Only a parent knows that special fear of sending their children back to school after the holidays. No it’s not fear of criminal elements that I am referring to but fear of the effect it will have on the family’s budget.
Back to School
While it is true that when the children were on holiday they seemed to develop monster sized appetites and eat everything in sight, at least you had holiday dinners with extended family to attend.
Another good situation for the budget was that the children were home every day so there was no need to top up smart cards or worry about finding lunch money.
On vacation you could also stretch their lunch into dinner and it really helped when you took advantage of holiday discounts.
However going back to school has put an end to all that as many students headed out on the road this Monday.
So what were the extra costs?
Well beside providing lunch money and bus or taxi fare, students also might need stationery supplies and new text books. Since it’s a new term students might change subjects or need additional materials as they cover new topics.
Students also go through growth spurts so the uniform which fit great a few weeks ago is suddenly too tight or short. This means a trip to buy new uniforms which can further dent the budget.
Parents at some schools also have to factor in paying school fees if this is done termly. Let’s not forget lunch kits especially for younger children! They often get damaged and can’t be used in the second term.
You can save money!
How can parents deal with these new demands on their budgets?
Well instead of having to deal with lunch money, why not send your child with a packed lunch? Not only is it cheaper to do so it is healthier as well! If you vary the menu and use leftovers from the previous night dinner in creative ways then you will reap the benefits.
Instead of buying the new textbooks, check with relatives and friends to see if they have one you can borrow. Some schools even arrange for past students to sell their old textbooks at a reduced cost.
Uniforms which are too tight can be adjusted by a good dressmaker and by doing this you will avoid a trip to the store. If you have to purchase new shoes for more than one child, try a store which offers a ‘buy one get one half off sale’.
Although back to school can be stressful as some costs can’t be avoided, it’s important to plan ahead so that the budget remains intact!
So how do you prepare for those back to school expenses?
Let me hear from you!
Teri Ann Renee Paisley
Gleaner Online writer