With Labor Day officially behind us, early September marks the move towards a more consistent back-to-school routine. However, with those kiddos headed back to school, extra costs always seem to pop up out of thin air. From new school clothes to new school supplies, heading off to school can get expensive. Perhaps your child needs a high-tech laptop to write their papers on or a hundred dollar calculator to help with algebra.
Whatever the surprise back-to-school costs may be, we’re here to help keep your budget on track with these simple tips.
1. Make a List of Everything You Need
Oftentimes, each teacher will send home a list of what your child will need to be successful in the classroom. Cross reference this list and go over what is essential and what may seem unnecessary. For example, you don’t have to buy 8 individual notebooks for each class if you just split up a few notebooks into different subjects.
Furthermore, see what you have at home. School supply stores often try to tempt children with bright new designs of the same old materials you have at home. Don’t forget to try to reuse what you already have available at home. Only put things on the list that are absolutely needed for the new school year.
2. Create Your Back-To-School Budget and Stick To It
Once you establish the few items your child needs, create a budget to follow. Only allocate the funds that are absolutely necessary. As tough as it may be, you’ll need to be strict on that budget by only buying the items on your list. If you’re struggling to find supplies that match your allocated budget, consider head to a dollar store’s stationary section for some perfectly good gear. Your child doesn’t need name-brand supplies if you’re truly trying to stick to a budget.
3. Decide Which Expenses Can Wait
Often parents find themselves spending tons of money on school supply that their child won’t even end up using. For the first few weeks of school, we recommend purchasing the necessities and waiting to see if the class actually needs the additional bells and whistles. Simple supplies like pencils and papers can go a long way in the classroom.
4. Seek Out Creative Alternatives
Does your child need a large pack of index cards to help them study? Consider making your own flash cards instead. Either print out a page with two-sided facts or cut up your notebook paper into smaller pieces and make the cards yourself.
Does your child need textbook covers? Instead of dishing out extra money for each textbook only to find out you’ve bought the wrong sizes, consider a more homemade approach. Yes, these covers can easily be made at home using brown paper bags you get from the grocery store. Creative homemade solutions can definitely save you a bit of money when it comes to budgeting for back-to-school supplies. Good luck!