6 Back to School Budgeting Do's and Don'ts
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Ah, fall. A beautiful season of changes, new routines, and of course, new school supplies. Back to school shopping is as inevitable as those once green leaves turning a bright shade of yellow, but it certainly doesn’t need to break the bank to be successful. Just like with any seasonal spend, we know it is coming and if we take a few careful steps, we can make it an easy experience for everyone involved, including your wallet.
To help set you on the right path for success, we’ve put together our top 6 do’s and don’ts for getting that school shop done right.
Do: Make a list of everything you need. Sit down and write out everything you think you need to set the year off right. Categorize that list with categories like supplies, clothing, lunch needs, etc. Then take a good look at what you already have. There might be a few things that don’t need to be purchased and can be used from last year. Sure, new backpacks are fun, but that one from last year might still have a lot of life left and does not need to be replaced.
Don’t: Feel pressure to buy everything all at once. Chances are, your kiddo isn’t going to need everything at the exact same time, especially when it comes to clothing items. That summer weather often (fingers crossed!) creeps into the first month of school, taking the pressure off to purchase warmer outdoor wear right away. Heck, maybe shorts will be making an appearance for the first few weeks of school. We can dream, can’t we?
Do: Prioritize what you need the most. Now that the pressure is off not to buy everything at once, make a list of the most necessary items and focus on getting them first. Plan out how much you expect to spend on the priority items and see how much is left over for items that don’t need to be purchased right away. Seeing if you can find items second hand or if you can borrow them from someone who isn’t using them can give more wiggle room for your next round of purchases.
Don’t: Shop with your child (if you can). There is a reason why grocery stores put all the fun stuff at a really, really easy to reach height for your child. And why when your child shops with you, things end up in the cart or at the till that you did not originally intend to buy. It’s very hard when your child sees something that they want and it is either too expensive or not on the list. As they get older, giving them control over the back to school budget can be a great way to teach them just how far that dollar goes and how one pair of designer jeans can eat up the entire budget. Until they are a bit older, consider leaving them at home and get just those priority items, without all the extras.
Do: Take small amounts from your other budgets. Didn’t plan ahead and make a formal back to school budget for this upcoming year? Don’t worry, we’ve got a backup plan for you. Consider taking small amounts from other budgets, like your monthly dining out budget, vacation budget, or your home renovation budget. Stay away from your emergency fund though, as this one is just for emergencies and needs to be kept at full capacity. If you like to know more about creating a budget regularly, read our budgeting blog and If you have a struggle for planning a budget, you can use a budget planner tool.
Don’t: Charge items you can’t afford. Just because you can’t afford something now, does not mean you can afford it later. Anticipatory spending is never a good plan because life is filled with unpredictable events. Especially costly ones. Keep within your budget and within your current means to have a successful back to school shopping experience.
Happy shopping with a well-planned budget! Let us know what tips and tricks you use to stretch your back to school budget in the comments below.
It’s important to note that even the best of intentions and budgeting can’t stop certain situations from happening. There are simply things in life that we can’t budget for. If you are facing overwhelming debt, remember that you are not alone. Bromwich+Smith has a number of debt relief strategies to help you regain control of your finances and get your life back. Reach out today for a free, confidential, no obligation consultation. Now offering video appointments with clients, Bromwich+Smith’s Debt Relief Specialists are available for initial free, no obligation, confidential consultation by phone at 1-855-884-9243 or request a call back from our contact us page.