Just 3 weeks until our baby girl starts school for the first time and the big kids head back. This year we send 4 kids off to school, 1 returns to preschool and the baby stays home with me. And yes it’s proving to be an expensive time of year getting everyone ready. One needed a complete uniform to start big school, two need a few bits and pieces as they move on from infants to primary, most needed a new pair of trainers, one needed new black school shoes, everyone needed new lunchboxes, one needs a full list of stationery, three need a few textbooks and me? I need to give my bank balance a rest. I’ve been tallying everything up in my diary and it’s all adding up.
Well the first thing I did was make everyone bring down their school shoes and trainers. 2 of the kids had new school shoes midway through last year, 1 girl had a choice of 2 school shoes a size up from a girl who never scuffs her shoes so that was one nice relief. 1 boy had the stinkiest trainers out there and 1 girl had a pair that were too small. And our sweet little girl needs trainers as her school shoes. So I went to the kids shoe shop who had 20% off Clarks and 3 pairs of trainers, 1 pair of school shoes later we were done school shoe shopping. I did think about the day I might need to get 6 pairs of school shoes and trainers. Oh boy.
Last year I had this great idea to do all the kids school shoes at a budget shoe place. It was ok for 2 girls with the school shoes but the girl trainers fell apart and the boy school shoes lasted half way through the year before falling apart. So it wasn’t the cheapest option in the end and one of the girls needed a wider shoe.
Everyone has a different budget so look for good quality that you can afford, a solid back of the shoe that gives support and that you can’t push down easily, width of your thumb at the end of the shoe for growth and if you can get them fitted then go for it and get the correct size. It’s ok to get fitted and shop around to get the best price. My other advice is if you have very narrow or very wide – we fall on the very wide side of shoe fittings – then don’t leave it to late. Oh and wear those shoes around the house before school starts. Or if you’re like our 5 year old, wear your shoes to church with a nice dress because you just can’t take those shoes off. She loves them.
Next up was lunchboxes. This year I’ve decided to go stainless steel. The tupperware/lunchbox cupboard is heaving and things fall out on me. We’ve got mismatched containers, broken lids and who knows what else lives in there. I decided to bite the bullet and go stainless steel for lunchboxes this year. I know that there are cheaper options but I’ve wanted to do it for a while and just decided out with the old and in with the new. And my Tupperware cupboard will get the mother of all cleanouts.
I settled on the lunchbots for most of the kids (I bought mine here) and the yumbox (not stainless steel) for our school starter as it is easy to open herself. I’ve never sent a little one with special needs off to school but I know that they will have some help with lunchboxes but this is an easy clip on the yumbox and she seems fine with it.
I’m going to write a post on lunchboxes but have to say if you’re looking at a good affordable one you can’t beat the nude food mover lunchboxes from the supermarket which have pretty much lasted the year and were great with the small containers for fruit break in the morning at school. Even my biggest boy with his huge appetite had enough room for plenty of food in there.
Drink bottles? Well I just love the Tupperware ones. We have them in an assortment of colours and you can write their names or place the stickers on the top or bottom sections and they are a good size with no leaks. I hate leaking drink bottles. We also have a few good stainless steel ones in the mix but make sure that your kids can close them properly…if you want a dry school bag.
This year I did stationery online with officeworks and their free delivery to avoid the shops and taking all 6 lovely little ones with me. Don’t forget to buy contact to cover books. My girls did use some of their Christmas money to buy smiggle pencil cases which is definitely not the budget option but was a practical way to use their Christmas money. That shop is just heaven for my girls and my littlest one loved it.
I tend to always buy new because I have little ones to hand down to. Anything that I won’t need because our little girl is going to a special school will be going to the 2nd hand uniform shop along with the netball uniform since art and gymnastics are on the activities list for 2016 and not netball.
Look after your school uniforms especially winter dresses/skirts and blazers as you can get a good amount back on them in the uniform shop. I hand wash most of mine and dry clean blazers during school holidays.
Don’t be afraid to buy extra shirts or summer dresses 2nd hand to keep as spares/back ups. I always do a quick scan of the 2nd hand rack and we got a great sports jacket when my big girl started school that is still going strong.
Please be sure to buy yourself 2 sunhats for the playground. The kids hate missing out on playtime because they’ve misplaced their hat or had it taken. Hats going missing kill me because they always do but it does get easier when the kids get older/more responsible. But trust me I have a few who lose their hats on a very regular basis. Get the name written on the hat with a sharpie as soon as you get the hat or before you leave the uniform shop!
Name labels well of course I used my lovely new label maker. However for my little girl starting special school I wanted something very big that she could recognise so fruit and her name in big letters made it easy from a personalised label shop were in order. I bought her a complete set.
And that’s that. With most of the back to school shopping done I can now look forward to saving for term 1 fees.
Any tips or words of wisdom from my readers?
And while we’re in a back to school mood, here are a few posts you might like