K’reen Kerr and son Sawyer get ready for school. Parents can hand clothes down and recycle school supplies that are still in good condition

K’reen Kerr and son Sawyer get ready for school. Parents can hand clothes down and recycle school supplies that are still in good condition

Back to school: Family finds savings on supplies

NANAIMO – School is starting and here are some tips for those looking to finish their school supply shopping.

While back-to-school shopping can eat a hole in the wallets and purses of parents, there are ways to save some dollars.

School shopping can be as expensive as Christmas, says K’reen Kerr, a mother of three Rutherford Elementary School students. Handing down clothes and re-using school supplies are strategies she employs.

“We actually just got a big bag about a month ago from some friends, so [the kids] picked out their treasures from that and whatever they didn’t want, we passed that on to more families,” Kerr said.

If supplies are not worn out and still usable at the end of the school year, Kerr keeps them for use the following year.

“I hope to never buy pencil crayons again. We actually have bins and at the schools too, they’re pretty good. They have buckets of crayons. I take out all their old work from the duotangs and duotangs are super inexpensive, but it’s just part of being environmentally conscious and not thinking you need to buy everything brand new every year,” Kerr said.

While saving money is good, she doesn’t recommend cutting corners when buying shoes. Kerr said she spent only $90 on actual school supplies for her children and closer to $300 on shoes.

“When it comes to shoes, you can’t really save money because they’re going to wear them until they fall apart,” she said. “Cheap shoes fall apart before they grow out of them, so it’s better just to buy good shoes. Especially the boys … they’re hard on shoes.”

Kerr’s economic sense has rubbed off on her daughter, Keoni, a Grade 7 student, who holds down jobs as a babysitter and face painter and is always looking for deals. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it, Keoni Kerr says.

“If there’s a sale on something, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should buy it,” she said. “Because that can even lead to wasting money, even though it’s less money than what it would usually be.”

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