Is the 4th of July the new “Back to School” time of year?
For many, the 4th of July seems like halfway through summer. And if you have visited a store recently, it evidently also means the start of fall. Between the “end of summer sales” and the fall/Halloween decorations starting to come out, many have a hard time believing that school starting is just around the corner.
In the never-ending search to try and save money in what seems to be an ever-increasing economy, thinking “Back to School” in July may have some benefits if you plan ahead.
Planning Ahead in July
As I tell many of my coaching clients, one of the critical tools in being successful with budgeting is being proactive rather than reactive. Especially if you have an upcoming known cost, why wait to plan on back-to-school costs until right before you head out the door to go shopping? Start now to put yourself and your wallet in a better space.
Before hitting the stores for back-to-school shopping, below are some actions you can take.
Inventory your house
This means look around and see what was used last year that is still good, wasn’t used at all, or you have extra. This goes from classroom supplies to backpacks, lunch boxes, clothes, and shoes. There is no reason to buy new simply because it is “a new school year.” By simply inventorying your home/closet before you head to the store, you could save a lot of money by taking the extra time.
Make a list – and check it twice
Santa shouldn’t be the only one making a list and double-checking things this “back-to-school season.” Again, to be proactive is to know precisely what you need vs. “having an idea” and being tempted with impulse buying while at the store(s). This step can easily coincide with inventorying your “goods” tip mentioned above.
Setting your Game Plan
Outside of planning ahead, setting up your game plan is critical in cost saving. Once you know what you need, finding the most cost-efficient ways to purchase the items is the next step.
This step is another piece of homework before heading to the stores (or clicking the purchase button for online shopping). Do some research between stores and online sites to make sure you are getting the best price. Most stores have their sale prices listed for all items, which makes it easy to compare one site to the next on multiple tabs when trying to find the best pricing. You may have to do some piecemealing when purchasing items, but if it saves you more in the long run, the multiple stops (or online carts) may be the better option.
Buy bulk and split
I know buying in bulk may not be the option for just your family, but there are cost savings when you purchase large quantities at one time. Find a friend or another family needing the same items and cost-share the things with them. It’ll be a win-win for both (or multiple) families!
Lastly, don’t forget to shop your Tax-Free Weekend! Most states recognize that school supplies and back-to-school clothing shopping can burden families and have a tax-free weekend. Be aware that every state is different, so check out your specific state’s dates (and fine print) on what is tax-free. Check out this article to see when your State’s Tax-Free Weekend for 2023 is.
*Bonus Tip – Start a Sinking Fund!*
This may not help you this year regarding back-to-school shopping; however, it can help prepare you for next year’s shopping. Not familiar with what a sinking fund is? Check out this article explaining the basics of a sinking fund and how to set one up to help you be proactive with budgeting for known expenses throughout the year.
Want more tips? Read Eliminate Back-to-School Blues with these Money-Saving Tips, also found on the Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers blog page by our Chief Financial Coaching Officer, Lindsey Curry. Schedule a meeting today if you need help discussing how to properly set up a sinking fund or budget!
PROACTIVE APPROACH ON BACK TO SCHOOL
July 31, 2023
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