When Did School Get So Expensive?

We Need Budget Strategies to Get Through the School Year

When Did School Get So Expensive?

Many moms would agree, back-to-school really is the most wonderful time of the year. Back to having the kids out of the house and back to routine. But since when did back-to-school mean putting a dent in my bank account?

A few weeks ago I found myself school supply shopping with my two school-aged daughters, lists in hand, just about ready to gouge my eyes out. The following is a partial list of the supplies required for my Grade 4 daughter:

12 pencils
2 erasers (white)
3 glue sticks
1 pair of scissors
1 pack of coloured pencils (16 maximum)
1 pack of thin markers (8 maximum)
1 pack of thick markers (8 maximum)
1 ruler (30 cm.)
1 4” protractor
1 pencil sharpener, which collects the shavings
1 pencil case (no towers with drawers please)
1 small calculator, for basic operations only
3 boxes tissues
2 plastic duo pocket folders (for homework)
4 pocket folders
5 lined notebooks
1 duotang with pockets (French)
2 graph notebooks (small squares)…

That’s about half the list. I simply can’t bear to share the rest of it with you. It’s too painful. And this list isn’t just specific – it’s expensive!

Now I recycle where I can. I love this article where Julie Cole talks about salvaging old school supplies. But I still wound up with my two kids in a big box store, working my way through this year’s school lists, and ended up about $100 poorer.

Now I learn that it doesn’t start and stop with the school supplies! An article in this week’s Globe and Mail talks about budgeting for ongoing school-related expenses like field trips, pizza days and musical instruments. Unlike the school supplies, now we need strategies to manage the expenses that are required of us right through the school year.

Since when did school get so darn expensive? And should it be?