Going back to school is a time of change for everyone -- students and parents alike. Kids are starting a new grade with new classmates and new teachers. For the parents, your schedule may look different as the kids are out of the house during the day or younger kids head off to school for the first time. During these times of change, often overlooked items are the expenses involved in getting your kids ready for their first day.
This year in particular, many families are feeling the pinch as inflation has risen to the highest level in many years. But it can help if you make a point to spend your money intentionally and cut back in some areas where you can.
If you’re looking to find ways to save money in preparation for this school year, here are some ideas.
Find the Small Ways to Save
Some expenses are just necessary, and there’s no way to cut them out. One of these types of expenses is transportation. Most people drive their personal vehicles to get their kids to school, ballet class, or baseball practice. And while gas prices have decreased in recent weeks, you still may feel like you’re filling up the tank too often.
One way you can stretch your gas -- and your money -- further is by organizing a carpool with other parents you trust from your children’s school or after-school activities. Not only can it reduce the amount of driving each family is doing. But it can also give you more flexibility in your schedule if you only have to pick the kids up on Mondays and Wednesdays instead of every day. This could allow you to have more time for yourself and to accomplish your personal goals.
Another way you can be a conscious consumer is by grocery shopping at bulk stores if you have one nearby. Wholesale stores like Sam’s Club and Costco sell many of the name brand items you know and love, but in larger quantities.
When you compare the per-unit price to what you may find at a "normal" store, you'll notice that you're saving money on each item. Even if you don't need the larger quantity right now, save it for later use so you don't have to go shopping for it. It may be more expensive up front, but it will save you money in the long run.
These may seem like small differences, but they can add up over time.
Shop at Discount Stores
Is there anything more frustrating than buying your kid a new pair of shoes that they just had to have… and two weeks later, they’ve completely grown out of them? Buying clothes for kids can be hard given how fast they grow. Instead of taking your kids to the mall for a whole new back-to-school wardrobe, consider buying even just a few items at a secondhand store.
Secondhand stores, thrift stores, or other discount stores are a great way to save money on clothes and other items. Many of the items you can find in these stores are gently used and are of great quality -- for a much lower price than what you can find in the local mall.
With the beginning of a new school year, it can also be nice to clear out the old clothes your children are no longer wearing and donate them so that other kids can wear them. And consignment stores may even pay you for the clothes you bring in -- giving you extra spending money for buying something new (to you).
Look Toward the Future
Just like with many things in life, a lot of good can be done by planning ahead. And while it may be a little bit “late” to plan very far ahead for this school year, it’s never too early to get started for next year!
So, how can you plan ahead for your children’s school expenses?
One way is by setting some money aside in a separate account throughout the course of the year. After everyday expenses and contributions to your emergency fund are covered, consider putting some of the extra cash into this account. Then, next summer when it’s time to go back to school, you’ll have a nice little chunk of change waiting for you -- and helping ease some of the back-to-school shopping burden.
Another way you can plan ahead is by keeping an eye on local initiatives that could save you money. For example, some states in the U.S. are offering or have offered sales tax free weekends in August. By doing all school shopping during these weekends, many families have been able to save money on back-to-school expenses that they would have otherwise spent on taxes. If you missed it this year, be sure to look out for next summer so you don’t miss out.
Get the Back-To-School Cash You Need with an Academy Bank Express Loan*
Still need some cash for back-to-school season? An Academy Bank Express Loan is a personal loan that gives you access to the cash you need without breaking your budget.* No more resorting to high-interest lenders like payday lending offices helps ensure that your funds go where you need them.
Features of the Academy Bank Express Loan include:
- Loan amount of $1,250
- Low credit scores considered with a satisfactory account relationship of at least 6 months with us
- A great alternative to high-interest, short-term lenders like payday lending offices
- Automated payments so you'll never miss one
- Fixed terms and monthly payments to simplify your budget
Here’s what else you should know:
- There is a $35 non-refundable application fee on Express Loan accounts.
- Direct deposit is required.
- We recommend applying for this loan once you've been with us for 6 months. That way, we can consider your account relationship with us in lieu of good credit.
Academy Bank Is Committed to Your Family
During back-to-school time, and all year long, Academy Bank is working hard to help you and your family on your personal finance journey. We provide convenient options for savings accounts**, checking accounts**, and more.
*Subject to credit approval. Annual Percentage Rate is based on credit score. Only one personal loan allowed to any borrower at any time. Loan terms are based on the loan amount.
**Opening deposit required. Monthly service charge may apply.