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Tips to manage school costs and how an Education loan can help

Helpful Money Tips

Organising kids and their back-to-school gear involves many expenses that can quickly add up.

Uniforms, books and stationery are just some of the up-front costs that can’t be avoided, but there are ways you can reduce the amount you spend.

To help, we’ve compiled 3 smart tips to cut your costs and highlight what to consider if you need a little help financing your school expenses.

3 smart tips to manage school expenses

1. Opt for second hand

Pre-loved uniforms are generally sold by most school uniform shops, P&C’s or dedicated Facebook pages at greatly reduced costs, so ask someone in the know or check your school newsletter/notifications.

Similarly, for books, electronic devices and other equipment, ask around for online forums/marketplaces or arrange with a parent of an older child to have a standing arrangement to buy their used school items as soon as they’re finished with them.

2. Don’t buy everything at once

Find out what your child needs for each term and only purchase what they need to start with.

Spreading the cost and budgeting for each term can help reduce the amount you need to outlay and help avoid unnecessary debt.

3. Check if you are eligible for Government Assistance

You may be entitled to financial assistance to help you cover parts of your child’s education costs. Each state has their own schemes/allowances which are outlined below.

State Assistance Information New South Wales Financial support for students

Active Kids voucher

Creative Kids voucher

Victoria Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund

Student scholarships

State Schools Relief

Queensland Textbook and resource allowance South Australia School Card scheme Western Australia Secondary Assistance Scheme Northern Territory Financial help and scholarships A.C.T Secondary Bursary Scheme Tasmania Financial assistance with school levies

You can also approach the school directly if you are faced with any form of financial difficulty to see what assistance they may be able to offer you.

What to consider if you need to borrow for school expenses

There are many different finance products available in Australia that can be used to assist with back-to-school expenses, including an education loan (a type of personal loan), a credit card or a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) product.

When deciding what finance or loan product to use, start by asking yourself the following 3 questions:

1. Is it affordable and easy to budget for? 2. Can it be repaid quickly and ideally closed? 3. Are you disciplined with debt or can it get out of control?

With BNPL products, it’s important to be aware that their repayments are calculated over a very short term, meaning your required weekly/fortnightly payment can be a substantial amount to comfortably afford. Products that offer a longer repayment term, such as an education loan, can provide a more sustainable option.

In terms of budgeting, decide if a set repayment amount works better for you, or if you are confident you can manage varied monthly repayment amounts, which a credit card statement requires.

And don’t forget, if you only stick to repaying the minimum monthly repayment, it can effectively take many years to repay a credit card (and a lot of interest).

Another consideration is if you can pay the facility off quickly or even ahead of schedule? Always ask this question as some BNPL schemes do not allow this, unlike education loans and credit cards.

And lastly, how disciplined are you really with money? Credit cards offer the ability to continuously redraw the limit back to its original amount, so if you know debt is not something you manage well, choose a facility that is a reducing debt and can be closed.

Here at Fair Go, we believe choosing a finance product that is easy to budget for, and has the flexibility to be repaid and closed earlier (saving you more) is one of the wisest options.

Why choose a Fair Go Finance Education loan?

Our small education loans up to $2,000 start at half the cost of our competitors because our rates are tailored to reward your unique credit profile and history.

And on top of this, as the only small loan lender who has implemented Comprehensive Credit Reporting since October 2019, you can actively boost your credit score simply by successfully repaying a loan with us.

So, if you are looking for a smart way to finance your back-to-school expenses, go forward with a Fair Go Finance Education loan today.