Prioritise back-to-school shopping, says JN Foundation ambassadorMonday, August 02, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— With many families still reeling from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the JN Foundation is encouraging parents to prioritise when they shop for back-to-school for the upcoming school year in September.
“Not only will they have to think about how much they spend, but they will also need to consider what they buy,” says Michael Collins, ambassador for the JN Foundation's BeWi$e Financial Empowerment Programme.
Collins noted that unlike previous years, school uniforms may not be at the top of the list in 2021 as full or part-time online learning may continue to be a reality for some schools, depending on whether COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.
“Parents may need to invest in laptops or tablets, as well as a comfortable work area which includes a desk and chair for their children if they will be attending online classes this school year,” Collins reasoned.
The JN ambassador, who is also manager of the JN Bank Youth Banking Unit, noted that this does not mean parents should forego purchasing school uniforms, but rather they may be able to purchase less than in previous years.
“Instead of buying five sets, they could possibly purchase three sets of uniforms and use the money they save to supplement another area of their budget,” said Collins. He also said that while textbooks remain the top priority, if funds are tight and parents are unable to buy all the books at once, they should speak with their child's teacher to determine which books are most essential at the start of the year, as opposed to those that can be purchased later.
Collins also advised that parents should shop around when purchasing textbooks.
“Do your research and compare prices. Use the telephone or go online so you won't waste time and gas driving around from store to store. Also, ask friends and relatives to help you source used textbooks,” he said. He also advised parents to buy quality products, so that they last a long time, thus reducing the need to purchase the same items each term.
“Items like lunch kits, school bags, shoes and igloos can last a long time once they are cared for properly,” said Collins.
And, in order to save money, the JN ambassador said parents may consider borrowing or buying some items second hand.
“You may be able to purchase a second-hand desk or chair from a friend or relative at a reasonable cost for online learning,” he said. He added that parents, whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic, should consider buying the bare minimum at the start of the school year.
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