How to Save Money Throughout the School Year

How to save money throughout the school year

By: Jennifer Palisoc


Does your “To do” list seem to grow by the minute during the school year? Whether it’s signing up for programs or getting the right school supplies, it all costs money, and costs can add up quickly!

No matter what age your children are, from when they’re babies to the moment they’re college bound, here are some tips for saving money all year round.


Saving money starts with a plan and a budget

We hear it all the time but planning ahead truly does help. By looking at the big picture and figuring out how much programs, classes, extra-curricular activities, books and clothes will cost, you can set a budget and work within it.

How to find savings: infant to daycare

They’re not in school yet but these little ones still have big needs! Here’s how to stick to your budget with baby in tow:

Don’t buy everything new: Little ones grow so quickly! Borrowing items or buying gently used clothing will generate big savings. One way to do this is to connect with family and friends and hold a clothing swap. Check out the top 3 items new parents waste money on.

Find free services: Did you know there are many child and family programs available for free? Do your research, ask family, friends, even parenting groups for the inside track on free programming available in your community.

Gifts for the future: Ask family and friends to consider contributing towards a child’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) instead of giving a gift during a birthday or holiday. This will not only add to the RESP but can help maximize education savings because of government grants.

Ways to save: elementary school

Take stock: Do an inventory of what your child already has. Maybe you can hold off on buying new pairs of shoes. Or – wait! Those shirts that were a birthday present from Aunt Joan will finally fit this year! Whether it’s water bottles, backpacks or blue jeans, whatever can be used again will keep money in your pocket.

Fashion redesign: If you’re crafty, finding a way to re-purpose clothing will save you cash. Change the buttons or add embellishments! By taking old clothes and making them new will mean more savings.

Lunch money savings: By pre-planning lunches and in turn, your grocery list, you can check out grocery store deals using apps or good old fashioned flyers. Be sure to “price match” for more discounts and savings.

Budgeting bliss: high school

Earning power: Pick up a part time job that you can work after school or on the weekend. See if family, friends or neighbours need odd jobs or chores done. Avoid impulse spending so that the money you earn turns into bigger savings. Added bonus: build your resume using this work experience for the future.

Closet savings: Find classic and unique looks at thrift stores or consignment shops. Want to save on buying that uniform? Some schools hold used uniform sales.

Pumping up post-secondary education savings

Buy textbooks second-hand: There are lots of resources on campus and online for finding used textbooks. Are books available in the library? Speak with your professors and other students to make sure you’re working with an edition that makes the grade.

Reading Week Holiday: While it would be nice to take off for an all-inclusive island getaway, it’s not always in the budget. A great break could mean playing tourist in your own city and having a great staycation while saving loads of cash.

Sell your stuff: Take a look around. Is there anything you could sell or swap? Put up a sign in residence or the main building on campus. See if there’s a Facebook group for a swap and sell event, where at some schools they’re run through environmental clubs.

Saving money isn’t always easy, but being proactive, resourceful and realistic about your budget throughout the school year can help you boost your bottom line.

Jennifer Palisoc loves getting to the heart of a good story. As a former television news reporter, she knows great stories are shared when people truly 'connect’. Jennifer also enjoys spending time with family and friends. A proud auntie to her niece and nephews, she can be found carpooling or chasing them on the playground! Jennifer is CST’s Social Media & Communications Specialist. You can also catch her on the volleyball court, on Social or planning her next adventure!