You’ve just received your child’s school supply list, and it is a mile long. You’ve got a lot to buy and a short time to do it. The best way to save money is to prioritize and set a budget. Here’s a short list of ways to help you navigate the back-to-school expenditures.
Create a priority list.
What needs to be purchased now and what can wait a bit later? Spreading out your expenses can help, and a priority list can help you tackle what is most important!
Examine what you already have.
Go through the closet. What still fits? What doesn’t? Are there any hand-me-downs available? Office supplies? Instead of buying all new school supplies, try redecorating old office supplies that you might already have lying around! Before you set a budget, determine what you really need to purchase.
Set a budget.
Setting a budget is the best way to navigate that priority list. What are y0ur one-time expenses? What is recurring? Set your line items and set a solid budget. That’ll help you determine where and how you can trim expenses.
Bring a list.
Write out a list of necessities before going to the store and stick to it. Only buy what is necessary and stay away from any extra things just because they are trendy.
Plenty happens after tax-free weekend. There will be end-of-season sales for clothes, and many stores have recurring sales year-round. Follow Old Navy, Gap, Belk, ect. Trust us, they constantly purge inventory. Download apps from your favorite stores. Some have some serious savings perks for in-app purchases.
Does your community have a well supported Facebook Marketplace or online shop? See what you might sell and/or conversely buy used. Check craigslist, ebay, local consignment stores, etc. It might take more time, but the savings are worth it.
Clothing is one of the fastest ways to drain your budget, so just remember that August will still be brutally hot, and a first-day-of-school outfit/shoes may be all that you need initially. Delay the expense of clothes for another month.
Explore discount stores.
The Dollar Store, Goodwill, and thrift stores have some great deals, especially on disposable items.
Meal-prep school lunches.
Plan your child’s lunches for the week by getting the ingredients beforehand, making the lunches and packing them up into to-go containers for easy and affordable school lunches. This gives you the time to search for the best deals in the area.
Some activities can be surprisingly costly. Multiple uniforms, travel, etc. See what your budget can handle and encourage your child to rank their choices. If they’re old enough, see if they want to take on extra chores or a part-time job to help. Just don’t let extracurricular activities break your budget or calendar!
The weeks before the start of school can be especially stressful. A budget can help remove a least some of the stress. These steps will help you develop a workable plan and leave some cash in your account for other monthly necessities!