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Best school budget buys

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With the beginning of the academic year kicking off, parents are forced to break the bank with unavoidable purchases of school stationery essentials. For those who have not budgeted for these items or that have more than one child, it can be a costly and time consuming nightmare. Retail giant Makro, a partner with the Voice of the Cape Stationery Drive says consumers are price sensitive and it is all about convenience when it comes to parents making school stationery purchases.

“With consumers today being price sensitive, convenience plays a big factor in their purchase selections. Many retail outlets focus on offering value offerings. An example of this would be that parents used to use plastic or brown paper rolls back in the day. Now almost all stores offer pre-cut book covers or covers are on the books. That is what the modern day or working parents are looking for,” says Makro marketing manager Munier Solomon.

They recommend the use of a catalogue to compare prices of items and budget for the school stationery essentials.
“People are price sensitive and it is about how much money they can save. It is always important to have a catalogue available as a guideline,” says Solomon.

VOC focused on the average cost of the basic school stationery essentials for a grade 1 learner. According to Solomon, grade 1 is one of the most expensive grades at school. This is due to primary school learners working with prescribed lists compared to secondary school learners who can use items of prior years.

“With the foundation phase, schools send out a prescribed list of the required items before the previous year ends,” says Solomon.

The average cost of the recommended items of stationery for grade 1 amounted to the following at these four retail outlets:
Shoprite: R153
Pick ‘n Pay: 187.39
Makro: R155
Pep: R118.37

The recommended items included seven A4 books, ruler, eraser, two HB pencils, colouring pencils, pencil bag or pencil case, plastic sleeves, plastic rolls to cover books, brown paper rolls to cover books, book labels and files. However, the brands and quality of these items differed from store to store.

According to Steve Hoban, the general manager for Pick ‘n Pay Smart Shopper, the retailer has put a special focus on offering our customers the best deals possible on back-to-school products.

“We have stocked our stores so that customers who need to shop at the last moment should be able to find everything they need,” he says.

The retail outlet has special offers for price sensitive parents or those still recovering their budgets from the festive season.

“For parents facing the expensive back-to-school week, we are offering 5x smart shopper points voucher, which smart shoppers can access at the smart shopper kiosk on all stationery from 4 January to 1 February. We would advise customers to check prices and specials, and to maximise the smart shopper points,” says Hoban.

Solomon says parents should not stress about school preparations as most retail outlets have taken their needs into consideration and has focused on providing items that offer convenience that will save them time. SAPA

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