The easy-going days of summer go by more quickly than you realize. Why does switching back to the structure and routine of a school year feel so hectic? We can’t answer that, but we do know that all the planning and shopping can take a toll on your energy—and bank account—if you’re not prepared.
Before that happens, check out these tips for getting back-to-school ready on a budget.
Set Your Budget
We all know that budgeting is good financial sense for everyday life. But for events that happen only once a year, like the start of a new school year, a budget is even more useful. Know what your credit limit is and decide how much of that should be attributed toward school shopping.
When budgeting, make sure to include more than just supplies: there are also start-of-year fees, like lunch programs, sports, clubs, and activities. If you have budgets for other regular expenses, you may have to adjust them to compensate for this month’s school spending.
Simplify and Save
Odds are, you still have pens, pencils, and other basics left over from last year. Reusing these materials is a perfect way to save money—and simplify your shopping list. It’s fun to have new supplies, but if you repurpose some of last year’s, you could save enough to splurge on something more exciting for the kids. (Think of a cool new outfit, or an after-school ice cream trip on their first day.)
Keep an eye out for deals: they’re everywhere during late July and early August. Buy generic supplies where you can, as they’ll give you even more for your money. This usually means buying plain notebooks over decorated ones, but you and the kids could use it as an opportunity to decorate them yourselves.
Take your smart shopping one step further by splitting your list into “need now” and “need later” sections. After the back-to-school sales end, most stores are ready to clearance out their summer gear (which can easily be used into the fall). Buy your priority items first and know that things like new shoes will still be on sale—maybe for even less—in a month or so. That way, you don’t need to buy everything at once.
Gear Up for the School Year
The start of a new school year is exciting (whether the kids admit it or not), so you shouldn’t have to stress. With a little planning and responsible spending, you and the kids can be in back-to-school gear in no time.
This information is presented for educational purposes only. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.