The season you've been waiting for has arrived – the kids are going back to school! But wait, there's a twist: inflation is joining the party too, giving the cost of supplies an unexpected boost. Back-to-school shopping ranks as the second-biggest spending spree of the year, catching parents off guard and giving their wallets a workout.
No matter how many back-to-school seasons you have faced as a parent, each year brings its own set of challenges and costs. All of these can add up very quickly. But fear not! Whether you are tackling the whole list or just the essentials, we’ve got your back – and your budget. We put together some easy tips to help you save during the back-to-school season. Take a look!
1. Take inventory of your current supplies
First thing’s first. Before you hit the stores for back-to-school shopping, take inventory of what you already have. This goes beyond just supplies; it includes clothing as well.
Start by finding which school supplies from last year are still in good condition. Don’t limit your search to one place—explore your home for more forgotten items like pens and calculators that are still usable. By taking stock of your inventory, you can avoid unnecessary purchases and focus on what you truly need.
Apply the same approach to clothing. Assess what still fits and what needs replacement. If you have older kids, consider raiding their closets for possible hand-me-downs. This cuts costs and promotes sustainable practices.
While the inventory process can take time, consider it an investment for saving money later on. This will lead to fewer redundant purchase.
2. Make a list & create a budget
To make back-to-school shopping as efficient and cost-effective as possible, two tools are your new best friends: lists and budgets.
Did you know that people who shop without lists end up spending much more money than those who plan with lists? So ditch the aimless wandering! You can start by cross-referencing your inventory with the supply list from the school. Then, create your own shopping list and place the most crucial items at the top. This is a proven strategy to help you spend money more wisely.
Your next step is setting a budget. Choose a practical spending limit that covers the basics and stick to it. Like lists, budgets will keep you on track and help you avoid overspending. When you establish a fixed budget, kids quickly become less interested having those pricier items so they can stretch their budget further.
Lists and budgets simplify decisions, ensuring purposeful shopping within your financial limits.
Quick Tip: Slightly overestimate your expenses to build in a buffer when it's time to shop.
3. Teach your kids about money
Back-to-school shopping provides an excellent opportunity to teach your kids about money and responsible spending. Sit down with them and discuss the cost of school supplies.
Ask them what’s most important to them, and you might be surprised by their take. If there are 1-2 name-brand items they value most, consider splurging on those select items while finding more budget-friendly options for the rest of their supplies.
For parents with older kids, maybe consider having them pitch in for a portion of their school expenses, especially if they have their hearts set on pricier items. You could also let them "earn" those splurge-worthy items by completing specific household chores, like handling the dishes for a week or being the dedicated dog walker after school.
As you navigate the back-to-school shopping season, remember that these lessons extend beyond the checkout line, setting the stage for a lifetime of responsible money management.
4. Timing is everything for smart shopping
We often forget that we don’t have to purchase everything before the first day of school. This is where that priority list we previously discussed comes back into play.
A practical and wallet-friendly approach involves buying only the most essential items from your list before school starts. Hold off on those extra purchases for a month. As the back-to-school rush cools down, countless retailers offer clearance sales with great discounts. This way, you can buy all the "fun" supplies and clothing at a better price than if you shopped during peak rush.
Postponing your shopping also has another advantage: it allows your kids to see what's currently in style before you spend a dime. Besides, there's often no immediate need for new clothing when it's still warm outside. Your children can continue to wear their summer outfits until the weather takes a turn. Afterall, your child could grow another inch before they even need Fall clothes.
By waiting and being savvy with your purchases, you can avoid blowing your budget in August and ensure smarter spending throughout the school year.
5. Lighten your load with a personal loan
Each new school year brings its own mix of lessons and experiences, and let’s face it, they often come with their own price tag. Even with careful planning, there might be unexpected expenses that you simply cannot cover right now. Maybe it is new soccer cleats, registering for the SAT, or pricier textbooks than you originally anticipated. These surprises can put a strain on your budget for a while, impacting your family’s finances.
To help lighten the load, consider an Express Loan* from Academy Bank. Whether you need $750 or $15,000, this personal loan is designed to provide quick and easy access to the funds you need without breaking your budget.
Express Loan Features
Apply for an Express Loan from Academy Bank to help cover those essentials today!
*Subject to credit approval. Origination fee applies. Restrictions apply.
As the school bell rings in a season for new supplies, clothes, and gear, it’s no secret that this can be a significant expense for many families. At Academy Bank, we're no strangers to the back-to-school hustle. We get it – it can be crazy out there. Rest assured, your family is important to us and we have your back every step of the way.