I resent getting sucked into buying expensive school-book-fair books. What can I do?

Many schools use portable book fairs as fundraisers, but the books can be pricey. Not only that, many so-called "book" fairs make money off toys, posters, and tchotchkes. (Guess what attracts kids' attention more: books or toys?) As with anything, setting boundaries is the key to participating without feeling resentful. Here are some ideas:

Go in on teacher "wish lists." Sometimes teachers add the books they want for their classroom collections to a book fair wish list for parents to purchase. Consider going in on a book with other parents; there's no reason you should feel compelled to foot the bill yourself.

Say no to toys. Books -- OK. Erasers, piggybanks, dolls -- nuh-uh. (And for those books that literally have toys attached to their packaging? Your call.)

Set limits. Establish the number of books you'll purchase or a price maximum. No time like the present for your kids to learn how to work within restrictions.

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