It's back to school again.
If you're a mom like me with school age kids, chances are, you too, are so occupied with back-to-school activities - enrollment (again?! summer vacation came so fast, it's over in snap), going to bookstores for the school supplies, bringing the kids to department stores or "palengke" to try on new sets of uniforms, bags, shoes, undergarments, etc. Spells M-O-N-E-Y, and a considerable amount at that.
Just to make sure that I don't miss anything, I made a list of expenses and ranked them according to priority. Here's a rundown:
1. Tuition fees, miscellaneous, other school fees - If your kids are enrolled in a government-run school, this isn't gonna be much of a worry. But for private schools, this is where a big chunk of your budget for the school expenses goes. As early as April, I asked my sons' school administrator if there's tuition fee increase, I was told there was none, which gave me a big sigh of relief. However, when I checked the miscellaneous fees, well, from last year's about P4500, now it's almost P6000. Prices of books increased by about 20% as well.
2. Uniforms - the school uniform has an "extraordinarily unique" shade of color green, and it can't be found in any store (dept store or palengke). So parents have to buy the pants from the school, priced at around 20% higher than those commonly colored uniforms available in stores. Same with the PE uniform, they are available only at the school. Even the socks have to be bought there, coz my (younger) son won't wear socks without the school's logo on it, according to him he'll be "different". Fortunately for the upper uniform(or tops), they use white polo, so this one I just bought from palengke - it's definitely cheaper than the ones they sell in school.
3. Bags - those with trolleys range from P1500 - 3800, depending on size and quality(most of the times people equate quality with brand names). For my kids, my first grader went for a bag with a superhero character - P1500. For my older son who'll be grade 5 this school year, he got the one with more famous brandname, and probably more heavy-duty, but also more pricey, P3200.00.
4. Shoes - we will buy shoes this coming weekend. But I've already checked the stores and it gave me an idea as to how much I need to prepare for this one - around P800 for my little boy(grade 1) and about P1500 for the big boy(Grade 5). The PE shoes command more price, I need to prepare at least P3000 for each. I hope I can find a bargain.
5. School supplies - I paid about P1200 for the school supplies provided by the school, it's like you don't have a choice but to buy them. But this does not include notebooks, pencil case, formal theme notebook, papers. I spent another P500+ for the latter.
6. Undergarments - sando,the ones kids wear under the polo, and underwear(briefs). I always buy new ones every beginning of the school, which my kids use for the whole school year. I also buy new set of handkerchiefs every year, which disappear one by one until only one or none at all is left by the end of the school year. Also scheduled for purchase this coming weekend, along with the shoes.
These items are MY top priority expenses every back-to-school season. Depending on the budget, I make a schedule which ones will be bought first, and the next, etc. I don't buy them all at once, as it makes a dent on the pocket. I also make sure my kids are part of the decision-making, I allow them to choose. But even before going to the stores I tell them what we're going to buy on that day, so as not to give them false hopes that they will buy everything they set their eyes on, and more importantly, not to overshoot the budget.
When the kids are back in school, I'll try to sit back and relax. I deserve it.