Perfecting Your Budget for Back to School
No matter how your family is getting ready to go back to academia, here are some tips to keep in mind when budgeting for everything from crayons to calculators.
Going back to school may look a little different this year, and that means your typical supplies list and budget needs some tweaking. The National Retail Federation estimated that households with children in kindergarten-high school will likely spend $789.49 per family for the upcoming school year. That's no small number, so it's important to see what you can do to cut down on costs before filling up your cart with supplies.
No matter how your family is getting ready to go back to academia, here are some tips to keep in mind when budgeting for everything from crayons to calculators:
Check your child's inventory
How many times have you gone out to buy a new pack of markers or scissors just to come home and find some in your craft drawer, still untouched from the year before? It's very likely that your child has not used all of their supplies from last year, so before making a list, ask your kids to round up everything they may need for school to see what you already have.
This will likely take a good chunk off your back-to-school supply list and save you some money in the long run.
It's unlikely that your child has used all their supplies from last year, so start there before shopping.
Look for deals
As a parent, there's nothing better than finding a pack of pencils for a quarter or a BOGO sale on rulers. Bankrate noted that many large retailers advertise certain items at extremely low prices (even at a loss) to get customers through the door. These are called "loss leaders," and their purpose is to get you to do all your shopping in one place.
However, if you're patient and willing to visit multiple stores to collect supplies, you'll likely be getting the best deals at each location. Keep an eye out for weekly advertisements from big stores to see what the sale special may be and stock up.
Don't overspend on basics
Pencils, erasers and notebooks are all things you will likely need to get a few of each year. These also happen to be supplies that go on sale often and come in a variety of different brands and price points. It's important not to blow your budget on these basic items, as they serve one purpose and brand doesn't particularly make a difference.
Budget more spending for big-ticket items like graphing calculators, art supplies and books your child may need for their classes. Moreover, most of these things (calculators in particular) can also be found second-hand at a much lower price.
It's never too early to begin planning for the school year ahead. Get your child involved in the budgeting and shopping process so they can ensure they have all the supplies they need, and maybe they can learn a thing or two about personal finance along the way.
If you need assistance perfecting your budgets, the finance experts at Vectra Bank are here to help. Contact your local banking representative today to talk about creating a spending or savings plan.