10 ways to save on school books

Buying school books each year can be costly, but there are ways to save money. Read our handy tips to save money on school books for primary and secondary school. 

Each school year parents count the cost of sending their children to school. Whether its uniforms, lunches, transport or books… the costs can all add up.

The Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2023* highlights the cost of school in Ireland and provides some handy tips and tools to manage your back to school budget. 

When it comes to the cost of books, parents spend on average €222 on school books a year for children attending primary school and €393 for secondary school.

Here are some handy tips to help you reduce the cost of school books:

  1. Check what you have already. Siblings could have some of the books already.
  2. Early purchasing could save you money if school supplies and bookshops offer discounts.
  3. Buy second hand if you can.
  4. Shop around as some bookstores might be cheaper.
  5. Buy ebooks instead of hard copies.
  6. Check in with friends and family to see if they have books from their children that they no longer need.
  7. Avail of the book rental scheme. You can find out about how to apply on the Department of Education website.
  8. Use the library as much as possible.
  9. Sell on books when your child is finished with them and use this money to purchase new ones.
  10. If you’re entitled to the back to school allowance, avail of it. More information on this allowance is available on the Department of Social Protection website.

Cost of Education Calculator

Parents can take some measures to reduce the cost of school books. Other solutions to minimising the financial burden of children's education is early planning and financial saving.

Parents can use Zurich's Cost of Education Calculator to work out the annual and lifetime costs of sending children to secondary school and the Cost of College Calculator for third level costs.

Saving for a child’s future

Because the cost of education is high and increases over the years, it make sense to plan ahead, budget and save.

With a Regular Savings plan you can gradually build up the funds necessary to support your children's education.

The table below illustrates just how much regular savings can grow with a Zurich LifeSave Savings Plus plan. For example, if you saved the Government child benefit of €140 per month for five years (as of July 2023) from when your child was born, by the time they started school you could have built up savings of €8,784 in time to fund this crucial stage in their education.

   Savings fund after five years starting primary school Savings fund after 12 years starting primary school 
 Regular contributions of €140 per month*  €8,784  €22,589
 Lump sum of €10,000 and regular contributions of €140 per month*  €19,749  €35,159

A gross investment return of 4.6% per annum is assumed for the 5 year savings fund and 4.6% per annum for the 12 year savings fund. We have assumed that on death, encashment, partial encashment or assignment of the policy or on each 8th policy anniversary, tax is deduced on the gains made at the current rate of taxation, being 41%. A government insurance levy (currently 1% as at July 2022 and may change in the future) applies to this policy. The contribution amounts above are inclusive of this levy. No surrender penalties apply. An annual management charge of 1.35% and an allocation rate of 101% apply. The information contained herein is based on Zurich Life's understanding of current Revenue practice as of July 2023 and may change in the future.   

*Source: Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2023

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