Back to school: Can I really afford it?

by EPI Staff on July 31, 2011

Q: My son’s teacher sent me a back-to-school supply list–and some items, such as a fancy calculator, are too pricey for my current budget. Should I call the school for advice, ask other moms to pool money, or buy it all anyway?

A: Contact the school for advice; they may have supplies you can borrow. Also, check online for secondhand items, or talk to other parents who might have things you can borrow.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam July 31, 2011 at 6:37 pm

About a month ago I was in a pawn shop and they were selling graphing calculators and many other calculators. I never thought of looking there when I was in college and needing a graphing calculator. Just another option that might be available to you. Enjoy the remainder of summer vacation!

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Camille August 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm

My office participates in a school supplies drive every year. My advice is to let the teacher know and the school principle and anyone you can think of that works at the school ASAP. Based on what I know, almost all schools get donations of school supplies for the sole purpose of helping those who can’t afford them. In the town where I work, Churches, Rotary Clubs, and other service clubs donate school supplies as well. Often, the supplies are given to the teachers to give out, sometimes though the schools look at rosters and give the supplies to the children that have assited lunch programs. Good Luck, I know that help is out there….be brave and ask for it.

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Stephen September 20, 2011 at 7:07 am

I would contact the school and explain that you cannot afford all the items. See if all of them are needed on the first days or not and if there are some of them that could be purchased a month or two later, or even some that may only be needed second semester. As for the fancy calculator and other expensive items, see if a less expensive model would work, or check E-bay for used ones of that model, or perhaps another student who recently graduated would be willing to sell you theirs cheaper.

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