If you’ve been shopping in the past week, you’re bound to have seen the ‘back to school’ aisles in the supermarkets and department stores, stacked high with school bags, school stationery, school lunch-boxes and school clothing … and for many of us that stirs strong memories of the misery of September looming over us.
Anyway, if you’re heading back to school, or college, or outfitting somebody who is, think about what they actually need, rather than getting seduced by the crafty wiles of the supermarkets, who just want you to spend a lot of money.
• If you have a child who takes packed lunches, this year’s theme lunch-box will relate to some cartoon or TV character. Don’t fall for this if your budget is tight, instead, buy some stickers relating to the character, and let your little darling decorate last year’s box with this year’s hero. Not only will you save money, it’s a way of keeping a child quiet on a rainy summer day.
• If you have to buy clothing, try to stick to a theme colour, especially for college. If you have, say, six polo-shirts, three blue, three white, you don’t have to worry about what you wear with them because whatever else you buy, as long as it works with white and blue, will colour co-ordinate.
• Choose a formal shirt for interviews, visits or other events. These days, many colleges have firms and businesses coming into the college, or even work-fairs where companies set up stalls and students get the chance to pitch themselves as work experience candidates or future employees. Having your formal clothing ready at the beginning of the year means you don’t waste an opportunity.
• Get sportswear now. A couple of T-shirts and vests and some shorts mean that your child or college age student is much more likely to take part in organised sports because the kit they need is on hand. Healthy bodies make healthy minds … and smaller waistlines.