It's back to school time which means stores are filled with parents and their kids, picking out all the items needed to start a new school year! If you are wondering how to budget for the expenses, I went on New Day Cleveland to share 5 back to school budget tips and you can see that segment HERE.
If you would prefer to read the tips or are looking for a little more information on any of them, I have it all listed below as well.
Make a List & a Budget - Yep, you have some homework to do already! Consider taking inventory of your supplies and clothing to see what you actually need. Maybe the kids have some clothes that still fit and are in good shape to wear again this year? Also, many of us homeschooled or did some sort of virtual schooling in the last year so maybe you have some supplies tucked away that you forgot about? Once you make a list of everything you truly need, check prices online and then set a budget for what you can AND want to spend.
Buy quality items when it makes sense - Sometimes it might make sense to spend a little more on an item if you are pretty sure that means you won't have to buy it again this year. Buying higher quality lunch boxes and/or book bags might mean that your kid can use it again next year or possibly be able to pass it down to a younger sibling. For us, we have found that spending a little more on a pair of shoes for my daughter ends up savings us money in the long run. We used to buy the cheapest ones we could find because she grows so fast I hated spending much but what I found was that they would fall apart and I would have to replace them even before she outgrew them.
Wait... if you can. - As soon as the kids are back in school, all of the retailers will be itching to get the fall and winter holiday items out. And you know what that means?... they will likely put all the school supplies on deep discounts in order to get them out of the store. So, if you think you can hold off on getting some of the items, you might be able to score them at a pretty good discount.
Shop outside the box - Commonly we think about heading to one of the big box stores to go school shopping because you can get a lot of different items there. But sometimes you might be able to get some deals if you think about shopping somewhere else. For instance, the Dollar Tree always amazes me with the kinds of items they have for... you guessed it... $1. Also, if you need to buy new tech items for your kids for school or maybe your family needs a computer for homework, consider checking out a local Tech Shop. Riz Tech is a store in Medina that offers refurbished computers and other tech items and they also sell new items for really decent prices. If you have a local Tech Shop near you, consider checking to see what they have. I know they will appreciate you supporting their small business and you might get a great deal at the same time. Win-Win. If you are shopping online, be sure you are using cash back apps and browser extensions that will help you save money. Ramsey personalities, Rachel Cruze and George Kamel talk about a lot of those apps and extensions in this video!
Get the kids involved - Going back to the first tip I mentioned, consider asking your kids what they would really like to have new this year and what they would be okay re-using from last year. Also, I think it is a really good idea to set expectations with them ahead of time. Tell them what your budget is and/or what you plan to purchase for them and let them know that if they want something above and beyond what you have agreed to purchase, they can bring their chore money or birthday money to buy it. Dave Ramsey often talks about the importance of your kids hearing you talk about money early and often. Of course, money conversations should be age appropraite but involving kids in the conversation helps them to have ownership and know the expectations before you even get to the aisle with all the shiny new supplies.
A bonus tip would be to start a back to school sinking fund! That won't help you this year but next year you will be really glad you have that money sitting in the account specifically for school shopping. If you are new to what sinking funds are, this article explains them in detail.
If you have questions related to your finances, please feel free to reach out to one of the advisors on our team. We would be happy to help!
BACK TO SCHOOL BUDGETS
August 12, 2021
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