With school season officially in full swing, it’s time once again for parents and students to budget their money for enrollment fees, books, school materials, and other miscellaneous fees.
For parents and students working their way through college, it’s an exciting and stressful time. And while education is technically free in public schools, it’s absolutely given that there will be quite a bit of money involved in school, whether it’s on books, materials, clothes, food, or whatnot.
Here are 10 practical ways to save money at school.
1. Buy During the Off Season
Buying school supplies during the off season usually saves you more money when buying during the months of June (beginning of classes) and October and November (semester break.) Be sure to take note of what materials your children needs to know what to buy.
2. Look for Discounts and Bargains
If you’re buying school supplies in bulk, every peso counts. For instance, if you can find a discount of 5 pesos off a notebook, buying 10 notebooks each for your 3 children helps you save 150 pesos.
3. Skip Mall Shops and Department Stores
Don’t just limit your search to National Bookstore. Go downtown and look for the older school supplies stores for the lowest prices on pens, pencils, papers, and more. Places like Baclaran and Divisoria in Manila, and Colon in Cebu often have better prices compared to malls and department stores.
4. Buy Only the Necessities
If you have a limited budget, avoid buying school supplies to please your children. I know parents want only the best for their kids, but when the budget’s tight, stick to buying only what’s needed and not what’s wanted. Frivolous purchases add up quickly, and before you know it, you’re borrowing money for tuition.
5. Make Brand Comparisons
Be sure to compare brands of the same products when buying school supplies. There’s absolutely no reason why you should be buying a Moleskine notebook when a 15-peso notebook will do the job just fine.
6. Reuse and Recycle
Do you have old notebooks with unused pages from the last school year? Consider recycling them to save money. It will take a bit of effort to take unused pages from old notebooks and combine them into a new notebook, but hey, savings.
7. Pay Quality
When buying school uniforms, it pays to go for quality. Sure, the initial investment will cost you more, but quality school uniforms are more likely to last the entire school year, and maybe even for a few more years after that.
8. Bring Packed Lunch
Canteen lunches aren’t exactly cheap, especially when compared to the price of preparing meals at home. Prepare packed lunches and healthy snacks for your kids; this also ensures you know what they’re eating instead of the junk food so common in school.
9. Look for Used Books
Why buy brand new textbooks when you can save hundreds of pesos gently-used alternatives? You can ask friends and relatives sending their children to the same school your child is in if they have intact copies of their books.
10. Keep an Inventory of School Supplies
Keeping an inventory of school supplies helps you keep track of your spending and lets you know when it’s time to buy new materials. Stock up on the small items like pad paper, bond paper, manila paper, pencils and more.