(Family Features) Families are working to stretch their back-to-school shopping budgets further this year, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Foundation. But saving money isn’t just about how much you spend on supplies; it’s also about making school supplies and equipment last as long as possible.
Here are some tips for protecting your students’ school gear to help stretch your budget – and their gear:
Talk with children about handling tech devices. Kids will be kids, and sometimes that means they’ll be tough on their stuff. Unfortunately, their school-mandated tech devices – such as calculators, tablets and laptops – can’t always take the beating. To reduce the risk of accidental breakage, talk to kids about proper handling and storage of their devices and the potential risks for breakage when drops, spills and hard impacts occur.
Lighten the backpack load. Between books and laptops, students tend to pack a lot of heavy items in their backpacks during the course of a school year. As the load increases, backpack zippers may break, and seams may tear from the daily stress. Reduce the wear and tear by ensuring your kids don’t over-pack their bags. Not only will this reduce strain on their backpacks, it will lighten the load on students’ backs as well.
Consider a protection plan. Research shows that some school essentials – such as backpacks and laptop batteries – break or stop functioning within the first 1-2 years of use. To help keep costs down, many retailers offer reputable protection plans, such as SIMPLR, which can help repair or replace the equipment for free or a fraction of what you’d normally pay on your own.
Sharing isn’t always caring. Even if your child handles his calculator or laptop with care, his friends might not. Establish guidelines with your kids at the start of the school year about what items can be shared with others at school and which cannot. For those things that can be shared, consider encouraging your child to establish ground rules when sharing with friends. Guidelines could include when the item should be returned, tasks for which the item will be used and an understanding that items will be handled with care.
For more information on protection plans for your child’s school supplies and tech devices, visit simplrplan.com.