Back to school means a lot of things, one of them being the annual dash for school supplies. Sometimes, this is also that part of going back to school that kids are excited about. However, parents can spend a fortune on new bags, new shoes, new uniforms, new school supplies, and what have you. This, of course, is enough to stress anyone out.
But who says the parent has to do it all? Why not let the kids in on the action? How? Make school supplies shopping a game.
Having things brand new won’t make your kids “in” just yet with the crew. Plus you probably already knew; prices today just give you the flu.
First foster a bond with parents of your children’s classmates. Then bond with parents of children one grade level higher. Why? Because using second hand books is actually cool. You and your co-parents can simply buy at a much cheaper price the books used by older children for use of your own. In the high school I attended, all students had to borrow books from the school. They were not only taught how to save money but were also taught how to care for things that did not belong to them (i.e. returning damaged books come with a fine).
But why still 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. Give them the list of what to buy and then leave them alone with the shopping cart. From time to time, total what they have chosen to buy and show them how on track they are in using their money to buy all that is on the list. Nudge them 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 daily “baons” as well, regardless of whether you buy your children food stubs from the school cafeteria or pack a healthy home-cooked meal 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 summer with. Your kids may even start looking forward to your school supply gathering time every summer.
As the title says, these games bond parents and their children.
(Originally written by Efren Ll. Cruz, RFP at http://www.savingstips.com.ph)
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