Don't let back-to-school break the bank. Marc Maun, CEO of the Bank of Kansas City, gave us some tips to help parents stay on budget.
Make a comprehensive expense list for each child.
This includes their school supply list, and clothes and uniform needs. Don’t forget about those expenses that kick in once school starts too, like equipment for school sports, club membership fees or school lunches. Before you start buying supplies, go through your house and look for pencils, pens, crayons and other things you might already have on hand.
Stick to your budget
Don’t let the “buzz” of the season lead you to overspend. Those “in-store” specials can be very enticing on the spot. However, let your budget dictate what you are willing/or not willing to buy. If your kids don’t really need new shoes, don’t get them just because it’s “back-to-school” time.
Take advantage of tax free weekend
If your kids do need clothes and shoes, Missouri’s tax free weekend is a great way to save. There are some other restrictions, so check http://dor.mo.gov/business/sales/taxholiday/school/ for the details. This year’s weekend is Aug. 3 – Aug. 5.
Prepare for the unexpected
Every parent of a school-aged child knows there are always reasons to send money to school, including field trips, fundraisers, project supplies, and more. Build this into your family budget now and spread it out over the school year. You might also be able to take advantage of savings programs at your financial institution that puts money in a savings account without you even having to think about it. The savings will add up and help with those unexpected expenses during the school year.
Involve the kids and teach them a lesson
Share with your kids what your budget is for their back-to-school needs and work together to find good deals. This can help give kids more of a perspective on what things cost, and an appreciation for saving. A fun and smart idea, is to tell them that if you spend less than budgeted on their supplies, they can put the difference into their savings account.
Plan ahead for next year
This fall will be the best time to pick up cheap binders, papers, and other supplies at major retailers who will start slashing prices. These deals can help with the spring supply refill needs, as well as next year’s back-to-school needs.