Ask a Mexican

This Week’s Question is: It’s that time of year again: Back to school. How much do you spend on each child to equip them for the school year?

1.Manuel Antonio Juarez, 23, rancher.

I have a little girl who is just starting kindergarten, and we have to buy many things we had no idea we had to. I thought they would give me a list, but public school kindergarten they sort of let you know what they need and you have to agree, if you disagree it’s ok but I’m scared they won’t give my child the education she needs if I don’t buy her finger-paint. Also, a  lunchbox, backpack, water bottle, sippy cup, and plastic apron, all costing around 80 dollars, which is not that much considering that I also have to buy her school clothes and shoes.


2.Adrian Gonzalez, 27, bartender.

The list they gave me for my son is not at all long, maybe 100 dollars, but he is in lower primary, which means he is quite careless and I have to buy him new stuff every two months or so. We get some government help but their cheap notebooks are like tissue paper for him, and he will need about four times the usual package they hand out. . I also have to buy him stuff for him to do his homework, like clay and markers which they don’t tell you you will need but do, and that is like 50 dollars extra.


3.Juan Herrera, 35, security guard.

I have two kids and it makes a big difference what year they are going in. The young one is in the 5th grade and will take around 200 dollars to equip, plus uniforms and shoes, so about 250 dollars over all. The oldest one is in 7th grade, she just started middle school and they ask for geometry sets and lab coats and stuff like that, which is more expensive than what I thought, so I would say 300 dollars, and she already had a uniform but she grew out of it, so an extra 50 bucks thanks to her growth spurt.


4.Irma Martinez, 38, cook.

I am so glad my son is in 6th grade, because it’s cheaper than middle school. His teachers gave me a list and told me to make sure I bought a couple of extra pencils and notebooks if they’re on discount because the ones the government gives us are really poor quality. I spend about 380 dollars because I always try to buy a little more extra, and the pencils they ask for art class are crazy expensive; but he has to have a specific kind because the other ones don’t really work the way they should. Lucky for me, I have a husband who always strives to give them the best he can.


5.Consuelo Arambide, 44, merchant.

My four children are in high school and middle school and it’s about 200 dollars each, but the good thing is the real expensive stuff they pass down from the oldest one, and they all help me with what they can, they have little jobs. Pretty much the worst thing I have to spend money on is their backpacks because they go through one every year, sometimes they can afford it themselves, this year I’m only buying the youngest one the whole kit.


6.Dalia Ordoñez, 22, housekeeper.

I have a kid in middle school, and the school provides with most materials, but the stuff they give is very cheap. Also they give the materials about a month in, so I have to buy something for him to start the year. These are some rough times, because I can do with the cheap stuff, but it’s very low quality, so I would have to buy everything again. So I rather spend 160 dollars just once.