For most families in Rotorua the biggest event of the month is the beginning of the school year and the costs of school uniforms, text books and stationery. For the budget conscious second hand uniforms in good condition (and fit well) make a lot of sense. If your child has outgrown his/her uniform then a good idea is to exchange or sell the small uniform and use the money to help pay for the larger one.
There are some costs that all students have to pay if they wish to attend school. Good deals can be had on textbooks and stationery leading up to school starting (and just after). The key here is to take the time to shop around and buy only what you need. Buying 20 ball point pens to cover the whole year doesn’t make great sense given that half those pens will be lost in the first week or if they do survive until December will probably be dried out. Over the last few years students have also come to rely on Information Technology and it isn’t unheard of for some schools to insist on students having access to computers and tablets to complete their work. If you can’t afford it then talk to the schools and see if alternative arrangements can be made, don’t sit in stony silence or worse use money that is for your food, accommodation or power to buy the item anyway.
I am a firm believer that money spent on children which nurtures them and allows them to grow their skills and knowledge is money well spent. Make sure to focus on their needs and not their wants first. The trick of course is to try to take as much emotion out of your decisions as possible and consider the pros and cons of your purchases logically based on how much you gain from buying and what you are giving up to buy it. It’s a tough discipline but means that you reduce the stress of wondering whether you made the best decision possible later on because you know the reasons why you bought or didn’t buy a particular item.
- Pakanui Tuhura (Manager – Rotorua Budget Advisory Service Inc)