First United Bank

Back to School on a Budget

Back to School on a Budget

If you’re like me, the hustle and bustle of back-to-school can be both exciting and overwhelming. For my kids, I love the idea of a fresh start, new opportunities to grow and learn and reconnecting with friends they haven’t seen all summer. But before all the excitement of the school year can begin, I have an extensive list of tasks to check-off before the first bell rings. Back-to-school means back-to-school shopping and with multiple kids and multiple supply lists, expenses start to add up really quickly.

Here are a few smart tips to help you save while you shop this back-to-school season.

  1. Compare prices at different places before you buy and look for basic items like pencils, crayons and notebooks at discount stores like Dollar General. Keep your shopping list handy, in your car or your purse so that you can purchase items when you find good deals.
  2. If you’re doing most of your shopping online, look for coupon codes and avoid shipping fees by using in-store pick up. Stores that offer this option include: Best Buy, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Target and Walmart.
  3. Wait until after Labor Day for the items you can live without for the first few weeks. Often, stores will markdown clothing, backpacks and lunchboxes after the back-to-school shopping rush.
  4. Consider buying supplies in bulk that will need to be replenished throughout the year such as pens, paper and notebooks.

Finally, use this opportunity to teach your kids about budgeting. Set a spending amount for their school supplies, backpacks and clothing and then allow them to help with choices for these different categories. Whether you are spending $50 dollars or $500 dollars, coach them on how to most effectively use their spending budget. As my son gets older his taste in tennis shoes gets more expensive. If we give him a budget of $50 for new shoes and he finds them on sale for $30, he gets to keep the extra $20 he saved. This has been a great way for us to teach him the difference between what he “needs” and what he “wants”.

I hope these money saving tips will help you during this busy back-to-school season. From this exhausted mom – good luck this school year!