Above Par

Let the School Games Begin!

Who says back to school season should be dreary and expensive?

Efren L. Cruz

Above Par

Let the kids in on the action. Make buying school supplies a fun game!

Back to school means the annual rush for school supplies. And when things are not planned and executed properly, parents can end up spending a fortune on new bags, new shoes, new uniforms, and new school supplies. This activity can be stressful.

 

But who says parents need to do it all?Why not let the kids in on the action? How? Make buying school supplies a game.

 

Having things brand new will not necessarily make your kids automatically hip with their crew. Plus, you probably already knew; prices today just give you the flu.

Nudge your children towards making the right choices, emphasizing as you go along that choices mean tradeoffs. While they might want to get that pencil case with their favorite cartoon character, they might not be able to buy enough pad paper.

 

Here are the steps. First try to bond with parents of your children’s classmates. Then, get your newfound friends to bond with parents of children one grade level higher. Why? Because you and your co-parents can simply buy, at a much cheaper price, the books used by older children.

 

In the high school I attended, all students had to borrow books from the school.Students were not only taught indirectly how to save money but were also taught how to be a good caretaker (i.e. returning damaged books comes with a fine).

 

But why the need to bond with other parents? For schools where borrowing books is not mandated, you will have at least a group of students who still do.This will decrease the chances of children being taunted for using second hand books.

 

When it comes to shopping for school supplies, the key is to get creative. Shop with your children and hand them the money. Of course, you should have already done your homework on where to find the best bargains on top of setting a budget.

 

Next, give your kids the list of what to buy, their budget, and then leave them alone with their own shopping cart.From time to time, total what they have chosen to buy and show them how on track they are in in keeping within the budget to buy all that is on the list.

 

Nudge your children towards making the right choices, emphasizing as you go along that choices mean tradeoffs. While they might want to get that pencil case with their favorite cartoon character, they might not be able to buy enough pad paper.

 

By the way, this shopping game can be extended to lunch meals and snacks, regardless of whether you buy your children food stubs for the school cafeteria or pack healthy home-cooked meals and snacks for them.

 

In this way, you will be killing several birds with one stone. Not only do you save money and teach new values to your kids, you will have made priceless memories to end the school vacation. Your kids may even start looking forward to your school supply gathering time every vacation time.

 

Remember, games bond (parents and their children).

 


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About the Author

EFREN L. CRUZ is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines, personal finance coach, seasoned investment manager, financial planning trainer & consultant, newspaper columnist and bestselling author of four books.



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