buying school supplies

Buying school supplies means different things to students and parents. Kids look forward to having new stuff when they go back to school, while their parents get all stressed out trying to provide everything they need. 

This challenge gets all the more difficult, as school supplies get more expensive each year. And during a pandemic, it’s even trickier to get the best supplies for your kids. But still, a few strategic and budgeting tips can still help you save money this school year.

5 Helpful Tips When Buying School Supplies

Learn How to Recycle Better

buying school supplies
Photo by Jimmie via Flickr, Creative Commons

Make an inventory of your children’s school supplies from last year. For sure, certain items are still in good condition, which means you don’t have to buy new ones. Sort those that can still be reused or recycled for another school year or two. Here are some ideas to trim down your back-to-school expenses:

  • Recycle unused pages from old spiral notebooks. Remove clean sheets from their binding and sew them together to make a new notebook.
  • Refill old pens and markers. Instead of buying new writing tools, you can save money by buying refills.
  • Gather old pencils. As long as they aren’t broken, pencils just need to be sharpened, and they’re good to use again.
  • Use old smartphones and tablets for online classes. Don’t throw away your old gadgets just yet. You can still tweak them to be more usable for online classes.

Set a Budget Based on Your Supplies List

buying school supplies
Instagram photo by @erjrocks

It’s best to wait for the teacher’s school supplies list at the start of the school year and then integrate it with your own before you go shopping. Having just one list for buying school supplies can save you both time and money. Your budget for school supplies will probably be cheaper this school year since face-to-face classes are still prohibited until September[1].

Once you have your list of things to buy, write down the estimated price of each item and get their total. This will help you come up with a realistic budget for your back-to-school shopping. You can check the Department of Trade and Industry’s Gabay sa Pamimili ng School Supplies for the complete list of suggested retail prices (SRPs) of school supplies in the Philippines.

Go Bulk When Buying School Supplies

buying school supplies
Instagram photo by @emzgorgeous

Flea markets or tiangges in Divisoria and Baclaran are the bargain hunters’ favorite shopping destinations, as they offer huge discounts of 10% to 50% for bulk purchases. Just remember to observe COVID-19 protocols because you don’t want to add medical expenses to your back-to-school budget. Here are some tips to remember when shopping at tiangges:

  • Start your shopping early in the morning. Many sidewalk stalls open as early as 7 a.m., with some vendors offering buena-mano discounts to their first customers of the day.
  • Focus on areas that provide the best deals. These include flea markets along Ylaya and Tabora Streets, around New Divisoria Mall, in 168 Mall, and in Divisoria Market.
  • Shop online instead. If you want to avoid the crowd but still want to save money, you can try shopping at online tiangges[2] as an alternative.

Watch Out For Back-to-School Sales and Promos

buying school supplies
Instagram photo by @heyitschristian_15

If sweating it out in the crowded Divisoria or Baclaran isn’t your thing, you can instead buy school supplies on sale in an air-conditioned bookstore or department store. Or better yet, shop online! Search for back-to-school sales that usually start in May. If you have a credit card, you can use it when buying school supplies to avail of exclusive discounts and promos.

Buy Only High-Quality Supplies

buying school supplies
Instagram photo by @redmarkable

When buying school supplies, compare not just prices but also sizes and quality. You’re not saving money if you keep buying supplies and gadgets that will end up costing you in replacements or repairs. Make sure to buy only supplies that are comfortable and easy-to-use for your kids. They must also be durable and will last at least for the whole school year.

When it comes to gadgets, don’t go for the cheap phone or tablets because children aren’t exactly good at handling them. If you want to save a few bucks, buy the flagship models from at least two years ago. These outdated premium models are ideal for online classes and are more likely to last longer than the most recent yet cheaper alternatives.

Final Thoughts

Your money will quickly go down the drain if you’re not strategic when it comes to shopping for school supplies. What you buy today will affect your kid’s quality of education. It is possible to help your children academically without breaking the bank.  

This article also appeared in The Manila Times.

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