Don’t Let Back-To-School Expenses Sneak Up On You!
by: Meghan Reily (Marketing & Business Development Analyst)
The back-to-school season is upon us! That’s right—the days of kids sleeping in until 10 a.m., family vacations and pool days are numbered and it’s time to start thinking about all those things you or your kids need for school. Whether it be elementary, middle, high school or college, back-to-school shopping happens the same time every year and it always seems to sneak up on people.
Here are a few tips to help keep your spending in check:
1). Create a Budget
Like all things, creating a budget will help keep you focused on the things you need, and will help you avoid buying any impulse items. Try to treat back-to-school time like Christmas, where you are setting aside a little bit of money before-hand so you aren’t caught off guard when that time of year happens.
2). Check your Inventory
A lot of times you have school supplies leftover from the prior school year. Check to see if you have pencils, notepads or binders that can be used this school year before you go shopping.
3). Take Advantage of Price Match Stores
Invest a little extra time in comparing prices online—you could find a better deal! Then, try approaching retailers such as Target or Walmart that offer price match so you can avoid paying extra on shipping costs.
4). Shop During Off-Seasons
Stock up on school supplies before retailers hike up the prices. The best time for deals would be in the winter and spring when things are on sale. You can do this for clothes too! Now would be the best time to buy any fall jackets or clothes that are on sale since its 100 degrees out!
5). Swap Clothes with Other Parents
Besides watching for sales and using coupons, another way to save money on clothes for your kids is to swap with other parents that you know. It’s a win-win for both parties! Consider also having a garage sale to make a little extra money or shopping at second-hand stores.
6). Use Back-To-School Shopping as a Teaching Lesson
If you can, it helps to go shopping on your own. Kids can sometimes influence you to buy extra items they may not need. But, if you bring your kids with you, use that time as an opportunity to teach them about budgeting and what the difference is between wants vs. needs.
7). Stick to Your Meal Plan
Whether you are in college and have a meal plan or your child’s school has a lunch plan, it’s important you stick to it. Spending extra money eating out or on snacks in the vending machine is expensive and adds up quick.
8). Rent Your Textbooks
This mainly applies to you, college students. Buying textbooks at your campus store is fast and convenient, but not cheap. Check out places like Chegg.com or CampusBook.com who let you rent books for up to half the price that you would pay if you bought them! Another tip is to try and wait to buy any books until you’ve been to class and have determined you absolutely need them. Sometimes professors post their lectures and PowerPoints online and you’ll find that you never even had to crack open the book.
If you’re still finding it hard to cover the cost of back-to-school supplies, check out our personal loan options at https://www.coopteachers.com/personal-loans.