During back to school season a lot of moms head to Divisoria for their shopping. However, Divisoria isn’t for everybody. Divisoria, known for being a bargain hunter's paradise offers the lowest prices for school supplies but puts you at a disadvantage when you have to survive the travel inconvenience, the heat, the multitude of shoppers, some poor quality items that don’t last the whole school year and the risk to bad elements like pickpockets and fake items. Saddest of all, you can't take the kids. Taking the kids along during this back-to-school season isn't only for fun, it's necessary. They need to try on shoes and uniforms and they need to choose which designs they like. This will not only create excitement, it will also lessen their fear of school, especially the younger ones. So, why not go for stress-free back-to-school shopping where you can still get the best buys and avoid the crowds?
Popular bookstores and department stores will surely be thickly populated this back-to-school season. Below are places I recommend for budget-friendly shopping for school needs without the crowd.
This store offers imported items commonly used at home, consumer goods, home keeping wares, hardware tools, pet and party supplies and school items, all at P66 each. Some sets are big and can cost more than double their price at school supplies stores. School items at American Bazaar include pencil sets, erasers, flash cards, art supplies, paper items, office supplies, even other related school needs such as sandwich bags, hand sanitizers, aprons, calculators and socks. They also offer two-for-P66 items which sometimes includes glue sticks, notepads, stickers, projects and scrapbook items.
American Bazaar has branches in popular malls all over Metro Manila. There's one in Cash and Carry Makati, Waltermart Makati, Robinsons Otis Manila, MarketMarket Taguig and more.
Japan Home Center
This popular discount store is easy to find with branches in popular malls all around the Metro. They have nifty items for home, car, office and of course, school. I noticed that every time I visit, there is always something new on display. It's never boring to drop by any of its branches. I bought my little boy's Elmo sippy drink container from this store and he still happily uses it. It comes with a separate lunch box that's just as cute. Girls have fun too with Hello Kitty stainless cutlery, tinkerboxes and more. Some Japan Home Center branches have an Uncle Bills section where items are sold at P66 each. All items at Japan Home Center are at P88 with other "forever-on-sale" Daiso tagged items at P66. Some school items I found are bigger and of good quality, definitely more expensive if the same kind is bought from other stores. Disney, Hello Kitty and other character items are all original brands (no fakes). You can shop for home needs too.
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Buying from a school supplies stores this season may cost a bit more compared to open public markets but consumers get better value for their money. Items last longer and trade policies are complied with. Customers can return or exchange defective items and there are people who monitor quality and control suppliers before placing it on their shelves. Best of all, the kids can be free to choose designs they like and the place is secure. The last thing we want to happen is to lose our child in a public place.
In the next page are some bookstores I recommend for their fair prices, completeness of stocks, shopping ease and sparse crowd.