For most of us, vacation has finally come to an end. June starts, school starts, additional tasks start (i.e. making baon, doing homework, school activities) and gastos starts. When I was a student, I was always excited about the opening of classes. It meant the end of doing house chores. It meant seeing my friends or even my crush again. It meant freedom. I never thought it meant MONEY to my parents. Now that I’m on the other side of the fence, June terrifies me! That fear and anxiety propel me to plan ahead of time when it comes to my kids’ education. In short, I became a freak planner.
My kids’ annual educational expenses are planned out in the fourth quarter of the previous year. Meaning, since October 2017 I have already listed the likely school expenses we’ll incur in 2018 (e.g. tuition fees, uniforms, school supplies, etc.). In times like these when gas has reached P60+ per liter, it’s inevitable for other market commodities, not just the basic ones, mind you, to increase their prices too. These trying times call for smart choices. But, would you agree with me if I say that buying cheaper products is not always the best choice? Yes, those horrible stories of shoes breaking down after just one storm, umbrellas which could not stand the wind, bags which straps couldn’t handle its loads and uniforms that easily get ripped or holed. Although not always, good quality often comes with a heftier price.
If you ask me, I really don’t mind paying more for something my children will use for their one-year education. When it comes to these items, I don’t scrimp:
School Shoes. My kids’ uniforms are exclusively sold by their schools, leaving us with no other choice. But, when it comes to their shoes, especially black shoes, we buy a pair sturdy enough to outlast seasons (rain or shine) and at the same time comfortable and gentle on their young feet. Yung iba kasi, matibay nga, ang tigas naman. Kawawa naman their feet. We buy just the right size also and don’t provide for too much allowance. They wear their school shoes five times a week, for five to eight hours a day, quality and comfort must prevail over prices.
School Bags. My kids’ school tuition fees do not come with a school bag, just books, and notebooks. For my grade-schooler, I bought a costlier bag because I want to make sure that its shoulder straps are nicely padded para gentle sa shoulders nya but strong enough to hold his books’ weight. Also, I want something that won’t easily get ripped or holed because kids tend to just leave their bags on the floor, on the bleachers, or everywhere! Sana talaga iimpose ng DepEd ang bag weight restrictions sa schools, especially for young students. Sobra kasing bigat ng books!
Lunch Bags. Even if it’s sometimes tempting to buy them cute lunch boxes made of tin, I don’t. I also don’t buy them the plastic ones (especially the colored). I prefer sticking to brands known for lunch bags such as Biokips. The lunch bag is one thing my kids use that aren’t designed for kids. But, even before, when it comes to food, I do not encourage mixing playing and eating. So, I hope this sends their brain a certain level of subconscious signal that they should eat when it’s time to eat and not play. Nylon lunch bags can be washed too in case of slippage kaya gusto ko. It being insulated or thermal keeps food at room temperature. The plastic food keepers that came with it are BPA-free, food-safe and can easily be opened and closed even by my four-year-old. That’s why even if Biokips costs as much as twice as the others (usually cartoon-designed ones), I bought it for my children. The good thing is that their previous styles are on-sale, fifty percent off!
Pencil Cases (with pens, pencils, sharpener, eraser). Since their baunans do not create much excitement for the new school year, I try to compensate it by buying the pencil cases (with pens, pencils, sharpener, eraser) of their choice. These are items which I let them pick for themselves. By involving them in back-to-school shopping (kahit on-line lang) and giving importance to their opinions and choices when it comes to the things they will use in school, they’d feel very much part of school planning. Hopefully, that excites them enough and hopefully too, they get excited to use their own choices of school supplies. Kaya even if these are just small items and can be bought in value packs, I choose to allot budget a little more para masunod ang gusto nila.
Undergarments. Last but not the least are their undergarments (i.e. briefs, panties, hankies, and socks). This is the best time to teach our children proper hygiene. And, hygiene does not only mean being clean on the surface, it must be their natural habit and they should be taught that not because no one sees it, it could already be neglected. So, part of their good grooming is making sure they wear clean and correct sizes of undergarments not only every day but all the time. I believe that when they become mindful of their undergarments and know their value, they will soon be aware of what body parts these undergarments are protecting. Then, they will protect them too.
That’s it! How about you? What back-to-school items do you splurge on? Scrimp on? If it weren’t for my Claret’s birthday this June, I’m beginning to resolve that June is my most hated month. Haha. Ang busy sobra at ang gastos din ng sobra! That’s why I truly value my small monthly contribution to World Vision which helps bring a kid to school. Sad that this basic need, rather right, of children, could not be provided by the State. Basta, mommies, if you really do not have much right now, okay lang ‘yan, under any circumstance, an education is still very important. Busugin nyo na lang sila sa pangaral at payo. 😊