We’ve all see the back-to-school commercials with joyous parents clicking their heels and dancing around with the mere thought of the start of the new school year. The reality is that August can be a very stressful time for both children and those responsible for getting their children back to school. Parents already have a lot on their plate and as families get ready for a new school year, they can be overwhelmed with the additional financial stressors — paying for back-to-school supplies, clothes and possibly tuition. In a recent consumer survey, 65% of parents cited back to school shopping as their number one stressor related to the new school year.
While there is financial stress associated with heading back to school, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune every year. Here a few great ideas for saving money while getting them everything they need.
- Prepare a budget with your child. He’ll learn a lesson in responsibility and be less likely to get upset if you can’t afford something he wants.
- Make a list. Use the recommended or required supplies from your child’s school and stick to it. Extra supplies, while they may be cute, will probably never get used and just leave your pockets empty.
- Take inventory. Sort through last year’s supplies to see what is left over or can be reused.
- Hold off buying trendier gear. Kids love the latest superhero or princess lunch box or pencil cases in July, but once they start school and see that their friends are all using another kind, they’ll want an upgrade. The result is wasted cash.
- Shop end-of-summer sales. Many children wear short sleeved shirts throughout the year as layers. You will get good use of the deep discounts on short sleeved shirts and shorts well into the fall.
- Check your closets. Let the kids pick out something new to wear on the first day of school, so I just buy one outfit (or shirt). Their summer clothes will last them well into September most of the time, so I wait to buy clothes for cooler weather.
- Shop the supermarket and discount stores for basic supplies. Check weekly circulars for great deals on pens and loose-leaf paper, and get your weekly grocery shopping done at the same time. Buying everything in one place saves time and money.
Finally, to reduce stress and save on back-to-school shopping, it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. Let your child help you, With proper planning, you can prepare your children for another school year without breaking the bank and your family’s budget.
Dealing With Back to School Blues., APA Help Center, American Psychological Association, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/school-rush.aspx
Peterson, N.& Shoup Olsen, C. Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, Tips for Parents: Trim Back-To-School Stress, http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/Families/doc13642.ashx
Written by: Kathy Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, Miami Valley EERA
Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, Heart of Ohio EERA