Back to School on a Budget: Top 5 ways to save money this year.

School supplies, clothing and other necessary items should involve careful budgeting and comparison shopping.  Here are some top tips on how to save money this year as we also navigate higher interest rates, and higher living expenses.

  •  Understand the difference between a need and a want

Some schools send lists home with supplies that are needed within the classroom.  Sticking to this list and buying items at dollar stores when you can, will help save money.  Get your child to help you write down a list of what they need for the school year.  This teaches them to really understand what is and isn’t necessary for a successful school year. 

A calculator that you don’t have may be more important than buying a new backpack when you have one from last year that is still usable.

  • Make a budget for b ack to school shopping

OK, now we get to the most important step in any financial planning the budget! Understanding how much money you have to spend, and how much things are going to cost, is the foundation onto which everything else rests. When it comes to budgeting for back to school, it will help to list the most important things first. Your results from step 1 will help here, make sure you are accounting for needs before wants.

  • Don’t take your kids shopping!

So, you’ve listed your child’s needs and wants for going back to school and you’ve worked out a budget together. If your budget is tight, the best way to save money on school supplies may be to shop without the kids.

If you have to take the kids with you, you may have a good opportunity to give them some extra responsibility and see how they handle making financial decisions.

If your budget allows for it or if there is budget leftover after buying the essential school supplies, involve your kids in purchasing decisions. Give your kids a ‘back to school’ allowance plus a little extra.

Give them a short manageable list of items to buy for going back to school and tell them that if they manage to buy everything in the budget with the money available, they can choose to spend the remaining amount on something they want. This will teach them to be resourceful, look for deals and find intelligent ways to save money.

  •  Pay with cash or debit card

Credit is a slippery slope and it’s always best to spend money you have, rather than money you don’t. Teaching your children to use a cash only budget is a valuable outlook that will stay with them into their adult years.

  • Reuse and Recycle

Look around your home for items that can be reused. This can include anything from last year’s school supplies to hand-me-down clothes from older siblings. Also, many items can be recycled, like using old notebooks as scrap paper. This not only saves money but also provides an opportunity to teach kids about the importance of reusing and recycling.

Use last years pencils and pencil crayons, use reusable lunch bags and lunch containers & cutlery.

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