Watch the Dollar Sign : A few tips that can help you maximize on every dollar in the Back to School season.

Under the current economic conditions, it is understandable that most parents have just been able to buy enough needed items for the first couple of weeks. Jamaicans have to buy “likkle likkle” until all necessary items (or most) have been covered.

Here are some tips that can follow you throughout the period which you take to complete all shopping.

  1. Make / Check your list

Go back to that List of general items you had written down to see how much from it you were able to buy.Again include your child in this process to ensure that you cover all that can possibly fit into this general list – whether or not you have purchased it.

  1. Recheck your Inventory

At the end of each school year there might be some items such as books, specific to a grade level, or clothes that are a little small and will not have fit properly, donate these to goodwill. along with anything else that is in a good condition to be donated to another child or a children’s home. Tick off the items on your list that can be used during the coming school year; which could range from pens and pencils to the lunch kit/bag.

  1. Network and swap

Your next step will be to dialogue with family, friends and other associates who have children to investigate whether or not they have some of the school materials that you need. Not every parent will be fortunate enough to find persons to acquire some of these items from, however, ‘nutnu tried, nutnu done.’ Broaden your network in an effort to save every dollar that you can. It will make you feel especially good when you donate and then receive in return.

If you are unable to attain anything through this venture it is still mutually beneficial that you give away the items in the ‘good will’ container, which was previously created, to person who would appreciate them; this would make space for new items.

  1. Prioritize needs versus wants

Children can be very persuasive at times and have the whims to charm us into to believing that things like brands and accessories are important for school. Whether or not we believe we sometimes give in to the coaxing and that only results in getting them what they want – even if we know they will hardly use it because it is a periodic favourite. To avoid spending unnecessary funds we have to divide the items left on our master list into two sub lists; ‘NEEDS’ and ‘WANTS.’ Be objective with sorting the items as these lists can influence the amount of money you will spend on back to school purchases. Allow your child the opportunity to rationalize why he/she would need some items from the wants column and decide whether or not it is worth the extra dollar. When you feel satisfied with your lists put the WANTS list on your reminder board and focus on NEEDS. In the NEEDS column you will need to prioritize from the most important to the least important.

  1. Research

I for one can admit that I do not like to walk far and long especially with the scorching sun overhead. However, to save an extra dollar I will go the extra mile. In Jamaica’s harsh economic climate we have to ensure that we watch over our money to ensure we retain and save as much of it as we can. Ask fellow parents of the prices of the items they have gathered and compare prices. Ensure that you look for the bargains and discounts to get value for your money. You could also grab an umbrella and go price hunting. From this you create a basic budget.

Remember to consider the VALUE over the BRAND.

Endorsed by Proactive Financial Services Limited: “Your partner in Finance.”

By Stacey – Ann Adams

Independent Writer