Back to School Ideas for Frugal Parents
Schools will be empty for the most part this school year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many challenges and changes. The education department is not spared from implementing necessary steps to ensure that students who are going back to school, teachers, and all concerned people are safe. In the Philippines, schooling, for the time being, is without face-to-face interaction.
What this means is students will be using the distance learning mode. Depending on the available resources to the student, learning will likely be a combination of modular (using a hard copy of learning materials), online learning, and through mass media like radio and TV. As to the effectiveness of these learning channels, we still have to wait and see.
Two of my children, who are enrolled in a private school, already started their classes...sort of. Well, they are having class orientations / online class dry runs this week using Google Meet, Zoom and FB groups.
Knowing the Cost of Education During the COVID Pandemic
The big question for parents today is HOW MUCH WILL IT COST to have this new setup of schooling? Will it be cheaper or more expensive? I've already discussed in a previous post more or less what is the difference between public school, private school and homeschooling.
In addition to that discussion, the majority of private schools did not increase tuition fees this school year. I also know some implemented discounts in consideration of the pandemic and since students will not be going to school which lowers the operations expenses. But the majority argue that they had to spend on internet service provider upgrades, an LMS (Learning Management System - an online program to facilitate the students' learning), and additional training for teachers.
Besides the tuition, when it comes to the present schooling setup, parents will have some added costs as well as deducted costs.
Added costs may include
- Buying a new gadget like a laptop, tablet or smartphone. (Two of my children who are enrolled in a public school in Pasig are blessed because they will be provided with a gadget by the city government).
- Monthly expense for an internet service provider or mobile data
- Other accessories like earphones with mic
Deducted costs may include
- Not buying new uniforms though some schools still require the wearing of uniforms.
- Not buying new school bags, lunch bags or water bottles.
- Not paying for monthly transportation
- Less expense for books required, in our case, we paid about 50% less for my Grade 6 student's books compared to last year.
I believe there will still be a need to spend on other school expenses like school supplies and materials for projects to be required by each subject teacher. But if your children still have old notebooks with blank pages or leftover school and art supplies, there's no need to buy new ones.
That is what I've asked my children to do as before - to reuse the blank pages of their old notebooks. So far, the only school supplies I bought include new ballpens, bond paper (for printing soft copies of their lessons, if needed) and plastic cover for the books and notebooks.
Back to School Savings Tips
Saving money should always be one of our goals especially in this critical time. We don't know how long the economy will be able to pick up. So, we should save as much as we could. Let me just briefly enumerate some back to school ideas that could save us money.
1. Buy As Little As Possible
Before shopping for school supplies, take some time to make an inventory of what your child already got that could be still be used. Make a shopping list. Buy only what is necessary and will surely be used by your children.
2. Recycle - Make New Notebooks From Old Notebook Pages
My daughters created notebooks from the blank pages of their old notebooks. They created two videos showing how they did it.
In the first video, they created smaller sized notebooks, which could be used as their study planner or to-do list notebook.
In the second video, they created a notebook of almost the same size which they can use for taking notes as they attend their online classes.
By the way, if you want to create recycled papers you can also do that using the used pages of the notebooks. Here's another video of my kids doing that years ago.
3. Don't Automatically Throw Things Out
I know that some things may already be damaged or doesn't fit your child anymore. If you could still fix them, then don't throw them away. Or think outside the box and see if they could still be used for other ways, just like making recycled paper in the video above. Another option is to donate them to other children who can still use them.
4. Buy Durable Stuff for Long-Term Use
If you really need to buy new stuff, for example, a scientific calculator, choose a good brand that would last long. Even if it is more expensive, you will save more in the long run since you don't need to replace it earlier.
5. Buy Green Products
Although students will be using computers more these days, they still need pens and other things that go with it. If you can find recycled pencils, paper, pens and ring binders, you can buy these to lessen the environmental impact.
6. Don't Buy an Item Just Because It is On Sale
Sometimes you're tempted to buy something because you think you're getting a great deal if you buy now even without really thinking if your child needs it. Try to rise above all the offers you see and think carefully.
7. Prepare their Lunch and Snacks
Since the kids will be schooling from home, it is very likely that you will save more since they don't have to buy their lunch and snacks from school. Cook their meals as much as you can instead of ordering ready-to-eat meals. That is also safer and perhaps even more nutritious.
What do you think about going back to school this year? Are you saving or spending more? Use the comments section to share your thoughts.