Tag Archives: saving tips

How To Save On Back To School Necessities

It’s official! Summer vacation is over soon for most kids and it’s back to school time once again!

I also get the jitter before the school opens every year. That means, parents will have to start tightening their budgets, check required stuff for the kids to use in their new school year, check how much the next tuition will be, what needs to be bought for the kids this time around.

Regardless of  what every parents with schooling kids have to go through for the much anticipated school opening day, we, as a mum of a college kid, will have to prepare ourselves for what they will need for the coming school opening. It doesn’t mean that everything will have to be brand new. There are many ways to save on the splurges by recycling, repairing, cleaning and repurposing some existing school items that our kids already have. Here are some saving tips I have devised, and have done for my daughter when she was studying here in Dubai.


Re-stitch blank pages of notebooks into new ones

I used to do this when my daughter was in younger years. I would gather all her notebooks from the previous term and carefully remove the blank pages. I double check first if the ones she would need for the next term would be the same lined notes and when confirmed, I make around 2-3 new notebooks out of the old one.

You can do the same too! It will save you some money that you can use for buying new pens.


Sell old textbooks

After each school year, I collect all my daughter’s previous textbooks and remove name labels from them. I clean the outer cover and re-sell them to others. Most of the time, I get to sell all her textbooks that were usable and I use the sales proceeds to buy for her next term’s books.


Clean and repair shoes and bags

I try not be very stingy but school fees here in Dubai is not a joke. A grade schooler’s one school term’s tuition fee is almost like paying a college degree back home and that is without exaggeration. So, I try to save by repairing her shoes by changing the soles and heels. They look good as new except for very few scratches on the leather outer layer.

For her bag, she used backpacks most of the time so I would always buy backpacks made of canvas so I could wash it. I would check for the handles for any loose stitchings and reinforce them again by restitching to make them sturdier. Her GAP backpack lasted for several years until I begged her to stop using because of the fraying stitches. We saved a lot for not buying too many backpacks for her over the course of her schooling here in Dubai.


Avail of back-to-school offers

Numerous establishments offer back-to-school promotions and you can save big time if you need to buy new stuff for your kids. If you have more than one kid going to school, then it will be a good deal to just purchase by the bulk as long as the items are going to be used by your kids regardless of their level in school. Just make sure that you secure the requirements’ list from the school before you go loco with bulk-buying of school supplies. You don’t want to end up with so many school things your other kids won’t even be able to use.


Save Money And Cut Back On Unnecessary Expenses

I am trying to cut back on many unnecessary expenditures so we can save more than what we should. This is because my daughter is going to college in 2014, we may start the house construction as well and we will be shuffling back and forth for those reasons. And because of those reasons, I am trying to augment our household income by blogging and creating handmade cards. I have yet to set up my handmade cards’ site as I build my stock but I will get there.

If you are in the same boat as I am or at least, have other projects to do that will require a chunk of your savings or have children in school or sending a family member to school then you will relate to these tips on saving money and cutting back on unnecessary expenses that my family have undertaken. Remember, it’s not too late so start saving now.

Lessen the family trips
We love traveling and every year we do that, not just once but several times. Even if we get super low fares because we are airline staff, we still need to bring pocket money, pay for the hotel (if we’re not staying with relatives) and pay for food and tours. It takes a slice out of the savings pie so this year and onwards, the only travel we will have is back home.

Sell unwanted items at home or those barely used or not used at all
My recent summer cleaning yielded plenty of great finds that I can actually sell and make money of. I found several barely used bags, some dresses and garments still with the tags on, my daughters old toys, my fashion accessories that I no longer use, some shoes gathering dust and books read only once. If I sell them all in the flea market, I’ll probably have a decent proceeds from my unwanted stuff.

Refrain from dining out
We love to eat out because by the time we come home, we are just too tired to even lift our fingers and prepare food for cooking. However, that has to change. I have been cooking more and more as the days go by. I cannot afford to spend ridiculous amount of money for fast food when I can cook healthier and cheaper versions at home. That will certainly cut back my expense to half.

Cancel magazine subscription
I used to subscribe to crafty magazines but decided to end the subscription this year. I can get ideas anyway in the internet and I don’t need another pile of stuff to gather dust at home. This saved me $70 per year.

Buy wholesale
Yes, it may sound like it’s hoarding but it’s not. We buy our food in bulk now unlike before. We would buy 1 or 2 and go back to the mall to buy for the next weekend. We try to get those food that are packed together because they are promotional offers. Also, we go to the fish market to get our fresh seafood supply which is 25-50% cheaper than the ones sold in the groceries in town.

Don’t go shopping impulsively
Before I even go to the mall these days, I ask myself if there’s something very important I need to buy. If the answer is no then I don’t go out. Sometimes, it’s just that sudden urge to window shop that leads to spending unnecessarily that gets me in trouble. Now, I know better.

Pay off your credit cards
If you have other means to pay bigger amount every month rather than the minimum, do so. Don’t let the credit interest pile up because if that happens, it will take you several years to finish one card. If you can, close them. Retain one if you have to only for emergency cases.

Put some money towards bonds
Check the financial institutions in your community and see if they have great deals for bonds that will give you high interest yield if you invest for a period of time. We have managed to save our money in various time deposit and bonds scheme so at least, there are interests going around in each account.


Avoid the Back-to-School Hassles and Save Money

Well, summer has ended for my teenager and much as we want to extend her vacation, we all know, that can’t be done. I am a very busy mom and I need to squeeze in time to go to her school and facilitate the purchasing of books and notebooks and payment of school fees for the coming school year.

To avoid any hassle or hiccups along the way, here are tips to avoid any back-to-school hassles and ways to save money on school stuff:

  • If you have enough vacation leave to spare or few hours from work to take off, then do everything you can do in school in one go like buy the school books and notebooks and pay the school fees.
  • Pay the school fees in advance, and if possible and if the budget permits, pay the full school year’s fee. That way, you don’t have to keep coming back every month to settle the bill.
  • Avail of any online payment offered by the school. My daughter’s school is quite up to date in terms of e-commerce. Their school website offers online payments so parents who cannot go to the school to pay personally can do so in the comforts of their homes or offices using the online payment system. The only caveat here is that you will have to pay the fees with your credit card. If you are the pay-in-cash kind of person then you will still have to make time to visit the school personally.
  • Scout for old books from parents you know who have kids in the same school but are more senior. This will save you money from buying the new sets of full books. Ask around your colleagues and if they have friends who study in the same school as your kid. If the books used have not been revised then you may make a bargain by buying the second hand books at a lesser price considering their wear and tear condition.
  • If you have time to spare during the weekend, cover your kids books and notebooks now so you don’t cram come school day.
  • Prepare the uniforms weeks in advance. Press them and hang them in the closet.
  • Shine the school shoes too in advance and keep them neatly stacked in the shoe rack. I don’t normally buy my daughter fancy shoes but something sturdy to last a full school year, and if we’re lucky, for another term. If the shoes are still well-maintained and usable, avoid buying new ones. Just shine them and probably have the soles stitch to reinforce durability that will make the shoes last another school term.
  • Keep the socks bundled by pair to avoid searching last minute for misplaced or missing partner. This will save you time and the agony of searching for the missing sock.
  • Clean the bags from unnecessary clutter and put their notebooks and books ready.
  • If the pens, erasers, rulers and pencils are still usable from last year’s school supplies, then use it again. You will save a significant amount of money by not purchasing another set of unnecessary pens and pencils.
  • Re-use old pencil cases. If they are fabric, just wash them and hang them dry. If they are plastic, clean with a wet and slightly soapy cloth and wipe then hang dry. Try to re-use whatever left over school supplies your kids have from the previous school year.
  • Keep a time chart ready for your kids to fill up once they have their roster. This will help you and your kids to manage your time wisely and stick to a regular study plan.

With all these tips in mind, I hope you and your kids will have a hassle-free back-to-school time. 

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