Back to School Economics

Back to school time can be expensive, but you can take steps to minimise the expense. Textbooks and stationary, uniforms, “voluntary” contributions, fees for extra subjects or activities, buses, sports gear and so-on can all add up to a substantial sum.

Check if there is a book rental scheme operating in the school. School book rental schemes can alleviate the costs of purchasing text books for parents. Effectively, it’s a rental scheme that “pools” the upfront costs of purchasing books for selected classes or set of curriculum books by amortising both the cost of purchase and depreciation of the books over a set period of time, normally 3 years. In general, the scheme is administered in each school by the school principal in association with the Parent Teachers Association

Buying books second hand can lead to significant savings. Selling or swapping books no longer needed can offset the costs of new books needed for the coming year.

Clients of Galway Maths Grinds can advertise school books wanted or for sale on our website and on for free by emailing the details to us. We are not involved in selling or buying the books, simply offering an additional free service for our clients on an experimental basis. Check here for details. If there is sufficient interest we may organise an open day where people can bring or buy school books. Feel free to send us your thoughts on the matter.

Ordering books online can also yield savings, not just in the cost of the books but in the time and effort that might otherwise be spent in going to town to buy them. Usually delivery is free when the order exceeds a certain amount. Even where there is a delivery charge it will usually be less than the price of petrol and parking involved in physically going to the shops. If you want items delivered, make sure it is to an address where someone can receive them. Otherwise use the option, if available, to have deliveries to a local branch of the shop from where you can collect them.

ABC School Books can supply most if not all of your school textbook and stationary requirements through their shops or online at ABC School Books.

Order third level and non-school books on-line  at The Book Depository with free worldwide shipping.

If you are signed up to you can use their code to get a 10% discount on online purchases from Easons. If not already a member, it is free to sign up. Then go to  and at the checkout enter the code PIGSBACK in the box labelled “Discount code”. This code has to be used before the 30th of September.

Another option is to use “cashback” sites like Again this is free to join. And you get cash back for purchases on other sites if you enter them through the Fatcheese site while you are logged into your account. This covers everything from changing utility suppliers to buying office equipment, stationary, insurance, holidays, electrical goods, fashion and more.

Sometimes things are a little more convoluted if you want to maximise the benefit. If you have the time to figure it out you can use one of these deal sites to get even better value through another. For example if you first sign up with Fatcheese and then go through this to access’s megadeals you can get 10% cashback on the latter’s deals.

The main supermarket groups can also offer good value on selected items of stationary and generic items of school uniforms such as grey pants, skirt or jumper before the start of the school year. You have to make your own judgement call on whether buying cheaper but more often or paying more for higher quality items that will last longer suits your own situation best.

Most students get grinds at some stage. You can usually get a reduced rate per person for group classes. In a class of two or three, each student can still get sufficient 1-to-1 attention. Galway Maths Grinds provides this facility subject to being able to match students with similar requirements. This can provide a 25% saving for each student in a class of two, and more for greater numbers of students. See our “Pricing” page for details.

Check out our “Back to school money saving tips” page for further suggestions.

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