3 ways to save on school books for nursery and primary school

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Singapore's education system is extremely comprehensive. From nursery school onwards, each grade is meant to prepare your child for the next step, and ultimately university or a vocational degree. To prepare your kids, your school will follow a state-guided curriculum that may often involve you buying additional reading material for your child.

This includes nursery and primary school books that discuss a range of topics from vocabulary to mathematics. Since these books may become expensive, we've listed some helpful tips to keep in mind to help you save on these costs.

Buy used books from parents who don't need them anymore

Parents whose children have already completed that school grade might be itching to sell their books online—often at a fraction of the original price. In some cases, you can find relatively inexpensive books with minimal marking.

For example, Carousell, an online retailer, sells new and used nursery school books for as little as $1. What's even better is that in some cases you can contact the seller and negotiate the price down, especially if you're buying in bulk from one provider.

Another option is to look out for books being sold on online forums like your school's or apartment building's Facebook page.

There, you might find people who are giving books away for free since they are no longer useful to them and just add clutter to their space. Remember that some used books on sale for really low prices might have writing on them, so you should check with the seller to see if you can either erase the marks or if you are better off buying something else with limited marking.

Where possible, buy your books in bulk

If you need to buy both textbooks and assessment books for multiple courses, consider buying them in bulk. This is because the prices per book will amount to less in a package deal than if you would buy each book individually.

For example, 6 Chinese Story Books for N1-K1 on Carousell costs $5 for the whole set. This is significantly cheaper than buying them individually at an average cost of $10 per book. To find the best deal and save the most money possible, make sure you compare prices on several resale websites like Carousell, Facebook Marketplace, Lazada, and Qoo10.

Shop smart with a cash-back credit card

To save even more on your child's school books and other school supplies, consider using a cashback rewards credit card with a high rebate of 5.22per cent on general purchases.

This way, even if you spend S$50 on all your kids' school supplies, you will get up to S$2.61 back on your purchases. Over time, and especially if you have multiple children, this could save you hundreds of dollars on your kid's school supplies.

Investing in your child's future doesn't mean you have to overspend

Although it may be financially difficult to spend a lot of money on your kid's school supplies, there are smart ways to make your purchases more affordable.

To recap, always buy used books instead of new ones where possible, see if there are forums where you can get them for free, buy your kid's books for the year in bulk, and use a credit card that will give you money back. By putting into practice these smart shopping habits now, you will save enough money for the more expensive education costs (like university or vocational school) down the line.

This article was first published in ValueChampion.

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