Scholastic materials in down town, Kampala. Children have started reporting for Third term and parents’ income has been hit by the effects of hiked fuel prices. PHOTO/ MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI


Where to shop for back-to-school

What you need to know:

School fees is not the only thing parents are struggling to clear. For others, scholastic materials are an issue owing to the increased prices.

It is that time of the year again – taking children back to school. Several parents are on the edge about catering for all their children’s needs.

Oftentimes, some people say they should have children they can afford. No wonder, as last term came to a close, on receiving their children’s report cards, most parents first looked at how much the next term would cost before they looked at the performance. That is anxiety which shows people are scared about where to get the necessary finances.

Livingstone Mukasa, a financial advisor at Four-Four-One Financial Services Limited, says once one can afford the children they have, the source of their school needs does not matter.

“You can only say you can afford your children’s education if you can pay the school fees using one month’s pay. For instance, if between you and your spouse is Shs2m, then your children must be able to comfortably get fees and requirements sorted using that,” he says.

Children are going for third term and parents’ income has been hit by the effects of hiked fuel prices. As such, no parent is looking to swap schools at the moment but ensure they complete the school year with minimal interference.

Students entering the school premises at Kisubi Mapeera Senior Secondary School in Entebbe. PHOTO/ FILE

Mukasa says parents need to work with what they have. For instance, if the school fees is now more than your budget can handle, you can have a chat with the head teacher and ask that you pay in installments.

“Most schools have bank slips that can accommodate such payment plans. That said, you must keep your promise as per the agreement,” he shares.

Agnes Kamoga, a mother of five is in agreement with this suggestion.
“While the idea of approaching the head teacher to consider installation-payment was scary at first, I mustered all the courage and asked. The push was that I will never know if I did not ask. Now my children are in school which allows me buy the scholastic materials and then pay in four installments,” she nods.

School fees is not the only thing parents are struggling to clear. For others, scholastic materials are an issue owing to the increased prices because even with a budget, the sudden rise is one that many had not projected yet must live with.

Local shop
For parents with children in boarding schools, Mukasa says the local shop is far much better than going to Kikuubo to buy the school requirements. That is with the backdrop that most shops in Kikuubo prefer bulk purchases during these times yet one may not need so much per item or have the purchasing power to acquire that much.

“The local retail shop will allow you get a few soap tablets, two pairs of slippers and the like. However, that might be impossible to get from Kikuubo now. The same arrangements also works for children who are in day schools because they also need scholastic materials,” he says.
Additionally, , the local shop has an advantage over Kikuubo because one can get a few things on credit since they are known to the shop owner.

“However, such a service is impossible in Kikuubo as well as Jumia to whom you appear as any other client,” Mukasa says.

Alosius Atwiine, a father of two agrees with buying school supplies from the local shop as it helps him save on transport rather than heading to town. That is because the money he would have wanted to save gets used up in transport.

“Before deciding on whether to buy from town or nearby home, I compare the prices to make an informed decision. For example, if I want to buy an item which is Shs10,000 in town yet Shs15,000 at home, I am better off buying it at home because the transport I may use to get to town and back will be more than Shs10,000 which is higher than the price difference,” he shares.
If one has very many children returning to school, they may try Kikuubo to take advantage of wholesale prices.

However, parents and guardians need to remember that this wholesale hub is evolving. There is a ‘Kikuubo’ nearby in form of a wholesale shop that will give you what you need without going through the hustle and bustle that is currently the situation in Kikuubo. Moreover, when getting bulky supplies, buying from nearby home saves you the burden of hefty transport costs.

While some online platforms are offering what they term as crazy deals, Mukasa is hesitant to say much about them, save that not many people can complete an online transaction.

“There is the question of if you will get the right quantity and quality of what you are looking for. Currently, the physical shop may still have an upper hand,” he shares.