Yes it is that time of year again… Back to School! Have you adequately prepared? Most of the time, we haven’t. Somehow we just have too much fun relaxing, vacationing, and in general enjoying the break from the usual routine. Well I have news for you… School starts at about the same time each year so why not plan accordingly? Christmas is always on December 25th but we don’t seem to realize that until Thanksgiving dinner is before us. How about we make preparations for what is ahead by starting now? Since my kids started school this week, I have no choice but to plan for the next year. Our school shopping is done! Here are some tips to consider when the summer is coming to an end:
1. Before you spend any money. Look at what you already have. Make your kids clean their rooms, open the drawers, and take inventory. This goes for clothes and school supplies. Now that you know where the gaps are all you need to do is purchase those missing items. 2. Create a storage tub with all unused school supplies. Stock up at Staples and Office Max when certain supplies are 1 penny and then dump them in the tub so you know where to look when you need it. 3. Buy clothes in larger sizes throughout the year when they are on clearance. This way you don’t need to budget a large amount for clothing on the heels of your vacation. 4. Get an idea for what activities, electives, and sports your kids want to partake in early. Next, determine what makes sense for your schedule and budget. Finally, inform your kids what they can participate in before the sign up date. Then they know their boundaries ahead of time. 5. Summer is expensive with vacations, camps, activities, etc. We have to keep everyone busy right? Well, why not save for these events throughout the year? Sign up for your dependent care account at work so you get a tax break. Only put in the amount of money for child care, camps, etc that you know you will spend because the money is gone at the end of the year. Also, open a vacation savings account. Add up what you spent this summer and set aside the monthly amount automatically. 6. Shopping is easy when you have to buy school uniforms since it is all the same. However, it can be costly. Scout out families with kids either older or younger than yours and consider a clothing exchange. And definitely save the older siblings clothes for your younger ones.
Budgeting is the key to success with money. It helps you plan for what is ahead and gives you a basis for change when the unexpected happens. Preparing to send your kids to school is no different. Budgeting will relieve the stress and in turn put the power back in your hands. Here’s to a great school year!