IT is that time of the year when many parents get a headache.
Headache because it is only one week away from the start of the 2013 school year which means meeting educational expenses.
But the headaches can be lessened if a proper system of shopping is in place and there is understanding between the parents and their children.
The country's consumer watchdog, the Consumer Council of Fiji believes parents and students should work together at this time of the year.
Council's chief executive officer Premila Kumar said mutual understanding between parents and students when buying school items was important.
"The first thing that parents should do is to find out what items they have in the house, like old books, shoes and bags," she said.
"Parents should find out if these items can be re-used and if repairs are needed to shoes and bags, then they should get it done instead of buying a new one.
"For example, in most cases a 200 page exercise book would not have been used fully last year and there maybe some pages left in it.
"These exercise books can be used again this year as it will save the much-needed money in households."
Mrs Kumar said parents and students should also notify the school heads and teachers that they were looking for textbooks which could be bought from former students.
She said parents should also be careful of promotions.
"A lot of advertisements entice the children who should be involved in back to school shopping and they should also understand the financial position of their family.
"Parents should also not waste their money in buying 'knock-off' items at the price of originals, especially with the Cebo brand sandals."
Mrs Kumar also said parents should not follow instructions from their children's school to buy items from one particular shop.
"This is a breach of consumers' rights and parents should defy exclusive dealings between schools and shops."
She said parents would be able to save few dollars if they shopped around properly for their children's school needs.