Getting ready for school a costly affair

Back to school blues: A mother and daughter looking at new school bags at a shopping centre in Ipoh.

PETALING JAYA - While children are buzzing with excitement over their new school supplies, their parents are walking with a frown at the sight of the higher than expected price tags.

Ipoh-based housewife S. Logammal Leelavathy, 52, said she was shocked when she went shopping for uniforms for her two children, aged 15 and 17.

"I remember buying a set of uniforms for them which only cost RM30 (S$10) per pair about two years back.

"Now, the cost is RM75 per pair. I have to buy at least two pairs for one child, which means I am spending about RM300 on their uniforms alone," she said.

Checks by The Star at malls here found that the prices for a pair of primary school long pants now ranged between RM30 and RM41, depending on size.

"For one child, I have to pay RM220 for books and stationery and RM250 for uniforms and shoes.

"This is just the basic cost because I have not included school fees and uniforms for co-curricular activities," said a parent, who declined to be named.

With the start of the school session just around the corner, Twitter is filled with comments from both parents and students.

Twitter user Fairuz Rusli noted that there had been a 30 per cent to 50 per cent increase in uniform and school shoe prices from last year while user @firasy_safra said his mother had also complained that supplies were costlier now.

However, a few parents are looking at the matter positively, saying that this could teach them to be better consumers.

"I guess it makes me a better consumer by forcing me to constantly hunt for the best deals.

"Post school-break sales can offer great discounts, too," said one mother of three.

Twitter user Nurul Ain said parents had to teach their children to take better care of the items they had bought.

"They have to teach the kids to take care of their things so that they last longer.

This is one of the ways to save money," she said.