Back to school clothes, computers, and other expenses can add up in a hurry. Results from a study conducted by the Rubicon Project’s Back-To-School Consumer Pulse Survey found that parents will spend an average of $917 per child gearing up for school this year. Use the following planning and budgeting tips to help stretch those back to school dollars:
Start with a list of needs. Make a list for each child that includes what they need, not want, for school, and add up those expenses to compare to your budget. Remember to include school fees, lunches, Comb through closets, drawers and last year’s backpack to inventory what you already have to avoid duplicate purchases. You may be surprised at the amount of school supplies left over from last year.
Get the kids involved in budgeting. Don’t shy away from including your children in your back to school budget process. Show them what the budget is versus what the expenses are so that they understand spending limitations. As an incentive, you may want to offer to split the savings with them if you come under budget.
Go coupon clipping online. Consolidation websites post downloadable coupons and sale codes for online retailers, including: CouponCabin.com, CouponCode.com, CouponCraze.com, Dailyedeals.com, DealCoupon.com, DealHunting.com, Dealnews.com and MyBargainBuddy.com.
Buy only the clothes you need for now. Kids grow and fashion changes quickly, so purchasing a lot of clothes at once may not be your best strategy. Spread out your clothing budget throughout the year and take advantage of sales that pop up each season.
Pool resources. Talk with other parents about buying supplies in bulk together and splitting costs, setting up carpools, and swapping gently used clothing, uniforms and unused supplies.
Rent versus buy. For musical instruments and sports equipment, renting is a much more affordable option than buying. As your child’s interest change, they may decide they don’t want to play trombone or lacrosse.
Our BALANCE Financial Guide is dedicated to helping you balance life’s important decisions.