Sarah Deveau: Money Matters


Lessons About School Spending

Savvy School Spending Tips

As I haul out my cheque book for another year of school fees, I’ve reflected on the ways I saved money last year, and what I wish I had passed on buying for my daughter.

I ignored the recommended brands on the school supply list last year, and the teacher didn’t mention it, so this year I stuck to the Staples discount brand products as well. I saved over $25 on supplies ($8 on the markers alone) by purchasing what was on sale rather than the exact brand the teacher specified.

My daughter’s school photo looked, well, cheesy. So I stuck the little sample photo they included into her school year book and threw out the order form. I much prefer the individual photo of her our photographer took when we did our annual photos anyway, and I saved myself $25 on the least expensive package.

Why did I buy sneakers with laces for a six-year-old? I optimistically believed she’d master the skill before she started school – a year later and the shoes and too small, and have never been worn.

Instead of buying $16 backpacks from department stores that rip or break before the year is out, this year we’ve bought a $16 pack from Mountain Equipment Co-op. Their lifetime guarantee means it’ll hold up for many years and many kids (I still have my MEC backpack purchased in 1991!).

What school related expenses have you shelled out for that you wished you hadn’t? What savvy school spending tips do you have to share?