Parents are being urged to plan for back-to-school early while children are out on summer break. According to Shanna Kaye Wright-Vaughn, Lead, Youth and Education Programmes at the JN Foundation, last minute shopping can be financially burdensome as well as cause unnecessary discomfort. She gave the following tips to help make the process more efficient and budget friendly.
- Take an inventory: Before you start shopping, go through your child’s school supplies from the previous year and take note of what can still be used. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what items you actually need to purchase.
- Plan your shopping days: as soon as possible to avoid the last minute and out of stock hiccups and take the booklist along to the store to avoid purchasing the wrong book. Start your back-to-school shopping well in advance to avoid the last-minute rush. This way, you’ll have a better selection of items and can take advantage of early-bird discounts. Shopping early also reduces stress and allows you to focus on other preparations.
- Take advantage of sales and discounts: Seek discounts, if possible, purchase at wholesale prices (six books, 12 pencils, etc.). Purchase notebooks with hard covers. They cost a little more, but they should last longer. JN Rewards is one way of cashing in on discounts, as it offers members savings of up to 20 per cent on purchases from more than 200 merchants across the country by showing or using a JN-branded card to benefit.
- Create a shopping list: Make a detailed list of all the items your child will need for the upcoming school year. Categorize the list by essentials like backpacks, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc., and non-essentials like trendy accessories or extras. Stick to the essentials first to prioritize necessary items.
- Set a budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on back-to-school shopping and try to stick to it. Having a budget in mind will help you make wiser purchasing decisions and avoid overspending on unnecessary items.
- Consider second-hand options: Find out if your family, friend and neighbour has used textbooks that your child could use before opting to purchase new ones. This can be a cost-effective way to find good-quality items at a fraction of the price.
Mrs Wright Vaughn said, “remember to approach back-to-school shopping with a practical mindset and focus on purchasing the essentials first. By planning ahead, setting a budget, and being mindful of your needs, you can navigate the process more efficiently while saving money,” she said.