High prices, difficulties in buying textbooks, the necessity to strike a happy medium between dream school supplies for our child and the capabilities of the household budget. It is a good idea to tend to it earlier in order to avoid tension and save money.
Every year parents are confronted with the problem of appropriate preparation of their children for school. At the beginning of last school year, parents spend on average PLN 1,199 on school starter kits, i.e. 7% more than in the preceding year. What was included in these costs? Primarily textbooks, school supplies, uniforms, obligatory fees – e.g. for insurance, tuition, boarding house, and lodgings. Average expenses per on child amounted to PLN 826, which is more than the amount spent in the preceding year*. And what will it look like this year? In order not to let the expenses for the school kit exceed our capabilities, it is worth to remember about several rules which will help you stick to your household budget.
Before going for shooting to buy school supplies, it is a good idea to make a list with your child of the necessary items and stick to it, not succumbing to temptation in shops. It will also be easier if you plan a specific budget for this purpose. It is also a good idea not to take more money with you than planned, to really stick to the budget. A previously prepared list should from the start include all the necessary aspects. Here are some ways ho not to ruin your household budget before the beginning of the school year. According to the study conducted by TNS Polska on behalf of KRUK Group, 49% of Poles say that their children participate in the planning of household budget, including the budget for the school kit. Whereas 2% of the respondents admitted they teach their children how to spend money reasonably and how to save**.
Plan most of the shopping even one month before the beginning of the school year, thanks to which you will avoid the high shopping season and the highest prices. You can postpone the purchase of less necessary articles to September, as the prices then will also be lower. It is a good idea to buy notebooks, pens and pencils, and other supplies such as rubbers, paints or crayons in discount shops. The prices of these articles in such shops are very attractive.
Many schools require parents to buy the latest editions of textbooks, therefore finding a given book at a lower price may be difficult. This, however, is not a rule. In a situation when we can choose the edition of the textbook and the place where we can buy it, we look for cheap books shops, book fairs, and markets. In such places the prices will be much lower than in book shops. Remember that it is a good idea to buy textbooks with a group of people. This way, you can often get a significant discount. Buying online, using price comparison engines or group sales can also bring measurable benefits. It is a good idea to sell your old textbooks.
According to the study conducted by CBOS, almost half (46%) of the families in 2013 planned to enrol their children for paid educational and general development classes. For a dozen or so years, the most popular activities are foreign language lessons and sporting activities. If you cannot afford this kind of additional expense, enrol you child for free classes organised in a cultural centre or extra-curricular activities at school.
* CBOS's study "Current problems and events" (281) conducted through face-to-face computer assisted interviewing (CAPI) on 3–9 October 2013 in a random representative group of 1066 adults living in Poland: http://www.cbos.pl/
** A study conducted by TNS Polska on behalf of KRUK Group "Financial education of Poles"