Back to school on a budget

BACK-TO-SCHOOL shopping can be an exhausting, and expensive experience and many parents start off on the wrong foot before they even get to the store. But there are simple ways to make this annual shopping trip efficient and affordable. Here are some tips to make sure you check everything off your child’s school supply list, and keep some money where it belongs-- in your pocket.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL shopping can be an exhausting, and expensive experience and many parents start off on the wrong foot before they even get to the store. But there are simple ways to make this annual shopping trip efficient and affordable.

Here are some tips to make sure you check everything off your child’s school supply list, and keep some money where it belongs-- in your pocket.

Get a list from your child’s school

Make a list of the back-to-school items they need. Once you’ve got a list, stick to it. Thirty-five percent of parents admit to purchasing school clothing and supplies using the “I see it, I like it, so I buy it” motto. Why buy what your child won’t need?

Make a budget

Use your list to figure out what you absolutely need and compare with your household budget to determine how much you can spend. Make it a fun family activity to search out the lowest prices on things you need and give a small prize to the person who saves the most money.

Affordable, fun clothing

One of the biggest back-to-school expenses are new clothes. Do shopping at stores with a good bargain on the outfits you need. Kids will outgrow a Rwf25,000 shirt just as quickly as a Rwf2,000 shirt, so think affordability and durability. Stick to stylish, durable, age-appropriate clothing that’s always affordable.

Added savings

Buy school supplies like notebooks, paper, pens, binders, scissors and glue in bulk at wholesale stationary stores for extra savings. Make use of your shopping coupons if you want to save thousands of francs on your child’s supplies on your list.

Look over your supplies

Let’s face it, your child didn’t use all of his crayons, pencils, erasers and rulers last year. Admittedly, they might not be in the greatest shape, but by taking careful inventory of what he already has and can reuse, you potentially can put a check mark next to one or two items on the supply list.

Stop before you hit the store

Before you even head out the door, “shop” around your house first. You’d be amazed what you can find when you look around in drawers and in the back of your closet.

You may even find a box of pens and notebooks you’d stocked up on earlier, and then put away and forgotten about.

Soon you’ll be waving goodbye as your children once again head off to school.

ARA, Women’s Web

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