Helpful Back-to-School Tips for Parents. 

a parent taking kids to school.

 It is “Njaanuary” and it is back to school. As parents, we know the struggle is real. You are just from the holiday season; traveling, connecting with relatives, and enjoying the regular “mbuzi choma.” Most of you have been on a spending spree and now the “two months” of January are getting tougher. 

To top it all off, It is the back-to-school season again, a time for you to prepare your children for an exciting new term.  The kids have even had a more extended holiday and break from school.

Of course, we love spending time with them but as parents, we know how much money we spend when they are home, right?

Despite the financial hardships, we should always try our best to give our children the best education possible. 

After two years of disruption by the Covid-19 pandemic, this is the first time the school calendar is getting back to normal, with kids going back to school starting on 23rd January 2023.

School kids with new uniform - Image By Khethukuthula Mbonambi - CC BY-SA 4.0

Back to school amid hard economic times

The hard economic times are proving to be a thorn to many parents as they struggle to provide basic needs for their children’s education. The cost of living is through the roof as food and basic commodities are hardly affordable.

Some schools, especially private institutions have increased the school fees by up to 47%, meaning parents will have to dig deeper into their pockets to ensure their kids go back to school.

The new Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) is also associated with additional costs. This is according to parents who feel that the various additional costs for materials used in CBC are a burden to an already overburdened parent.

Over the weekend, parents were in a rush to acquire numerous requirements including new books, new uniforms, and other school supplies for children especially those in boarding schools.

The rising cost of education remains the greatest challenge to many parents in Kenya today. Here are some tips on how you can cope with the high cost and still ensure your kids get back to school with minimal financial strain.

Tips For Parents 

Cut Spending and save on your expenses

The first step to minimizing expenses is to note all your required essentials such as the high cost of books, uniforms, and other school supplies.

  1. 1. No more last-minute rush 

Most parents thronged bookshops and uniform stores for the last-minute rush to purchase school supplies over the weekend. Some were met  with high prices of books, as traders quoted the hike in prices due to inflation and an “increase in VAT.”

Of course, unscrupulous traders take advantage of desperate parents due to the limited time and urgency to demand exorbitant prices for books.

image by Beaumont ent

Early last year the Kenya Publishers’ Association wrote to the government requesting a 12% increase in the prices of approved course books. The association indicated the cost of printing paper had gone up due to the 25% import duty imposed by KRA in 2022.

To avoid higher costs of books, uniforms, and other school accessories, parents should plan school shopping in advance. Parents who purchased the essentials in November and early December paid less for school items.

2. Save on school shopping

One of the best ways to deal with the high cost of school shopping is on cutting back on some expenses. As a parent, you might want to provide everything for your child, but this is not necessary because all you require are the essentials.

Back-to-school shopping should not drain your limited finances when there are ways to shave off extra spending.

Here are a few ways to cut your spending

a) Focus on the essentials

Parents always want to do more for their kids but when working on a tight budget, you should only buy what is essential. Avoid the cool stuff like fancy bags or lunch boxes and just buy the basic.

Months down the line when you have a little more money, maybe in a month or two, you can upgrade and buy your child the cool trendy stuff.

b) Spread out the purchases over the school term

Do not buy everything all at once. Look at the immediate needs such as books, pens, pencils, etc. You should not wait for the beginning of the term or school year to buy all the school essentials. Stock up on school supplies over the entire holiday period or the school term period.

Each time you go out buy one essential supply and over time you will have ticked off everything on your shopping list.

c) Trade-off with other parents

One of the ways to cut costs in your school shopping is by exchanging essential school supplies with other parents. For example, if you have a child who has already completed a grade, you can lend the books they used to another parent and they can do the same for you.

It sounds like barter trade but it is a sure way to reduce costs for books and school bags.

d) Shop online

Online shopping has taken root in Kenya as it is estimated that about 79% of Kenyans are going online to look for and purchase products.

Father and daughter using a laptop

By going online you can find unique deals and offers to sell school supplies at a discount.

e) It is okay to say no

Going shopping for school supplies with your kids can be fun because they can get involved and help you find what exactly suits them. But if you are not careful it might be expensive if you don’t know how to say NO to their requests. Children tend to go overboard with unnecessary requests. 

3. Get a financial boost to deal with school expenses

The cost of education is very high in Kenya and school expenses are now a huge burden on most parents. The burden is worse for parents with kids in private schools after the recent hike in school fees.

According to CGAP, about 75% of households in Kenya with school-going children have lacked part or all of the school expenses at some point. Even at free government schools, families face additional costs such as uniforms and books.

calculating back to school expenses

It is a new year, your kids are transitioning to a new grade therefore they need new books. They are growing and their current uniform doesn’t fit them or they have just changed schools and need new uniforms.

But we should not compromise on giving our children the best education possible to prepare them for the future. Especially when there are accessible and affordable financing options for school fees and school supplies.

Financial boost options

  • Loan from friends and family

One way to get urgent money to pay school fees and pay for essential school supplies is through financial assistance from friends and families. Some will even lend you cash for free.

  • Bank Loans

Banks offer unsecured personal loans with higher loan limits and flexible repayment periods. Some banks offer easy loans focused on school fees. For example KCB Masomo loan.

  • Secure Loans

Although banks offer affordable loans, they have strict and structured qualification measures that a majority of parents may not meet. For example credit checks and transferring your salary or income to that particular bank.

For parents who cannot access bank loans, there is a more convenient option available. Microfinance institutions such as Ngao Credit offers quick logbook loans at affordable rates and in just six hours.

All you need is to own a car to get a quick loan. No credit checks, minimal paperwork, and fast processing to ensure your kid has all they need for a smooth transition in this new school year.

Some top benefits of a logbook loan include:

Quick service:

Bank loans may take days, but logbook loans are disbursed on the same day or in a few hours.

Minimum requirements:

Bank loans require a lot of paperwork such as proof of address, proof of work, and proof of income. But for logbook loans, all you need is proof of ownership and the ability to pay.

No CRB checks: Have ever tried to take a loan from a bank? You will realize they care a lot about credit status and with bad credit, you will not access any loan. For a logbook loan, your car acts as security so there is no need for credit checks.

Final thoughts

Going back to school after a long holiday is not only challenging for parents but also for children. They are already used to being away from school and might not be prepared mentally to resume the school schedule.

It may be stressful for the children as they are worried about new teachers, new subjects, and meeting their friends. It is not just another term but a new year for kids upgrading from a lower class to the next.

As a parent, you should also keep in mind your kid’s preparedness for the new experience. Set a routine, motivate them, and don’t forget to talk and listen to their concerns.

Stuck financially? Hii  Njaanuary isikupee stress when you can get a quick loan and offer your kids the best. Click here to get started. 

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