- Personal Finance
Back to School Rush: Budget, Shopping, and Planning
Summer is ticking away. It is the second week in July. Now is the time to start thinking about the upcoming school season. If you haven’t noticed, the commercials are already out. Many stores are advertising their lowest back to school prices and lay-a-ways options for families on a budget.
According to consumer affairs back to school shopping is one of the biggest shopping days compared to Christmas and black Friday. Think about it. As your children grow it appears that the lists for school supplies are getting longer every year. Parents are expected to spend $669 in supplies and clothing, according to the National Retail Federation. Perhaps you have noticed that you will be getting more items this year. Everything is up for consideration—paper, notebooks, and electronics. I personally know of some schools in my area requiring students to have a Kindle Fire so they can download reading books. This can be especially difficult for parents with lower incomes and parents with multiple children in different age groups. If you are a parent with multiple children make a list of what each child needs. Note the common items needed and target those for stock pile for the year.
If you act early you can find school certain school supplies at Walmart, Target, or Staples for under a dollar. Usually those items are pens, paper, notebooks, and notebook paper. Sometimes you might find paper products for just 50 cents. For all the other items create a plan to buy all the necessary gadgets, back packs, and other items needed.
Creating a Budget
Creating a budget for back to school shopping will be your best defense to combat overspending this season. I am sure you have done it. I have done it and so has my mother. It is easy to do, but if there is a plan in place you can save some money.
This is will be your arsenal in back to school shopping. You might have a favorite store, but if CVS is having a sale on notebooks you might want to take advantage of their bargains. Many newspapers will be offering store coupons for school items. For easier comparison shopping check out websites such as shoplocal.com. Right now they are comparing prices for school supplies that will be of interest to you and your family.
Decide on what is most Important
This is something that I do even when creating a household budget. I decide on which bills are most important such as the rent/mortgage, utilities, car note and insurance. The same applies for school shopping. The good news is that you don’t have to get all of the items at once. The bad news is that you still need them. The most important items will be:
- Notebook paper
- Sanitizing Wipes
- Ziplock bags
For the other items, find out exactly when those items are due and make a plan to purchase them before the due date. One thing to consider is that you will need to find out when all sales will end for this season because you could accidently miss out on deep discounts.
Also, make a plan for the coming year to save a certain amount of money so that this time of year won’t be such a strain.
List of Clothing Needed for School
Your children know what is currently stylish and trending in fashion. They may want to copy some of their favorite celebrities’ fashion sense. Those trends can be rather pricey depending on which designer label you purchase from. Yet, there are still specific clothing items that every child will need for school this year. Here is my list of clothing needed
Shoes, boots, and socks
Depending on where you are in the United States you will need to think about finding appropriate shoes for all types of weather and boots specifically for winter. All children need a pair of sneakers and plenty of socks to go with them. As an add on you might want to consider rain boots for those rainy days when children are waiting at the bus stop or walking home during rainy weather.
Jeans and slacks
Blue jeans are very dependable and durable for children running around on the playground. Tops and sweaters can be mixed and matched to their favorite pairs of jeans.
Shirts/tops/sweaters- I like to have an abundance of tops to wear. I literally have more tops than pants. Why? I can create several looks with just one pair of pants or jeans. Actually, I learned this trick from my mom’s co-worker, who advised that she has a lot of tops and very few pants. Sounds strange, but it works. Planning for outfits becomes easier when you can pull out a top and match it with a great pair of jeans.
Don’t forget belts. Unless there is some rule against wearing belts in school (I never heard of this), it is a good idea to have at least one belt to keep those jeans and pants in place. I usually buy my children’s clothes a little larger because children will outgrow clothes faster than a weed grows with grass. Belts will help keep a child from having a mishap where their pants fall down unexpectedly.
Coats, hats, gloves, and scarves
If you live in a state where there is snow or cold weather expected prepare to “winterize” your child’s wardrobe. Children tend to lose things easily so I always buy more than one set of hats and gloves. My children usually get two coats each per year. One is for cold weather, the other for freezing weather. It all depends on your budget. Here is a tip: if you shop now for coats at Burlington Coat Factory, I find that the coats tend to be much cheaper because they were last year’s model.
If you child’s school requires a uniform consider getting several pieces. It is so that you will have more in case the uniform becomes dirty.