How to Save Money on School Expenses

6:07 PM

With parents facing the reality of increasing educational costs every year, the need to save one way or the other is very evident. Families have different ways of coping with this challenge but one thing that is generally applicable to all is to observe practices that will reduce expenses. These practices need to be simple, doable, and practical.

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Salvage Still Usable Items

In our home, this happens right after the close of a school year. We segregate items that can still be used the following year from those that need to be disposed. Doing this a soon as possible accomplishes two things. First is that we get alerted if something is lost as the sooner we look for it, the more chances there are of finding it. Second is to ensure that still usable items will not get destroyed during summer when matters about school things are the farthest from our minds.

I believe most parents will be familiar with painting materials drying up sooner than they should because containers were left open. Worse if some paint manage to irreversibly stain other school things that could have been used for one more school year or so. More often than not, there are many left-over school materials, some obviously not used at all. This really makes me wonder why they were required by teachers in the first place. Before I buy anything beyond the essentials, I wait for the list of school supplies needed from the teachers.

Repair and Mend

Repairing and mending usually apply to uniforms, bags, and shoes. I take very good care of my children's uniforms because they are always intended to be used for at least two school years. I hand-wash them, only succumbing to the call of the washing machine for drying purposes during rainy days. Uniforms, bags and shoes will have to be repaired and mended as needed to last longer.

Quality shoes and bags are very expensive. I used to favor expensive branded sturdy shoes for my children thinking that I can save a lot since it would last for a long, long time. When I realized that my children quickly outgrew them, I found quality shoes that are priced lower are more practical for their age. We can get more mileage from higher-priced excellently crafted bags which can carry all those heavy books and numerous notebooks required to be brought to school daily. Inferior-quality bags are no match to this task. Buying one higher-priced quality bag that lasts for several school years makes more sense than buying several cheap bags in one school year.

Train Children to Avoid Wastage and Loss

Children need to understand how important it is to take care of their school things. Losing things necessitate buying replacements which reduces available funds for other needs. Wastage of school materials is an absolute no-no and training children on the right path in this aspect will surely serve them well up to adulthood.

It is likewise very important to teach children not to waste food. Parents of young children sometimes need to be creative to encourage their children to eat their "baon" without being forced or worse, throwing the food or letting it spoil . I also use every opportunity to teach my children the value of being thankful for having something to eat in spite of the seeming simplicity of the food we offer to them.

My Say

Saving money on school expenses is actually a family affair since the cooperation of every member is vital. Considering that children's studies will take many years to finish, it would lessen the stress and burden especially on parents when family members help in their own way. I remember my own school days when I wanted everything to be new so I truly understand my children when they want the same thing.

That said, these are different times, very difficult times and a family that is able to adjust accordingly can continue being happy even while making some sacrifices to save.

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