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BACK-TO-SCHOOL TOP TIPS
1. Top tips for parents on small back-to-school budgets
- Budgeting for school supplies is a must! It keeps you from impulse buying and encourages you to stay on track with your monthly goal. If school supplies are going to cost a little more than you thought, adjust other areas of your budget. Maybe wait until next month to buy the fancy dinner or update your summer wardrobe.
- Sign up for newsletters. One of the best things you can do is sign up for all the store newsletters, early-bird, exclusive specials and discount vouchers are often offered to subscribers.
- Don’t forget about used or even refurbished electronics. For someone on a limited budget, they can be so expensive! Thanks to Covid-19, technology is becoming more important in the school curriculum; it’s becoming a purchase you just can’t escape. Make sure to check sites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace for lightly used or refurbished devices, headphones or laptops that won’t send you to the cleaners.
- Take cash instead of your credit card so that you’re not tempted to spend more than you’ve budgeted for.
- Buy them what they need to do well. At the end of the day, your child won’t fall apart if they don’t have the latest sports team or celebrity-themed notebooks. Do your research, make your lists, and then be focused and strict when you finally hit the stores for back-to-school shopping.
2. How much to buy? School lists sometimes include as many as 10 of an item – is it necessary to buy all 10 at once?
If your budget is tight, typically, the kids won’t need every single supply during the first few days of school. So you could also also buy these items one term at a time. Taking inventory of stationery returned at the end of the school year is also important, often children come home at the end of the fourth term with unused glue sticks for instance that could easily be incorporated into next year’s supplies.
3. Can parents buy generic brands, or are the top brands really that much better?
Generic brands are known for their very basic packaging and labels, and lower prices. And in tough economic times, shoppers are naturally drawn to cheaper brands. But it really does depend on the product you are buying, if your child is taking art as a subject for instance, it would be wise to invest in a name brand that is trusted as a well-performing product in the art community. Speak to a store consultant who can advise and help you to make the best choices.
4. Advice for labelling/caring for/preserving stationary
- If you can, invest in a label machine such as BROTHER PT- H110 LABEL PRINTER (Available at PNA). The labels are very durable, they are laminated, chemical, fade, abrasion and water-resistant, have strong adhesion, and withstand high temperature. It’s an investment that will last your child’s school career.
- You don’t need to print a full name on pencils. Save time and labels by using your child’s surname only.
- For expensive devices, label the machine in a few different areas, on top, underneath and on the electrical cables as these go to school to charge the devices.
- Use silver permanent markers on items with dark backgrounds like school shoes, black markers on light backgrounds.
- Write your child’s names on the inside of their school bag in black permanent marker. And also give them a bag tag or fun key-ring to put on their bag so they can easily distinguish which one is theirs, especially if they all have the same bags.
5. Any other tips for parents at back-to-school time?
The most basic step for a less stressful school year is a good time management and schedule for your little ones. Organising their lives in a good way means an organised life for you too!
Here are simple back-to-school hacks that will not only help you get more out of the supplies you’ve purchased, but also help you to enjoy a smoother, more carefree school year.
Good luck with next year’s academic adventure! #PNASchoolHacks
1. Moveable homework station
This handy DIY caddy holds all the necessary supplies, so kids can do their homework at the kitchen table or in their bedrooms. It is a great idea to keep their school supplies tidy and organized.
2. DIY after school routine clock
After the kids get home from school, life gets hectic. Even without after school activities, their evenings are still jam-packed with homework, dinner, bath time, and more. It’s so easy to lose track of time on these busy nights. This DIY clock is an invaluable tool to help you organize their evenings and make your life less stressful.
About PNA: PNA is a well-known South African franchise brand specialising in stationery retail. Founded in 1992, the franchise group now has 95 stores in total, all independent, owner-managed stores throughout South Africa. It is a provider of unique customer experiences in a specialist sector that comprises stationery, art and craft materials, educational books, toys and other related products.
- For more information: www.pna.co.za
- Find us on Instagram and Facebook: @pnasouthafrica
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