Much to the chagrin of children everywhere another school year is about to start, and that means that parents across the country are busy stocking up on school supplies. These next few weeks can be a real budget buster from mom and dad but, if you’re keen on staying within budget as you get the kids ready to go back to school, avoiding the spending mistakes below will certainly help. Enjoy.
One of the first things many parents fail to do is check the supplies they already have at home before heading to the store. Many times the most in-demand items, like notebooks, pens, lunch boxes, backpacks and so forth, are already in your home’s closets, drawers and desks. Going through all of those locations and looking for those items before you head out to the store may well save you quite a few bucks.
One mistake that many parents make is they fail to create a school spending plan. On average, a shopping list for school will have approximately 18 items on it. Creating a shopping list and setting a dollar amount that you wish to spend for those items, and in total, is a great idea before you head out to the store. Sitting down with the kids to create a specific list of essential items, determining what they need as opposed to what they want, can also save you a lot of time and money.
The biggest drawback to shopping without a plan, or a list, is that it can lead to overspending. Frankly, even if your state is one of the 16 that offers a sales-tax free holiday weekend, it doesn’t mean that you need to purchase things that aren’t necessary.
Many parents also make the mistake of buying things in bulk just to save more money. Frankly, buying a whole lot of items that your children aren’t actually going to use just because you can save a few more dollars really doesn’t make a lot of ‘cents’ (pun intended). It can be difficult when prices are so low on bulk items but, again, money “saved” on something that isn’t used is money that hasn’t been saved at all, just spent. The easiest way to avoid this is quite simple; don’t ever buy anything just because it’s a “great deal”, only purchase it if your children actually need it.
One way that many parents are saving money on school supplies in the last few years is to team up with other parents in their neighborhoods and buy everything together, so that they can take advantage of the bulk savings. If you’re on good terms with your neighbors and have children of similar ages, this might be a great way for you to save some money this school year.
School supplies have inflated so much in value over the years, that keeping your kid equipped is just another source of pressure for families already under financial stress these days…