Primary and secondary schools in Kenya are reopening on January 23, 2023, after a two-month holiday break, the longest since the Coronavirus pandemic disrupted the basic education calendar in the country in 2020.
Millions of learners across the country are reporting back to school for the better part of the week to begin their first term.
Amid the excitement that comes with parents and guardians releasing their children to school after holiday festivities, many families often battle the headache of the huge expenses required to keep the learners comfortable in school, especially, in January when most people are broke after the merry-making season.
From school fees to basic needs, parents need to budget well to ensure learners settle well in school for the new term.
We look at some of the budgeting hacks parents can use to reduce the costs of taking their children back to school as the activities can cost a fortune if you don’t have a game plan.
Put it on paper
Before embarking on any shopping activities, it’s advisable to draft a budget of what you intend to purchase. This includes listing of all the items your children need and their estimated costs.
After listing the items, you can check for what is already available either in the office or at home that is in surplus or no longer needed at home.
Some of these items include pens, books, files, pencils and any other stationery they can use in school. These will help you cut costs on unnecessary shopping and reduce your budget.
Review your original budget; reality check
After drafting your list, you may want to ask yourself how much you can realistically afford this month for the purpose.
If you’ve budgeted the cost of back-to-school into your savings during the holiday, you might be able to purchase every item now. If not, see what you can feasibly buy now and what can wait.
For example, if your kids use three boxes of tissues or a dozen of pens or books in a term, you can buy what you can afford now and send the rest later or buy them during the half-term break.
Buy in bulk
Another trick to manage your kids’ back-to-school shopping is to buy items or foodstuff in bulk. Buying items such as pens and books in retail chains that sell in dozens is way cheaper than buying from local shops where you pay for each item you purchase.
Make a habit of purchasing bulk packages of snacks and other foodstuffs for your kids to take for lunch as opposed to giving them money to buy every day which is quite expensive in the long run.
You can divide the foodstuffs into small portions for your kids to carry to school every morning for as long as the food is safe for consumption.
Some shops also give discounts when their customers buy in bulk.
During school opening days, some companies or shops sell uniforms, shoes and other select items at a discount. Always check if the item you want to purchase is available at a discounted price before buying.
To cut costs, you can consider buying second-hand items available in the market at affordable prices. Some of the items include metal boxes, school bags, sports shoes and other accessories.
Always ensure the items are in fair or good condition before paying.