How families struggling with cost of back-to-school supplies and fees can save

Click to play video: 'Expert advice to help you save on back to school expenses' Expert advice to help you save on back to school expenses
WATCH ABOVE: For tens of thousands of out-of-work Albertans these next weeks may be extra stressful. Mia Sosiak talked to some energy industry dads about how they’re getting by, plus some expert advice on how to save on back-to-school costs – Aug 17, 2016

The cost of back-to-school shopping is tough to avoid, especially if you’re a dad who can’t find work, like fathers—and brothers—George and Paul Blazek.

The two horizontal drilling field specialists have been without any contracts for over a year and visited a Calgary job fair Wednesday.

George has three kids in school plus a baby. He used to earn a six-figure salary—but recently bought his job interview outfit for $12 at a thrift store, so his kids could have new clothes for school.

“’How do people live for $50,000 a year or $60,000 a year? How do they do it? I don’t understand.’ I really thought that way,” he recalled. “And now I live that way.”
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Paul’s daughter is heading into Grade 1. He started a window washing business to bring in some cash.

“I did the best I could to help her out with school fees,” he said. “It’s just tough.”

Calgary dad Paul Blazek and daughter. Blazek family

The Calgary Credit Counselling Society recommends shopping for used clothing and giving older kids firm shopping budgets.

They suggest apps like Price Jump can help find deals. Another tip is to look for used textbooks online—but check prices are in Canadian dollars and the shipping costs are listed.

When it comes to after-school activities, families should ask about financial aid.

Hockey Calgary expects registration to be flat this fall with an anticipated 20 per cent increase in demand for a break on fees.

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“We don’t like to turn anyone away, so we will look to support all our kids,” spokesperson Kevin Kobelka said.

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