Budgeting for Back to School

Back to school spending is inevitable. As parents, we do it every year, and yet every year it sneaks up on us, right? Even in 2020, most parents had extra expenses to send their kids back to school, even if it was at home.

This year, let’s do something different and budget for the return to school spending so it doesn’t catch you off guard.

Determine what you already Have

Kids love getting new supplies, clothes, and everything else that goes along with starting a new school year, but it’s unnecessary. Instead, make a running list of what they already own and what you can reuse.

Here are a few examples:

  • Folders
  • Pens and pencils
  • Binders
  • Pencil cases
  • Lunchboxes

These are just a few examples. Write down what you have and show your child. If he/she still loves the same pattern/characters on the lunchbox or pencil case – reuse them. Folders and basic supplies are generic and if they’re in good shape, can be reused. If your child insists on a new lunchbox or backpack, uou can always buy a new one mid-year when they are on clearance.

Wait for the Supply List

Don’t go shopping without the back to school supply list. Each school/teacher has different requirements. If you go without the list, you may buy unnecessary items and go over your budget.

Once you have the list, compare it to what you have and make a shopping list of the items you must buy. Talk to your child about the necessities (pens, pencils, folders, etc.) and the ‘wants’ like a trendy backpack or special binders and folders. Create a budget with your child so the expectations are set before you hit the stores.

Shop Back to School Sales

Once you have a supply list and you’ve talked to your child, look for sales in your area. Many stores start their back to school sales a month or two before school starts. Start early and you’ll have the largest selection and can take advantage of the sales rather than overspending.

Shop Throughout the Year

Money management can be difficult when you have kids who constantly have expenses that pop up. Since you know back to school expenses come up every year, as do other expenses such as field trips, activities, and necessary clothing or supplies for activities, shop throughout the year.

Watch for sales and especially clearance events. School supplies often go on clearance a month or so after school starts. Why not stock up on the basics? This way you save money and don’t get in over your head in debt buying everything at once.

It’s also a good idea to put a little money away each month for back to school expenses. If you save throughout the year, the hit doesn’t feel as hard when you have to spend a large amount at once.

Bottom Line

If you’re having trouble budgeting for back to school or you’re already in over your head in debt, let Creditaid help you with debt consolidation or debt management. We’ll help you get back on track and learn how to budget for times like back to school so you are prepared and not overwhelmed.