Moura mother Gai Bennie and children Bridie, Ashton and Lucas, came to Rockhampton for their back-to-school shopping last week.
Moura mother Gai Bennie and children Bridie, Ashton and Lucas, came to Rockhampton for their back-to-school shopping last week. Allan Reinikka

Back to school tips

WHILE Moura’s Lucas, Bridie and Ashton Bennie can’t wait to get back to school to see their friends, their mum Gai is juggling the school financial burden.

Gai grabbed the children and their Moura State School stationery lists and took the two-hour trip into Rockhampton last week to start the hour-long ordeal at Officeworks.

“I decided to come to a large stationery store this year so there is a bit more variety and cheaper options.

“The kids’ stationery lists are so particular and seem to get more expensive every year,” said Gai, busily crossing items off her list.

While Lucas (Year 6) needed such items as a box of HB pencils, four erasers, two reams of Reflex photocopy paper, eight feint-lined exercise books, a dictionary and student diary, just to name some, Bridie’s (Year 2) needs included glue sticks, a grid book, library bag, pencils and a calculator.

As well as stationery items for Lucas and Bridie, Gai was shopping for a backpack, lunch box and a few other items for little Ashton, who is starting kindy, as well as new uniforms, shoes and hats for the two school-age youngsters.

The mother of three said that with uniform shirts costing about $37 each and the stationery about $200, along with all the other costs, her bill would reach about $800.

“It will be interesting to see how much it goes up when Ashton starts school, but it seems to be cheaper to shop at bigger stores,” Gai said.

And Gai said her children were “cheap” compared to some.

“They don’t do extra sport or other (costly) activities after school. They just love riding their motorbikes and swimming at the creek. There isn’t much sport outside of school in Moura anyway,” Gai said.

Rockhampton Officeworks manager Lindsay Weeding said they were flat out and this week – the last week of holidays – was traditionally the busiest.

“Particularly the last couple of days before the first day of school are always a mad rush,” he said.

When it comes to back-to-school expenses, Mr Weeding encouraged customers to do their homework.

“It can get expensive, so we encourage customers to shop around and make sure they’re getting the best deals,” he said.


Tips for smarter back-to-school shopping:

1. Make a list and stick to it: Start your back-to school shopping with a game plan by sticking to the recommended required supplies from the school as a framework. Ensure against any potential budget-busting behaviour by being strict.

2. Shop around: It’s worth spending time researching and comparing various brands and prices of the school products and services on your shopping list and pay special attention to refund rights, particularly for bigger items.

3. Consider shopping online: As well as saving you time and parking stress, shopping online provides you the opportunity to easily compare products and prices in real time.

4. Time is money: Make use of any convenient back-to-school services offered in-store including pre-packed school kits, book list services and click and collect-type services that come in handy during this busy time.

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