Back to school, back in debt?
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By Bromwich+Smith Staff | 696 words | Reading Time: 3 minutes and 28 seconds | Date: 2022/08/12
As a kid, you may remember the awful commercials showcasing the “most wonderful time of year”, and parents back to school shopping with glee. As an adult back to school can be the cause of additional stress. If your finances are unsteady additional expenses including school fees, supplies and clothing can put a strain on your finances. Here are a few tips to help you succeed the school year.
Know your upfront costs.
There are some expenses that come along with school costs. For university students it might be Tuition, living expenses and textbooks. Not all costs are set in stone, but many are, and you should know your options for paying them. Does the school offer payment plans? Double check the interest rates to ensure you aren’t paying more to split up the costs than it would be to pay upfront. Think about the cost of items that might not be obvious, on-site parking for older children, clothing for gym class, or lunch programs. That said many of these costs may not need to be paid up front and you may be able to spread out your budget.
Set a budget.
Older kids may want to do their own back to school shopping, it’s a great chance to teach them about budgets and wants vs needs. Give clear instructions on the items they are expected to purchase and set them up for success. Explaining the difference between items they need and items they want may be a great opportunity to talk about extra chores or how they can earn money to purchase the items they want that may be above your budget.
For parents with younger kids, there are some costs that may be flexible. Try to obtain your child’s school supply list as early as possible and shop the sales! Keep in mind that back to school specials are often the lowest price many of these items will be all year. If you think your child might need extra glue sticks, or crayons stock up! Do not put yourself into debt to purchase extra items, they will be available throughout the year and the savings now will not out weigh the additional interest on your credit card or line of credit of you are unable to pay it off right away. If any of the items seem unreasonable, try calling the school to ask. Your child might not need to have two pairs of headphones or that expensive Chromebook on their list may be an optional expense. Many schools have programs for lending out electronics throughout the school year.
Create a school spending fund.
If its possible, set aside money throughout the year. We know that is easier said than done, but if you can put aside a small amount every pay cheque into a separate account, or a “rainy day jar”, you will find this time of year less stressful. You may find yourself dipping into this money throughout the year when your child inevitably looses a backpack, grows out of their indoor shoes or the school sends out a notice for another colour themed shirt day!
Know your finances.
Back to school doesn’t have to put you into debt. There are lots of options available if the added expenses are too much for your household. Many schools have financial assistance programs which may include fees, supplies or meal programs. Many stores will have back to school gift with purchases ie spend a set amount on groceries, and receive a backpack of school supplies. Knowing what resources are available may take some time and effort but it could save you the stress if back to school shopping isn’t an option for your financial situation.
Back to school is a time for new beginnings for everyone, and for mom and dad that may be the perfect time learn about your own financial situation and the options you have available. Bromwich+Smith has a number of debt relief strategies to help you regain control of your finances and get your life back on track. Reach out today for a free, confidential, no obligation consultation. Bromwich+Smith’s Debt Relief Specialists are available by phone at 1.855.884.9243, or request a call back at contact us page. We want to see you flourish!