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Five Back To School Tips for Parents

Odd Cents - Saving and Investing

The children are going back to school after a long summer vacation. Some of you might be smiling, but others are worried about lunch money, bus fares, never ending traffic and the aches and pains that are characteristic of a new school term.

I know that feeling.

I will go back to leaving home extremely early to get ahead on the road. I’m not looking forward to it, but it’s something that has to be done or I will be late for work.

I’ve come up with five tips to help parents deal with the added costs that a new school term brings.

1. Homemade Lunches

Make lunch for your children instead of giving them lunch money. A homemade lunch can be anything from sandwiches to a home cooked meal. Include fruit and snacks to make the lunch box complete.

2. Carpool

If your neighbour’s children go to the same school, consider asking them to alternate driving the children to school. If you take them one week, the neighbour takes them the other week.

3. Take the Bus

Let your children take the bus. The Barbados and Trinidad governments give free rides to children in uniform. This is a cost saving move that will ease your pockets. Other islands in the Caribbean usually have bus passes for school children, which is also beneficial cost saving.

4. After School Activities

Encourage your children to sign up for after-school activities. This is a way to ensure that your children are well rounded for a fraction of the price. In some cases some of the activities are free. Many schools offer extra-curricular activities to boost their academic education. Activities include sports and community-spirited clubs.

5. Use Polyclinic Services

Reduce your medical expenses by taking your children to polyclinics. In Barbados, polyclinics offer free health services to all children. Dental, optical and medical checks can be costly, so take advantage of the free, quality care. Make sure to call and make your appointments early.

What other tips can you add to this list?