News Release Archive

The Department of Business and Consumer Services recommends three
simple strategies to prevent a serious dent in family finances
due to back-to-school expenses.

"Budgeting, bargain-hunting and compromise are the keys to
successful school supply shopping," said the minister, Wayne
Gaudet. "They help ease a stressful period for both students and

Planning is the first step. Figure out how much money is
available and resolve to stay within that limit.

Next, get the kids involved. Working with them, prepare a rough
breakdown of the back-to-school budget, including ballpark
figures for clothes, books, supplies, sporting equipment and any
fees required.

The kids can also play a role in bargain-hunting. Have them look
through sales catalogues, newspaper inserts and flyers.

"Make the exercise fun for them, but remind them to stay within
the budget you have agreed upon," advised Mr. Gaudet. "Getting
your children involved in the process can help you enlist their
support to take advantage of the best bargains available for

One obvious source of bargains is the bulk-buy offer, often found
on items such as notepaper, folders, binders and pens. Also, keep
in mind that prices usually go up as soon as the back-to-school
season is over. However, some items should not be purchased until
the school year actually starts. For instance, a little science
whiz-kid may show up in physics class with the wrong calculator
and the parent may end up buying two quite expensive units.

This brings up another important point: the refund policy. When
something is such a good deal you cannot pass it up, make sure
the store accepts returns. If it is not clearly posted on a sign
in the store, ask to have the policy written on the sales

The compromise part of the equation usually comes in when it is
time to buy clothes, likely the biggest budgetary challenge of
back-to-school time.

"Kids want to be in fashion and therefore have very specific
ideas about what they want to wear. But sometimes children's
tastes and the family income are miles apart and a compromise
needs to be found," said Mr. Gaudet. "Developing the budget with
your children can make it easier to make a compromise when
necessary and will teach them an important lesson about
controlling spending which will serve them well throughout their

With Back-to-School Budgeting 101 behind them, parents will be
more relaxed and students will be ready to hit the books with a


Contact: Louise MacDonald
         Business and Consumer Services

ngr                 September 5, 1997                 1:58 pm