Back to School on a Budget

Back to school is an exciting time, whether your kids are going into Kindergarten, 3rd Grade, High School or even College. It’s time for a fresh start, and of course, the related bills: school fees, school supplies, books, clothes, sports equipment, and technology. These are just a few of the absolute necessities that your kids expect you to provide.

If you’re a family looking to stick to a strict budget, here are some useful tips to help ease the financial stress and strain of this time of year.

Talk About Budgeting

Talk to your kids honestly about money by giving them age appropriate information about your family’s finances. Don’t make them feel guilty or worried, emphasize that their education is one of your highest priorities. You’ll be surprised how well kids can handle being included in family budgeting decisions. This will also help when you are forced to say “No”.

Pre-owned is Cool

Buy second hand where you can. This especially applies to clothing and books. Many textbooks may be available for loan or used from former students at your school’s bookstore. Downloading an e-book version can also be a way to save money. Check this out before buying weighty tomes that may only be used once or twice.

Be a Squirrel

Don’t wait until last minute to purchase school supplies. Look for specials throughout the year and stock up on bargain school supplies when you find them. Keep your eye out for sales on running shoes and other necessities like gym clothes, socks and underwear. This way you won’t be stuck buying the last pair of size 6 sneakers that are twice the price you were hoping to pay. Tuck them away in a box in the back of a closet, and they’ll be ready for back to school time.

Buy in Bulk

Buy in bulk and share costs with a pool of friends or parents whose kids attend the same school or class. You won’t be the only person trying to stay on budget. Sharing the expense of giant packs of pencils, erasers, notebooks and pens is likely to offer big savings to every parent.

Encourage Contributions

Motivate your kids to save part of their allowance or money they earn from doing odd jobs to contribute towards their own back to school expenses. If they want to buy specific brand name clothing or accessories that might not be part of your list of necessities, why not encourage them to chip in? This will teach them to assess the value of something versus the amount paid, a good habit for later on in life.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you need a little more help to get you over the bump, ask Grandparents, Godparents, and other family members to pitch in and help with bigger items like laptops, sports uniforms or school fees. If this isn’t an option for you, you may want to consider a fast-online loan from a reputable lender. Get your money the same day and pay it back over a period of 90 day. This is a real benefit for busy parents.

At the end of the day, back to school doesn’t need to be stressful. Take your time, shop around, and try one or many of the tips listed above to help you stay on track financially.

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