I can’t believe it’s back-to-school season already, but you can’t help but notice when you walk into the stores and see all the notebooks and backpacks on display. It’s a busy and expensive time of the year, so I wanted to share a few quick tips to help make back-to-school shopping a bit easier and more affordable this Fall.
I used to go to the stores, load up my cart and cringe while the store clerk tallied up all the school supplies and new clothes I bought for Lauren and Taylor. A few years ago, I wised up and involved the girls. We inventoried both their closets and remaining school supplies, so we knew exactly what we needed. They each received a budget and we worked together to find a way to get both the things they needed and wanted while honoring our budget.
Success Tip: There is no “right” amount to budget for back-to-school. It’s based on what your family can afford. Fancy school supplies and an entirely new school wardrobe is not worth creating debt.
Don’t say “no” automatically when your kids go over budget (and they will) or increase the budget. Instead challenge them to find different solutions and prioritize the things they want. For example, instead of buying school supplies with the characters from Frozen or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on them, how much money could they save if they bought the plain, store-brand notebooks, folders and backpacks? They may seem much more attractive when kids realize they can now afford a few more wants. Encourage them to comparison shop and look for deals. They will soon become savvy shoppers who know how to get what they truly want while paying as little as possible.
One thing I also have Lauren and Taylor do is figure out their one must-have item. If you think back to your school days, there was always something you really, really wanted. We try to figure out that first, so we can budget for it. I find if the girls take the time to figure out what is the most important item – a pair of shoes, jeans or backpack – they remain happy and satisfied, even if they can’t get everything they want. The most valued item is on the buy list and everything else falls into place much easier.
Success Tip: As your children age, the things they desire from clothes and gadgets tend to get pricer, and their must-have item may not fit your budget. Again, do not feel obligated to increase your budget to accommodate those items. Instead, help your children find a way to earn the money to buy it themselves if it means that much to them. The items that are “must-have” to me, I am willing to work hard and save for them. Let your kids get in the habit of doing the same.
I found this great infographic from Search Engine Watch on how we’re spending our money to get ready for school this year and wanted to share it with you.
I love saving money too and Passion for Savings (not an affiliate link) lists many great back-to-school sales and coupons for many major retailers, including Target, Kmart, Walmart and more. My friend, Kim from Eyes on the Dollar, recently compared prices at Walmart and Amazon to see who had the best deals on school supplies and I suggest you read her findings before heading online or to the store.
The Heavy Purse Store is now open! My new downloadable Money Club Workbooks are now on sale. Each workbook provides five targeted lessons to help you raise Financially Confident Kids. Please check them out in The Heavy Purse Store.