With inflation, the cost of the school supply basket has skyrocketed this year. Solidarity sales, destocking, sorting and recycling of old business… Parents of students tell BFMTV.com how they organize themselves to limit their expenses.
This year, the son of Stéphanie Schreiber repeats his third. So to limit the effects of rising prices, it decided to bet on recovery. “We only buy the bare minimum, that is to say ink cartridges, erasers and a few notebooks,” she explains. “For the rest, we will reuse the things that are not too worn, especially for everything related to binders, kits and bags.”
Because one week before the start of the school year and in a context of high inflation, parents’ faces are not necessarily happy on the shelves of stationery stores and supermarkets: like many other products, a “sharp” increase of 4.25% in the cost of school supplies was noted by the national federation Families of France in its 38th annual survey on the cost of going back to sixth grade.
“Inflation does not spare the school and concerns all schooling, from supplies to catering”, explained Éric Labastie, secretary general of the FCPE, the first organization of parents of students.
“The context is particular”, abounds Émilie, who spent around 150 euros this year for her daughter who will return to sixth grade in Arvillard (Savoie). Previously, she was more used to paying around thirty euros. “Food, gasoline, electricity, everything went up. I already feel that we consume differently by force of circumstance, but at some point, you can’t do more than what you already do.”
“Small arrangements” to avoid over-consumption
If the Ministry of National Education has asked schools to “focus on producing lists of reasonable supplies in order to limit the financial cost for families”, Stéphanie Schreiber believes that “teachers always ask too much”. “For example, every year we are asked for gouaches, but they never used them…”
“I learned to decipher the lists,” she says. “Now I salvage what I can from previous years and only buy what is strictly necessary.”
“I prefer to wait until my son asks me in the middle of the year if he misses something”, continues the mother living in Niort (Deux-Sèvres). “It avoids unnecessary overconsumption, and then it teaches teenagers to respect their equipment, to take care of it so that it lasts longer.”
Laëtitia Charfi, Atsem in a nursery school in Plessis-Robinson (Hauts-de-Seine), also no longer respects the lists to the letter. “When they ask for a notebook with a black cover and I have some left with a navy blue cover, I don’t be choosy. I make sure to take something that is close to what is requested, but I adapt, I make small arrangements.”
Jump on lots of products at bargain prices
To mitigate the note, Laëtitia Charfi has another unstoppable technique: this mother of three children aged 17, 8 and 5 staggers the purchases of basic products throughout the year in order to spread out the expenses. “It’s expensive to have to pay at the last moment, especially when you have several children,” she explains. “When you’re alone with three children, you have to hunt for good deals, especially at this time.”
“I keep an eye all year round and when I see promotions or lot sales, I jump at the chance,” says Laëtitia Charfi.
A few weeks before the start of the school year, the 43-year-old mother, for example, renewed her stock of colored pencil stickers and pouches by ordering batches on Showroomprivé or Veepee, e-commerce sites that offer discounts on products of Mark.
Solidarity sales for good deals
To limit the bill, some parents prefer to turn to destocking signs or sales at reduced prices such as Action, Lidl, Stockomani, Noz or even Costco. “I think you have to break away from the dictatorship of brands if you don’t want to be robbed,” says Maïté Balart, mother of a teenager. Others, like Audrey Dimier, favor second-hand purchases.
The childminder at Bourget-du-Lac (Savoie), for example, found her son’s school bag (who will be entering CP) on the second-hand platform Vinted. “I was looking for a very particular model, which is ergonomic. In the end I found a new one for 30 euros, against 80 in stores.
For the rest, this mother of two children went to a solidarity sale of school supplies organized by Emmaüs in early August. Every summer all over France, local branches attract thousands of French people with their sales of school materials at bargain prices, from donations and unsold items.
“We’re not going to lie to each other, it takes a little longer than going to the supermarket because you have to rummage around a bit, but it’s worth it. You can find everything, you can make your list at a lower cost and for all levels”, rejoices the 37-year-old mother, who spent 1h30 on the spot.
“For only 10.50 euros, I left with three kits, reams of A4 paper, metal and plastic rulers, markers, three ring binders and colored paper”, she lists.
In addition to the back-to-school allowance (376.98 euros per child from 6 to 10 years old, up to 411.56 euros from 15 to 18 years old), paid this month of August subject to means, some 10 8 million low-income households will receive from September 15 exceptional aid of 100 euros, plus 50 euros per dependent child.
Destocking, opportunity… How parents are trying to limit the back-to-school bill