Back To School Budgeting Tips
Back to school tends to be quite expensive. The costs for having to buy new school clothes, shoes, supplies and numerous other things can definitely add up fast. This may cause your family to miss certain deadlines such as making car payments or taking your vehicle to a mechanic in Houston Texas for regular maintenance. In addition, an increasing number of schools are requiring you to furnish more school supplies on your own. This can also cause a strain on your family budget. However, there are different things that you can do to minimize your costs. It does take some planning, but you can look at local ads and online to ensure that you get the best deals and not buy things you don’t really need when you are out shopping.
Make A List And Then Stick With It
The biggest mistake that people tend to make while they are shopping for their children’s back to school things is failing to plan ahead. Just creating a list is the key. Having a list helps to reduce impulse buys and helps you stay focused on what your task is. The easiest way to get your list created is to collect all of your children’s supply lists, examine what your clothes your kids currently have in their wardrobes. Make a list for each of your children; it should include clothes, shoes, school supplies as well as other items.
Hint: To help avoid fights and struggles, get your children involved. Have two copies of each of your lists, one goes to each of your children and one for you, and then let the kids help check the items off the list. It is an excellent way for your children to stay involved while avoiding the things they want that aren’t on your list. It will also provide your kids with a sense of accomplishment as an important part of ensuring they have all the things that they need for their school year. Give a budget amount for older children and allow them to determine what their budget can afford and what it can’t. It will them to develop money management skills for their future.
Draw From Your Stash
As you are working on your list, look around your house for items that you might already have. That can include hand-me-downs that are in good condition still as well as left over school supplies and office supplies that you might have stored up. If your kids are concerned about having the same things, encourage them to design something new on their own. For example, last year’s binder can be refreshed by giving a new design. One of the best places to find DIY ideas is Pinterest, including ways to make your office supplies more exciting and interesting.
Hint: You can revitalize things like backpacks as well to make them more and personalized.
Look for Sales
There are many sales available throughout the back-to-school season. Before school starts and also after are good times to find deals. Look online and at weekly circulars at your nearest clothing stores and school supply stores. In particular, look at each of the ads for all of the times that you need. Then create a list of all of the places you need to go to get the things that you need. Make sure to compare prices to find the best deals.
Buy In Bulk And Share Costs
Some of greatest deals for school supplies can be found when you buy in bulk. What that means is you end up getting way more than what you actually need. There are a couple of ways this can be handled. You can have a party, donate to children who are unable to afford to buy their own back-to-school supplies or keep them to use for next year.
Have A Swap Party
The idea for this is pretty simple. Send e-vites out to parents of children at your school Have everyone on the list sign up to purchase a certain item in bulk. Then have your party where people can swap for the items that they need. This should allow everyone to leave your party with many of the back-to-school items that they need.
Avoid Name Brands
As soon as something has a popular name, the price increases. Although it is nice to be part of some popular trends, it definitely is not necessary. Make sure to speak with your children about why it isn’t possible to have everything they want. You can also allow older children to choose some of the items they want to purchase. That will help them learn to buy items that are less expensive so they can get more things on their list.
Consider Secondhand Items
It does take time to sort through thrift and consignment stores, but quite often you can find things that you couldn’t afford otherwise. Check secondhand stores for things on your list. It can also help you find good brands at less expensive prices. You might be surprised at the number of items that you find that are in good condition. Another potentially good source can be Craigslist for find barely used items such as supplies, shoes, and clothes. Just make sure to follow some safety guidelines when you are picking up items that you bought on Craigslist.
Check out your favorite stores and then clip or print out coupons to take with you on your shopping trips. You can find them in the newspaper as well as online.
Back to school isn’t something that has to cost you a fortune. All you need is some planning and a bit of effort and time to find great deals so that you can stick with a realistic budget.