Being forecasters avoids last-minute surprises and, above all, helps us save on the shopping list.
And, one of the main problems that families face when children return to school, is the significant financial outlay that textbooks, clothing, school supplies entail… especially when we have more than one son. From my experience as a large family mother, I share some of my tricks so that the return to school is more bearable for our pockets.
In a survey conducted by the OCU to families with school-age children, it was seen that Spanish families spend between 1,900 euros per year per child up to 5,000 euros (if they are private schools), but the main disbursement is usually done in September with the purchase of the material and clothing that the kids will need.
To save costs, experts advise planning purchases, reusing material and comparing prices, but, from my experience, I believe parents can do much more. These are my advice, as a large family mother, so that the return to school does not stop shivering our pockets.
Subsidized, borrowed or used textbooks
1)Many Autonomous Communities offer different types of help for the purchase or rental of textbooks.
In some schools, through the Student Parent Associations, there are also book loan programs or even in some municipal libraries this service can be found.
But the request for textbook grants for the next academic year is usually made months before the end of the current course, so for 2018-2019, the grants should have been requested months ago.
On the websites of the Ministry of Education and the Councils of the different Autonomous Communities, the requirements and deadlines for applying for scholarships are published every year; Therefore, if this opportunity has been missed for the course that is about to start, stay tuned for the 2019-2020 course.
So, before launching to buy textbooks it is advisable to have exhausted these options by collecting information in advance so that if you meet the requirements to apply for these grants, you can request them as soon as possible and within the announced deadline
2) Using second-hand books of brothers and acquaintances is perhaps the most common option and the one that brings us the greatest savings, although it is not always easy to take advantage of the books of others, especially if they are very written and underlined.
But if you have the option of lending a book or lending it to you, line them up at the beginning of the course for better conservation and warn your children that, as much as they can, try to write as little as possible inside the book and always with a pencil.
3) Rental and sale of used books: if you do not have trusted friends or acquaintances who can lend you the books, you can use different websites that offer these options, such as Alquilibrix, Amazon or Wallapop, among others.
And just like buying or renting books, find out how to sell or rent textbooks from past courses that your children will no longer need. In this way, the disbursement you make, on the one hand, you recover on the other.
4) Personally, I am not very much in favor of selling online or in large stores that do so much damage to small local businesses, but when it comes to saving sometimes there is no other option.
However, experience has shown me that you do not always save by buying in large stores or on the Internet and that many times the best offers and discounts are offered by small neighborhood bookstores.
Therefore, once again research before buying: Amazon? Competitive offers of large areas? Juicy discounts from local bookstores? Search, compare and decide!
Buy the school material little by little … or better yet, reuse it!
5) This is one of the main premises that we follow at home every start of the course:
before buying new material, let’s take a look at what we have at home and collect what we can take advantage of. You will be surprised at the number of things that can be reused and the savings that will be on the shopping list.
Practically new colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, backpack, case, notebooks with just two written sheets, folders or filing cabinets … It is true that children love to release and that the backpack of the last course already has it very visible, but if it is new, why buy another?
6) And if you still have to buy new material, follow the same criteria as with the textbooks and acquire it in the establishment where there are greater variety and better prices.
7) Likewise, it is not necessary to buy all the material at the beginning of the course, since much of it will be used as the quarter’s progress. Therefore, it may be better to focus only on the first quarter and wait a bit to buy the rest to distribute the expense.
8) And if our children are going to need tablets, printers or computers, it is convenient to be attentive to the special offers and promotions for students. For example, here you can find seven tablets for less than 300 euros.
Hunting bargains for clothes and shoes!
9) The clothes are great financial outlay, especially if we want to buy them all at once and days before starting the course.
Once again, anticipating and staggering spending is key to saving!
Locate the end-of-season offers that can be useful for the future (yes, calculate buy a couple of sizes more), buy in the January or summer sales, take advantage of the closing sales of local stores or offers that They offer the outlet.
10) One size larger: who has not used this trick to further extend their children’s clothes?
But beware, buying a tracksuit a larger size when we are sure that it will not last even a quarter may not be a good option.
Let us think that, first and foremost, children have to go to school comfortable and that they will play carelessly about their clothes, so it is likely that it will break and not last the entire course. Shopping according to the needs that arise is, perhaps, the best decision.
11) Reuse and reinvent worn or small garments:
at this point, surely grandmothers can give us lots of ideas to save and extend the life of our children’s clothes, such as cutting pants that have become fishing, sewing knee and elbow pads to cover holes or make a hem to skirts and pants that we have bought a larger size.
Over time I have learned that almost any garment, however, worn or small it may seem, can have a new life.
12) Buying second-hand clothes or exchanging clothes with other families can mean significant savings and an alternative when buying brand-name clothes at a very low cost.
13) And don’t forget to mark the children’s clothes!
By reading it all you will not avoid that during the year some clothes are lost (because they will be lost … and surely several times in the course!), but at least you will be able to recover them if they are correctly labeled.
There are several companies that manufacture custom labels, both for marking clothing and footwear and for other materials. Personally, I consider that it is an expense that can be dispensed with because although they are original labels, durable and quick to put, they are still an extra expense that we can supply with a white ribbon and an indelible marker.
Analyze the rest of the expenses, are they really necessary?
But the costs of going back to school do not stick exclusively to school supplies, books, and clothing; in fact, the bulk (especially in families with more than one child) goes into the expenses of the canteen, school transport or extracurricular activities. Therefore, it is worth analyzing whether they are really necessary expenses or we can do without them.
14) School dining room:
parents’ work schedules make it very difficult for children to eat at home and generally must do so at school, but perhaps we can count on the help of grandparents, trusted friends or other family members. It will undoubtedly be an important saving for our pocket and a moment of the day that the little ones will look forward to.
15) Extracurricular activities:
if our children demand extracurricular activities or if due to time incompatibility with our work we have to point them to classes after school, let’s compare the different options that exist and choose the one that would satisfy us and save us the most.
Sometimes, municipalities have programs in play centers or municipal extracurricular activities whose costs are much lower than those offered by other facilities such as private gyms, music schools or language academies.
16) School, public or private transportation? :
If there is no option to go to school on foot, opt for the private vehicle, to share a car with other neighbors or friends or even for public transport. These options will be cheaper than the school bus, whose cost will be an important monthly extra.