Parents this week are scrambling to finalise school uniforms, lunches and stationery as the biggest week of the school year gets under way.
Despite cost-of-living expenses driving up prices on everyday items, bargains are available on uniforms, electronics and stationary during some back to school sales.
"We've worked hard on our sourcing methods and our internal efficiencies," Officeworks head of stationary, art and education Vanessa Kiel told ACM.
Buying school supplies during January and February ensures parents are getting the cheapest prices, Ms Kiel said.
"You want to stock up now because these will be the most competitive prices of the year," she said.
This could mean buying in bulk for items like pens and glue sticks, with bulk purchasing driving prices down further, she said.
Consider buying in bulk and splitting an order with other parents to keep costs low, she said.
Charity stores are prepared for back to school shopping trips, with quality clothes, shoes, stationary and electronics on offer.
"This is what Vinnies is about, helping people get more for their dollar," St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria head of retail Neil Harvey told ACM.
Back to school displays are set up in St Vincent charity stores around Australia - offering lunchboxes, drink bottles, backpacks and other school needs, Mr Harvey said.
"Our team do a great job of sorting out the quality products," he said.
St Vincent de Paul's offer inexpensive electronics and other school supplies through their eBay portal.
These savings are available to parents around the country, with the online store offering shipping.
"Anyone in Australia can get access to that," he said.
Community members with unneeded school supplies are encouraged to donate locally to help struggling families buy education supplies, Mr Harvey said.
"If you have excess from last year, bring it into Vinnies," Mr Harvey said.
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Online price comparisons can help parents find good deals, with software doing the comparative work on behalf of parents.
"At the beginning of the school year, parent gets the list of the approximately 50 things you'll need to buy."
"Then parents have to walk into a store, find them all and compare prices," Ms Kiel said.
Officeworks offer a portal on their website for parents to upload their child's school supply list and the find the most inexpensive matches.
"The portal converts the school list into an online order," she said.
"We look at school lists every year to make sure the products are in our range," Ms Kiel said.
For parents wanting to impress their children with stylish supplies, kids are opting for rainbow and hologram prints, as well as dinosaur and cassette tape motifs, Ms Kiel said.
"Anything retro or neon, the kids are loving them," she said.
Sustainable products are becoming popular, with environmentally friendly versions of glue sticks and scissors selling well, Ms Kiel said.
"If customers can shop sustainably and it's good value, they'll choose those items," she said.
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