The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald

The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald.
By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants.

It’s that time of year again – a time when you wonder where the school holidays went.
‘Back to school’ brings plenty of additional costs to the family budget.
From uniforms to text books, having children at school does not come cheap.
According to online retailer LaptopsDirect, the cost of kitting out your children is a staggering £400.
This is an amount to send a shiver down the spine of mums and dads with two or more ‘school age’ children.
But, as with all things financial, planning and proper budgeting pays dividends.
Here are some ways you can cut the costs of sending children back to school.
Buy uniforms a bit larger than you think you need.
Children grow very quickly and you can always take up the hems of trousers and bring them down again when they have a spurt.
Some families buy shoes half a size larger, too.
When it comes to GCSEs and A-Levels, the text books can be very expensive – some of them are between £50-60.
But a bit of shopping around on eBay can pay dividends.
You can often get them for only a few quid from older children who have no use for them anymore.
Other quick tips from a survey conducted by LaptopsDirect include –
  • Give children packed lunches to take to school – and water bottles with diluted juice. 
  • Walk children to school rather than take the car. 
  • Don’t necessarily get uniforms from uniform shops. Supermarkets have some great budget clothing and footwear ranges. 
  • Buy reconditioned or second hand laptops. 
If there are expenses you need to cover, don’t panic.
Are there any subscriptions you could cancel, or unwanted items around the house that you could sell online?
Bear in mind, the cost of procrastination (time wasting) could run into hundreds.
What’s on your to-do list that you’ve been putting off?
We’ve all got those tasks we’d rather not have to do, but it could be costing you.
More than four in ten (42%) of us have faced an extra cost by not doing something straight away, with the average person believing putting off jobs has cost them £156.43 in the past year.
Filing paperwork and bills; organising old belongings for a car boot sale or eBay; and arranging a will have all emerged on a top 10 list of things we put off doing.
When it comes to cancelling old subscriptions, or clearing old clothes out, it appears a lot of us are dragging our heels.
But remember, taking the time to do these things can free up more money to put towards what you really want or need.
Switching is another one of those tasks we hate, whether this is for our credit card, utilities bill or TV packages.
But checking whether you could save money by switching energy provider will only take 20 minutes – and could save you £200!
Balance transfers could also help you consolidate any credit card debts and lower the cost of your credit card borrowings.
You can find out more about money matters on the new-look Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) -
We have a strong and experienced team with great local knowledge all geared-up to helping you get the very best from your finances – whether that is as an individual or as a business.
We stay ahead of the game by putting great store by continual professional development for our staff.
With Investors In People status at Clay Shaw Butler, we care passionately about making sure our staff have all the tools they need to serve you, our customers.
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The team at Clay Shaw Butler can be contacted on 01267 228500.
The team at Clay Shaw Butler are on Twitter. Look for @clayshawbutler.


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