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New shoes and backpacks and pencils, oh my!

Here’s how to keep the back-to-school budget under control.

For many, the start of a new school year has already begun or is just around the corner. For parents, that means the start of PTO meetings and sporting events and also the dreaded back to school shopping sprees. According to the National Retail Federation1, families typically plan to spend almost $685 on clothing, backpacks, writing utensils, electronics and lunch boxes. Ouch. The good news is that not all shopping needs to break the bank. For budget-conscious parents, here are our tips to keep the back to school spending under control.

  1. Set a spending limit and stick to it
    Before you even being to start shopping, determine how much you can spend. Try not to leave anything out and check your child’s supply list to avoid impulse buying at the store.
     
  2. Get your children involved
    Take this time to teach your children about budgeting and encourage good spending habits. Ask your children to help scope out deals and compare prices and teach them how to choose practical supplies.
     
  3. Shop smart
    Make the clearance aisle your best friend. Not all back to school items need to be shiny and new. Look for back to school sales that include coupons and discounts. You could even swap clothes and books with other families.
     
  4. Determine expenses that can wait
    There is no rule that says you must buy everything in time for the first day. You might be able to hold off on buying clothes for the fall until the weather turns cold. If you’re in a tight crunch, ask your child’s teacher about what you can and can’t provide. Your child’s school may even have a donation box to choose from.
     
  5. Plan for the future
    Don’t forget to budget for expenses that occur throughout the school year – hello, lunch money! Consider sending your child to school with a packed lunch even just a few times a week to pocket some extra cash. You could use that saved money to pay for music lessons or a number of other activities. 

Check out the Money Management feature within Great Western ebanking for additional ways to track and manage your money.

1 Source: nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/back-school-and-college-spending-reach-828-billion 

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