Mum says ‘stick it’ to book lists
PARENTS have been told to 'stick the guilt' when it comes to school supplies instead of breaking the budget.
National parent advocacy group, The Parenthood, has backed the approach of Springfield Lakes single mum Amanda Ross, who refuses to use the school-advised book list.
She is preparing four of her six children for the school year and is saving hundreds of dollars choosing affordable brands.
A glue stick sparked the change.
"My son was once sent home with an non brand-name glue stick ... and told not to bring it back since it was not as sticky as the school's preferred brand," Ms Ross said.
This year, her children would have practical lunch boxes, quality second-hand uniforms and no Bostik glue.
In backing Ms Ross, The Parenthood executive director Jo Briskey said schools should be doing more to cut costs for parents.
"I'd argue schools should, in pulling together their list of resources needed for the new school year, list the least expensive option for each item," she said.
"If it gets the job done why should it matter what brand a pencil, glue stick, or a pair of scissors is?
"No parent should be forced to buy a particular brand of school product if there is an alternative that does the job at half the cost.
"Our kid's education isn't contingent on particular branded products or buying the most expensive books and pencils."
Ms Ross urged other parents who struggled financially at back to school time to follow her lead, guilt free.
"(The childrens') lunch boxes cost me over $100 last year from being lost or broken so I grabbed normal containers on sale at Woolies ... and a drink bottle for $1 from Big W," she said of this year's preparations.
" ... I kept thinking, 'You're so slack. Your kids are not going to be happy.
"They want Ninja Turtles and Barbie like their friends'."
But when she showed the purchases to her five and six-year-olds they were chuffed.
"I (was) so relieved ... the pressure we put on ourselves sometimes is so crazy," Ms Ross said.
"Everyone tries their hardest and it's OK to not always get the top of the line stuff."
Abandoning the school advised stationery list this year saved her more than $100, money she used to buy her older children a printer.
"The budget conscious, time poor, and yes a little lazy version (of me) just wants the kids to go to school with their essentials and be OK that they have everything they need whether their uniforms are second-hand or their glue sticks are Officeworks brand," Ms Ross said.
"Sometimes this single mum ... wonders how she does it all, then I thank Afterpay and my mad budgeting skills and my Dad who gives me gift cards to spend on myself for Christmas, but I always use them for back to school stuff."