Back to School Spending

That Won’t Break Your Piggy Bank

Back to School BusesIt’s that time of year again. Summer vacations are winding down, and parents are busily preparing for the upcoming school year. Buying new clothes, school supplies, and extracurricular activity doo-dads can spike upon household spending in August and September. Here are a few strategies to stretch those dollars and diminish the budget pinch.

Back-To-School Sales Are Big Business

Deloitte’s annual back-to-school survey predicts spending to reach $27 billion. It’s the second largest shopping season of the year where parents of school age children — ranging from kindergarten to high school — flock to stores. According to Deloitte, every survey edition brings a new trend. And this year is no exception.

Clothing is expected to take a larger chunk of back-to-school dollars. Computers and other tech hardware are 4% lower than last year.
28% of survey respondents plan to shop at traditional department stores, which is down 54% from 2016.
Shoppers who hit stores before August spend $532 versus the $458 that parents pay when shopping in August or later.

Shop Later To Take Advantage of End of Season Discounts

Take advantage of those deep discounts as retailers clear their shelves for Halloween and holiday wares. Of course, you’ll need to balance the benefit of saving money against having a limited selection.

Make a List & Check It Twice

Using a shopping list is excellent advice for any type of shopping — back-to-school, grocery, and holiday gift giving. Avoid impulse purchases (like that cute Wonder Woman pencil) by sticking to your list. Then check it twice to see if you already have some items; often supplies are hastily stored away from the previous school year.

Comparison Shop Online Before Hitting the Stores

Many parents go to one store to get everything at once. It may be a time-saving maneuver yet smart retailers are banking that you haven’t comparison shopped. Be aware of the unintended price you pay for making one trip.

Check online prices and note them on your list. You can then decipher when those back-to-school discounts are really deals or not. Also, don’t overlook eBay, Craigslist, and local garage sales as way to get new or near-new items for a fraction of the cost.

Host a Back-To-School Swap

Kids notoriously outgrow clothes before they wear out. Plan a little fun with other parents of children of varying ages. It’s a great way to swap clothes and school gear that’s easy on the wallet.

Set a Budget & Stick To It

Another spending plan tip that’s good all year round. Use this as an opportunity to teach your child about money management. Make your list and do the research together. When a child is part of the decision process, they may surprise you with the things that are truly important to them.

As a daily money manager, I help many busy families keep on top of their finances. Having a workable spending plan at any time of year is an excellent time to start. If you need help in getting started, call me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation.

Photo credit: Dean Hochman, Michael 1952

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