompanying the shopping trip, or the fear of overspending on school supplies.

John Bradshaw, Head of Marketing at Pick n Pay, says that, as the last weekend before schools reopen dawns, parents shouldn’t fear the experience, as, with some planning, it is possible to save both time and money.

Bradshaw provides five tips on how to shop smart for back-to-school supplies:

  1. Don’t buy the box: Some schools offer a service where you can get your stationery requirements delivered in a box. While convenient, these are often more expensive than buying them yourself. By taking the list and buying the stationery yourself, you can save hundreds of rands and what better way to start the year than with great savings.
  2. Pick your brands: Remember, sometimes a good private label brand from a supermarket will do the job very well. Do your research and ensure you are getting good value for your purchases.
  3. Think of the year ahead: January offers the best specials on stationery – a time when you need it most. If you can, try to buy all the stationery you will need for the year and take advantage of the great back-to-school specials.
  4. #BeatTheBoomerangBlues and plan the lunch box: Avoid those frustrating boomerang lunches (when the lunch comes home again!) by thinking ahead and creating varied healthy lunches that your kids will actually eat. There are many affordable, quick and easy recipes that allow parents to prep lunch boxes in advance to avoid morning rushes. Looking for inspiration? For lunchbox ideas your children will love, visit the Pick n Pay Back to School website.
  5. Get creative: Instead of buying wrapping paper or covers for your children’s school books, encourage them to create their own covers if they’re allowed. This can be done by cutting out pictures from magazines and newspapers or drawing their own designs. Not only will this let you cut back on spending, but it is also a fun activity to share with your children before school starts.