With four children in four separate schools, Tasha Williams prepares all year for back to school costs.
Williams has one child in preschool, and children at Kawaha Point School, Rotorua Intermediate and Western Heights High.
"Our key cost is uniform. That can cost up to $700 per child, depending on the school," Williams said.
"This year I managed to get all of ours from buy and sell pages on Facebook."
She ended up spending just $250 on her eldest's uniform.
Stationery is the next highest cost for the family and Williams shopped around for the best price, dropping her initial estimate from $100 to about $60 for all three school-aged children.
She said the family paid school fees as they came.
"My advice would be to save. Even if it's just five bucks a week into a separate account you can't touch. It helps so much," Williams said.
"You don't really miss $5 a week."
She said bring your own device policies were also an added cost families had to bear.
"It's hard, hard work and it's a struggle, but if you're disciplined enough you can make life so much easier."