Save money on your children’s school supplies

Friday, 13/03/2015

If you’re the parent of a child now leaving the nest for the first time, university can seem like a series of one expense after another. First there's the food to take into account, then the cooking utensils, then the cleaning and washing costs, then the cost of transport... and that's before you've got to socialising. However, one area that is often overlooked and where costs can mount up is course materials.

Whether it's textbooks, stationery, or simply the cost of printing out essays at the library, the cost of course materials is often a forgotten but very real factor to be taken into account when budgeting for university. For this reason, we've provided a few hints and tips on ways to save some cash on your course materials:

Buy books second-hand

Probably the most common way of saving money on course materials, buying second-hand text and course books can dramatically reduce your bill before the beginning of term. This can either be done online or in local bookshops, although an alternative is to see if your course has a Facebook page with outgoing students selling their old books on the cheap. Plus, there's always the chance that your second-hand book will contain some useful annotations made by a previous owner.

Only print what's necessary

Although the cost per page for printing at university libraries is often very low, it can quickly can add up, especially if you're printing off a 100 page essay to quote in your own essay. For this reason, it's often a good idea to decide which pages will be useful beforehand, and only print these.

Bulk-buy stationery

While the cost of a pen here or a notepad there can often seem trifling, over time, they'll amount to significantly more than if you'd bought the material in bulk beforehand. One way to save money on paper is to buy a nice ring-binder to fill with cheap refill sheets rather than shelling out on an expensive, colourful notepad each time. Pens, too, are also far better bought in bulk, and will eliminate the risk of losing one the night before an exam.

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Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk