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Buying School Supplies? 6 Money-Saving Hacks for Matipid Parents

Moneymax Editorial Team

Moneymax Editorial Team

Last updated September 02, 2021

It's that time of year again when the summer heat dissipates, and everyone starts gearing up for the new school year. Kids are getting excited about new teachers, meeting new friends, and shopping for all the school supplies they need. 

The DepED has already announced that the schools would open this August[1] in conjunction with the government’s continuous vaccination program. DepED Secretary Sara Duterte said school uniforms aren’t required in face-to-face classes to ease families' financial burdens.[2] Wearing uniforms has never been a requirement—even before the pandemic—since DepEd Order No. 065 was issued in 2010.

Although that’s a relief to parents, inflation continues to ravage the global economy. Commodities prices, including school supplies, aren’t spared. The good news is that there are a lot of affordable places to shop for school supplies in the Philippines, whether you're looking online or offline. 

Here are some of the best places to get great deals on school supplies! We also covered a few budgeting tips and hacks to maximize your budget. 

Where to Buy Affordable School Supplies in the Philippines

Whether you or your child is starting school or transferring to a new one, the search for affordable school supplies is always on. The good news is that plenty of places to buy everything you need without breaking the bank. Here are some online and physical stores to get you started.

📍 Divisoria

buying school supplies - divisoria
Photo: @redmarkable (Instagram)

Divisoria is one of the best places to buy affordable school supplies because it offers various options at low prices. You can find anything you need, from pencils and paper to textbooks and backpacks. 

In addition, the area is known for its haggling culture, so you can often get even lower prices if you're willing to negotiate. Divisoria is convenient because it's centrally located and easy to get to. No wonder it’s a popular destination for budget-conscious parents and students. 

📍 Baclaran

buying school supplies - baclaran
Photo: @emzgorgeous (Instagram)

Baclaran is one of the best places to buy school supplies in the Philippines because of the wide range of options and the competitive prices. The area is known for its many stalls and shops that sell everything from textbooks to pencils and paper. 

Many independent sellers set up shop, offering even more variety and choice. Prices are often negotiable, so it's worth taking the time to haggle for a better deal. Whether you're looking for affordable notebooks or discount pens, it’s worth the visit. 

📍 Marikina Riverbanks

The Marikina Riverbanks mall is one of the best places to buy affordable school supplies like shoes. As you know, Marikina is home to high-quality and durable shoes in the country. You’ll also find outlets inside the mall if you want to shop for other branded items. 

Marikina is the shoe capital of the country, and buying a pair is worth it given its durability and craftsmanship. This is your chance to support local businesses as well. 

📍 Commonwealth Market

buying school supplies - commonwealth market
Photo: Manny Palmero for ABS-CBN News (Facebook)

Commonwealth Market is one of the best places to buy affordable school supplies. You can find almost everything you need for your child's schooling here, from stationeries and books to uniforms and bags. The prices are reasonable, and the quality is good. 

There's also a lot of variety, so you can find just the right supplies for your child. Just like in Divisoria and Baclaran, you can haggle to get the lowest deals. If you’re in or near Quezon City, then this is an ideal option for you since you’ll avoid transportation costs, and you’ll still get almost everything you need. 

📍 168 Mall Binondo

168 Mall in Binondo is another familiar place in Manila to buy affordable school supplies. The mall is packed with incredibly cheap deals on pens, pencils, notebooks, and other school materials, including handkerchiefs, towels, water jugs, raincoats, and more. 

This is the place to go if you want to get the most bang for your buck when buying school supplies aside from Divisoria and Baclaran. 168 Mall is also conveniently located near several major transportation hubs, making it easy for you to get to and from the mall. 

📍 Sterling (LazMall)

school supplies online shop - sterling lazmall

Sterling LazMall is one of the best places to buy school supplies online for many reasons. It offers a wide variety of products and great discounts and deals on its products. From notebooks to pencils and pad papers, you’ll even lower prices on bulk orders. 

This online school supplies shop provides free shipping on orders over a certain amount on Lazada. Don’t forget to claim your voucher that’ll help you save more items for purchases over ₱1,000. 

Read more: Best Personal Loans to Apply For in the Philippines

📍 Faber-Castell (LazMall)

school supplies online shop - Faber-Castell LazMall

Faber-Castell is one of the world's leading manufacturers of premium art supplies and stationery products. The company has been in business for over 260 years and offers a wide range of high-quality products, including pens, pencils, markers, and art supplies. 

Faber-Castell's LazMall store is the best place to buy school supplies. The store offers a wide selection of products at very competitive prices. 

In addition, the store provides free shipping on all orders, making it easy to get the supplies you need for cheap. 

Whether you're looking for crayons, colored pencils, or other art supplies, Faber-Castell's LazMall store is the perfect place to shop. Buy in bulk and get all the vouchers to save more on items. 

📍 Dong-A (LazMall)

school supplies online shop - Dong-A LazMall

Dong-A LazMall is an online school supplies store to visit because it offers a wide range of products at reasonable prices. The store also has a good reputation for quality, so you can be sure that you're getting products that will last.

If you plan to buy products in bulk such as pens, crayons, oil pastels, and other art supplies, you’ll get discounts, including the vouchers you use. Dong-A LazMall is an excellent choice for anyone looking for affordable art and stationery supplies. 

Personal loan in the Philippines

📍 Other School Supplies Stores to Visit in the Philippines 

National Bookstore, The SM Store, and Office Warehouse are also the best places to buy affordable school supplies in the Philippines, especially if you shop during payday sales on the 15th, 30th, or 8.8 shopping festivals. 

These places offer mall prices of school supplies, but if you’re smart enough to catch the deals early, you’ll likely save money on bulk purchases. You can visit the physical stores or shop online—whatever is convenient for you. 

When Should I Start Buying School Supplies? 

When is the best time to start shopping for school supplies in the Philippines? School supply shopping may not be at the top of every parent's to-do list, but it's important to do it at least one month before the school year begins. 

Not only will this save you time and hassle later on, but it can also help you get better deals on the supplies you need. 

In general, the earlier you start shopping, the better. School supply prices tend to go up as the school year approaches, so it's best to shop early and take advantage of discounts and sales. 

Plus, if you start shopping early, you'll have plenty of time to compare shops and find the best deals on everything from pencils to backpacks. So put school supply shopping on your rainy season to-do list and get a head start on the new school year.

5 Helpful Tips When Buying School Supplies in the Philippines

Recycle Old School Supplies

buying school supplies tips - Recycle Old School Supplies
Photo: Jimmie (Flickr)

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 tips - Set a Budget
Photo: @erjrocks (Instagram)

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 (DTI) Gabay sa Pamimili ng School Supplies[3] for the complete list of suggested retail prices (SRPs) for school supplies in the Philippines. To access the SRP list, click on the "School Supplies" link on the e-Presyo page of the DTI website.

Go Bulk When Buying School Supplies

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 wholesale school supplies. 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[4] 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 student discounts and promos.

Back-to-School Credit Card Promos 2022

On the lookout for great deals on your school supply shopping with your credit card? Here are some promos to check out:

💳 HSBC Shop for School, Double the Chance to Win Raffle Promo
  • Eligible cards: All primary and supplementary HSBC credit cards
  • Promo period: Until July 31, 2022

Get a chance to be one of the 10 lucky HSBC cardholders to win back up to ₱10,000 of purchases,[5] not only school supplies but also uniforms, books, computer software, and tuition fee payment in any of HSBC’s back-to-school merchants.

💳 Metrobank Back-to-School Offers with 0% Installment
  • Eligible cards: All Metrobank credit cards, except for Dollar Mastercard, PRIME, Elite, and Premier
  • Promo period: Until July 31, 2022 to August 31, 2022 (varies per partner merchant)

Get exclusive discounts, e-gift certificates, or freebies with 0% installment[6] when you buy school supplies and gadgets for online classes using your Metrobank credit card at any of these stores:

  • Abenson
  • Anson's
  • Electroworld
  • Silicon Valley
  • The SM Store
  • WarehouseDad
  • Western Appliances

Buy Only High-Quality Supplies

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 the whole school year.

When it comes to gadgets, don’t go for cheap phones 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

The school year is almost here, and it’s time to start buying school supplies! With a little bit of preparation, you can save money while getting everything your child needs. 

We have given you the best places to buy affordable school supplies in the Philippines and helpful tips when buying school supplies. And don’t forget to set a budget based on your supplies list! Buying in bulk is also a great way to save money, just watch out for back-to-school sales and promos. 

Finally, buy only high-quality supplies that will last throughout the school year. We hope these tips help make your back-to-school shopping experience a breeze.

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The Moneymax Editorial Team consists of talented and experienced writers, editors, investors, and subject matter experts on a mission to help Filipinos build healthier financial lives. Browse the Moneymax blog for information and advice on credit cards, loans, insurance, investments, and other personal finance topics. For more financial news and articles, follow Moneymax on LinkedIn.