With the summer holidays coming to a close in just a few days, many parents are still dreading the back to school shopping trip. This annual stock piling of school supplies is often a cause of frustration and is almost guaranteed to blow a significant hole in your household budget.

In order to keep stress and spending to a bare minimum, here are a few more practical and easy money-saving tips to help you equip your child with everything they need for the new term without breaking the bank.

Buy stationery in bulk

If you’ve got more than one child or could use a few extra pens around the house, buying stationery in bulk can offer significant savings and make sure that your little scholars have everything they need both at home and at school throughout the entire academic year.

Websites such as Amazon and eBay do some great buy in bulk deals on notepads, pens and everything else your child could possibly need stationary wise, so be prepared to shell out a little extra at first, and you’ll reap the rewards as the year goes on.

Strike a balance

We all know that branded goods carry a high price tag, but providing your child with all the big names they want can completely blow your budget before you’ve even started!

However, you do want them to look forward to the new term, so try to strike a good balance. For example, say yes to that Smiggle pencil case, but insist on non-branded stationery or purchase the much-coveted school bag but opt for a plain lunchbox to help even things out.

Buy in advance

Timing is critical for getting the best out of your back to school budget, and you could find yourself paying a lot more than you originally thought if you leave your shop to the last minute as all of the best value items may have already been snapped up. Instead, try to buy a few items per week as soon as you can as this helps spread the cost and can ensure that you get the best deals.

Leave non-essentials until last

While you’ll obviously need to have school uniforms and some stationary before the first day back at school, leave anything non-essential until a week or so after the term starts. Many retailers will put their back to school items on sale as the new school year gets underway so you should be able to find some great deals.