Creating a Family Budget for the School Year
The kids are back in school, and your family’s budget should reflect that.
The kids are back in school, and your family's budget should reflect that. What that means in terms of changes, however, varies depending on your finances and expenses. Creating a budget for the school year can mean different things for different households. Finding the method that works best for you could take some trial and error.
When determining how to budget for the school year, review the following tips that can help you save time and money in the months ahead:
Measure wants versus needs
There are some purchases that you will be required to make over the course of the school year. Certain books and utensils are needed for a student's success, along with purchases for field trips, school projects and a host of other events. These types of payments are non-negotiable, so setting aside the necessary money for them will be important.
However, other purchases are not always necessary. Items like folders, pencils and calculators can be reused from a previous school year if they are still in working order. Even clothes, shoes and winter coats - assuming they all still fit your children - can be worn again. Look through everything you kept from previous school years and determine what can be salvaged.
Have your kids help determine what they can use again. As Real Simple explained, family budgets shouldn't be a secret . Get everyone in the house involved with deciding what objects need to be purchased. Kids can help research the cost of materials and what they will need in the classroom for the coming year, helping measure what items to buy.
Create a planner
Assignment notebooks don't have to just be for students keeping track of what homework they need to do every night. Having a detailed calendar at home can help you stay on a school budget. By knowing what expenses you have and what future payments will be coming up, you can have a better idea of how money should be allocated.
Write down every school purchase made, as well as the expenses you know you'll need to make in the future. Doing so will allow you to calculate how much you're spending at the end of every month. Develop strategies for planning ahead so you are prepared for future payments, which could lower costs and save time down the road.
Separate school spending
In order to make sure they don't go over budget, some families opt to create separate bank accounts for school spending. Having a set limit on how much money they have at their disposal forces them to be smart with their dollars.
If you are interested in creating a new bank account strictly to be spent on school-related purchases, talk with an professional at Vectra Bank. The experts there can walk you through the process of opening a new account that will help you stay within your budget.