Believe it or not, Back to School is just around the corner, and while you might be quietly jumping for joy on the inside, getting ready for a new school year can also be a stressful time of year. Between new teachers, new schedules, and new gym shoes – there’s a lot to get in order.
When things get chaotic, that’s when budgeting and finances tend to slip away. But no stress; we’re sharing our favourite tips for keeping that budget on track, and maybe even stowing a bit away in savings, too.
First Things First: Get Your School Supply List
Most schools give out a Supply List at the end of each year for the following year, based on grade or class. The best way not to spend more than necessary? Stick to the list, and don’t forget to take an inventory of what you already have in the house. No need to buy what you don’t need! And you’ll be surprised at how quickly those extra pencils and calculators add up.
Take Stock of the Clothing Situation
What still fits? What’s been grown – or worn – out? What can be handed down from an older sibling or cousin? Clothing for school-aged kids can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
Same concept applies to clothes shopping as it does with supply shopping; if you know for sure what’s in the closet at home and what you need to purchase, you’re guaranteed to spend much less and stick to budget.
What Sports or After-School Activities are Coming Up?
Whether it’s the school choir or hockey, it’s important to know what other fees are coming up so you can budget accordingly ahead of time. Of course, kids can be unpredictable and it’s not always easy to know what they’re interests are going to be year-to-year, but if you know there’s a high likelihood that you’ll have to pay $600+ for hockey in October, now is the time to make sure you know where it’s going to come from.
Balance Name Brand with Timeless Basics
Depending on your child’s age, they may be asking for name brand clothes and shoes. If it’s within the budget, you can opt to purchase an item (or some) – but you can balance the demand for name brand with no name basics. This might also be an opportune time to teach your kids about budgeting and prioritizing.
Watch for Sales
Back to School signs are sure to be popping up in stores any day now – but there are still four weeks until school starts. By the time Labour Day weekend rolls around, sales will be, too. Wait until September for some of your higher-ticket items, like jackets or winter gear.
Back to School and the fall season can be an expensive time for families. But by planning ahead, sticking to your list(s), and spending within your budget, it doesn’t have to be stressful. If you’re looking for resources or advice on how to navigate the back-to-school season, book a free consultation with Steven.