Jamaica News: The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is offering practical tips to shoppers on a tight budget, that should assist as they make their back-to-school purchases.
Speaking with JIS News, Communications Specialist at the CAC, Dorothy Campbell, said that while this is an anxious period, she is assuring parents that there are ways to ensure that their children are equipped with all they need for the new school term while staying within budget.
“I am talking about parents who are on a tight budget, such as single parent families with a sole provider. Get that child ready for the first two or three weeks of school. You don’t need to purchase four uniforms and two pairs of shoes and all the texts at once. Break it down into bite sizes and buy what is necessary for the first three weeks of school and then you will be able to manage the rest of the term,” she advised.
“We don’t want parents to be overwhelmed. Do not get all stressed out about the total amount of the bill. Look at the critical items on the list (and get those things first),” Ms. Campbell added.
For school uniforms, she said it might not be necessary to purchase several new sets. Rather, she is recommending that parents check the condition of the ones the child has now to see if they still fit and colours are not faded. This, she said, will guide them as to whether or not new uniforms should be bought and how many.
She said it is not necessary to buy uniforms for every day of the week. Instead, purchase a few sets of uniforms.
“Choose two uniforms and get the accessories – tie, socks and a pair of shoes. Get the child ready for two weeks, because within that two-week period, you would have been preparing for another pay cheque,” she advised.
Ms. Campbell said that to economise on uniform expenses, parents can opt to have them made by a tailor or dressmaker as this is more economical than buying the ready- made ones, and to ensure that the uniform is made to the school specifications by getting a pattern from the school (colour and measurements).
She advised that when purchasing shoes, parents must make sure that they are in compliance with the school’s guidelines, and to buy shoes that are comfortable and durable.
Also, it is recommended that parents purchase shoes that the child can grow into, so they should not fit too closely.
When buying bags, look at how practical and durable it is rather than style, and before the child begins using it, parents can have the bags reinforced by taking it to a shoe maker, dressmaker or tailor for extra stitches to be added, Ms. Campbell said.
On the subject of text books, she said they should be wrapped. “We encourage parents to have children wrap the textbooks. Do not mark their names across the pages until you are absolutely certain it is a book you will need and is the right edition. In the event that you need to exchange it at the book store or return it after a couple of weeks, at least it will be in good condition and you won’t need to forfeit that money you have already spent,” she explained.
Ms. Campbell emphasised that shoppers should ensure that they get a receipt with all purchases and retain these as this will be your proof of purchase, should there be a need for redress or refund.
For more information on back-to-school shopping, persons can visit: www.cac.gov.jm.
Source: JIS News