Time To Send My Kids Off To School…

If you’re a parent, you probably know the feeling. You’ve got everything together for your child’s first day back to school. Or so you think.

Collared shirt? Check. New jeans? Check. Belt? Got it.

But, there’s something that parent’s always forget – new shoes, notebooks, pens, pencils, the coolest new backpack on the market. Oh boy. Your money will soon be flying out of your wallet before you can blink. But don’t stress! There are ways you can budget.

If school has already started where you live, just remember that it’s never too late to start tweaking your budget today!

  • Fall jackets: When the kids start school, the  weather is perfect for shorts and t-shirts. But, before you know it, the chilly fall weather will be here and they will have outgrown their jackets from last year. Get your hands on these before retailers start hiking up the prices for the fall!
  • Shoes: Little Johnny’s story above illustrates the dreaded back-to-school shoe craziness. But it’s worth mentioning again. If your child is wearing flip-flops all summer, don’t get caught off-guard when they have outgrown their regular shoes by now or the end of the year.
  • Backpacks: That worn-out backpack from last year might not make it through the first month of school. It’s much easier to find discounted backpacks in the winter and spring, so keep your eyes peeled throughout the next few months and you might find a deal.
  • Lunch money: A few dollars a day for lunch can add up over the course of a month, especially during a school year. Do you have this money marked in your budget? If the school allows you to pay for lunches ahead of time or add money to a lunch account, then that’s a great way to build this money into your budget.
  • Fees: Workbook fees, lab fees, technology fees, PTA dues, club dues, field trip fees—they all add up and can cause death by a thousand cuts. Do a little research to find out what extras you’ll be paying for throughout the school year.
  • Birthday parties: Who doesn’t love a birthday party? A parent who hasn’t budgeted for gifts—that’s who. Your child may get some birthday party invites—not to mention parties at the school. Keep an eye out for end-of-summer toy sales and buy some inexpensive gifts to have when needed.

And while you’re at it, buy extras! Your child is most likely going to lose his favorite dinosaur pencil or his colorful erasers or even, god forbid, his fruity smelling markers. Don’t give him an excuse for not doing his homework. Stock up on these in the winter or spring (best time for deals), and you’ll save money!

Sending the kids back to school doesn’t have to be stressful. If you have a little patience and do a little planning, you won’t bust your budget—and you won’t be out there in the middle of all those parents who waited until the last minute.