Kindergarten School

Going Frugal: Making Worksheets Without Spending Too Much

It’s examination week… again!

It was also examination week the other week (when we stayed at Go Hotels Lanang), but that time, we were studying for their first monthly exams. Now, we’re I’m busy again preparing for another week of examinations — their first periodic exams this time.

And for me, exam week means printing worksheet after worksheet after worksheet. At the moment, I just finished printing more than 25 pages of worksheets and mock exams. It sounds like a lot of work for the child, but really it’s not. There’s just many pages involved when you take big fonts, generous writing spaces, and attractive pictures into consideration.

(Whenever I make worksheets, I feel a renewed respect for my mother, who had to write everything by hand and use carbon paper to duplicate sheets. God bless the day we finally bought a typewriter, but it wasn’t the most convenient thing to use when making mock exams…)

I didn’t actually realise the amount of printing it takes to raise a kindergartener. It’s only July now, but I think I’ve already used up a hundred sheets of paper. And if you’re on a budget and trying to be frugal, it’s a lot! So how do I save on worksheets and mock exams? Here are the things I do that can hopefully be of help to you.

1. Recycle paper.

Remember those forms that you were never able to fill in or those price lists you requested or fliers you kept but never looked at? Yep, use those! Honestly, I haven’t used a single sheet of new paper yet. All I’ve ever used were used papers, scratch papers, and print-outs with errors or lopsided photocopies. If you have them at home, don’t throw them out! Simply use the clean side of the paper.

You can see on the wrong side of the page that it’s been used before for village transactions.

In my case, I spent one Saturday afternoon (just an hour, really) in our family home office. I’m quite lucky because my mother never throws out things. I dug through all the used papers that she kept in a pile and gathered those that I can reuse. Voila, I now have a ream of scratch papers to use!

I use these drawers (around P450 for 2 drawers at National Bookstore) to store printing paper

Scratch paper kingdom inside

If you don’t have access to this much scratch paper, try asking your neighbours or nearby offices. I’m sure you’ll encounter someone happy to unload his “trash” to someone else!

2. Use dry-erase markers and a thin plastic envelope.

If you think my “frugality” was limited to using recycled paper, sorry you’re wrong! At first, I was letting Yuri use the worksheets normally, as in with pencil and eraser. However, I thought it was still a waste of paper if we can only use a sheet once. And you know how kids are: they need repetition. I tried erasing the answers, but it was tiresome lol and not so effective.

Fastener-ready plastic folders (P12 each at Unicity) and, um, my secret weapon

I originally wanted one of those acrylic dry-erase pockets that would cost me around $40 including shipping. But I saw inconsistent reviews. If they turned out to be flimsy, then I would’ve spent $40 for nothing.  Instead, I bought those thin zip-style envelopes. It costs P10 apiece so I bought 2 just in case. It’s been a month and we’re still using the same plastic envelope and it appears to be able to last long!

My 10-peso dry-erase pocket!

We use it as “whiteboard,” too. Just place it on top of any smooth white material.

As for the dry-erase marker, I choose Expo. It’s odorless, which is important because I’m very sensitive to strong smells. The marks are also really really easy to erase!

I’ve used a lot of other dry-erase markers before, but so far, Expo is the best. It’s P39 at Gmall Grocery.

3. Search the internet for free worksheets!

I’m so glad to be parenting in the time when you can get almost everything for free on the internet if you just search hard enough. For Yuri’s practice worksheets, I just Google related topics and download the worksheets for free! Then for his mock exams, while I create them myself, I use images from the free worksheets so I wouldn’t have to draw or search separately.

I’m so thankful to the owner of samutsamot.com! Filipino worksheets are not so elusive anymore thanks to you!

The websites I use the most are myteachingstation.comcleverlearner.comsamutsamot.com, and education.com. I use other websites, too, but these are usually the first ones I check.

4. Invest in a cost-effective laser printer.

If you thought laser printers were expensive, think again. My Brother printer probably costs less than P3,000 — though I got it for free when I bought my laptop in 2015 (thank you, Octagon) — but even if I didn’t get it as a freebie, I would still buy it.

I’ve been using this printer for more than 2 years na and it’s still running smoothly. I don’t spend anything on upkeep because there’s nothing to refill or replace. Another thing I love about it is that it is very fast and efficient; I don’t have to spend a lot of time printing stuff. The only downside is I can’t print in color but it’s a negligible inconvenience for me.


How do you deal with worksheets? What are your tipid tips?

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