With back-to-school season right around the corner, preparing your children for a new school year can be both exciting and exhausting. A new academic year can sometimes go hand in hand with its own set of financial concerns. The good news is that with a bit of preparation and adjustments to your spending, you can navigate back-to-school shopping without breaking the bank or going into debt.
Tip 1: Start Early
I’m sure the last thing you want to think about when preparing for the current school year is the next school year, but that is absolutely what you should consider. Embrace a year-round approach to back-to-school shopping to spread out your expenses, beat the back-to-school rush, and lighten the financial load on your shoulders. According to the National Retail Federation, parents spend an average of $890 on back-to-school shopping. That number takes on a whole new look when spread over 12 months instead of being dropped all at once. Throughout the year, keep your eyes open for any sales or simply pick up a few essential items, ensuring you are well prepared and avoiding debt.
Tip 2: Make a list.
The superstar of back-to-school shopping lies in organization. A good checklist with every item you’ll need to purchase for back-to-school shopping not only helps curb impulsive buying but also prevents you from overbuying things you really don’t need, preventing unnecessary spending. A fully prepared list acts like your personal GPS when it comes to back-to-school shopping, navigating you through the chaos of supplies, school clothes, or any other item that you may need to purchase. Without a list, you’re more likely to fall into the trap of “sales” that may not actually align with your supply needs. This can quickly lead to clutter and wasted time and money. By adhering to a list, you are making the experience much more enjoyable and financially rewarding.
Tip 3: Create a realistic budget
While credit cards offer convenience, they also present the risk of overspending. According to a recent survey with National Debt Relief, 46% of the respondents indicated that credit card debt is the worst type of debt to have. Creating a realistic and defined budget is one of the easiest ways to create a safety net during back-to-school shopping. Assess your financial situation and allocate a realistic amount of money toward school supplies. This budget should include all anticipated expenses for items as big as a laptop and as small as an eraser. This budget essential creates a barrier between you and your spending to help you make informed decisions about back-to-school purchases.
Tip 4: DIY School Supplies for a Personalized Touch
This DIY approach aligns perfectly with the goal to avoid overspending and credit card debt. Incorporate resourcefulness and creativity into your back-to-school preparations. This is an opportunity to bond with your child during such a busy time of the year and learn the value of mindful consumption. Instead of splurging on expensive branded items, you can invest in basic, affordable supplies and then enhance them to reflect your child’s unique style. By prioritizing creativity and personalization, you’re less likely to fall prey to impulse purchases driven by credit card convenience. Instead, you’re making intentional choices, strengthening your bond with your children, and actively participating in their education journey—all while staying well within your budget and avoiding the pitfalls of credit card debt.
Tip 5: Minimize Credit Card Usage
When it comes to back-to-school shopping, using credit cards should be a last resort. Opt for cash or debit cards whenever possible to ensure you’re spending within your means. If credit cards must be used, have a clear plan to pay off the balance promptly. By minimizing credit card usage, you’re safeguarding against unnecessary debt and setting a responsible financial example for your children. This practice reinforces the value of spending money you already have and avoiding debt that can linger long after the back-to-school season. These strategies help ease the financial burden of back-to-school shopping and teach your children how to make thoughtful decisions once the excitement of new bookbags and notebooks wears off. Remember, getting ready for back-to-school expenses isn’t just about checking items off a list (although the list helps). It’s about setting the financial tone for the entire school year.
About the Author:
Dasha Kennedy is a fearless financial activist and visionary behind the powerful platform “The Broke Black Girl.” Driven by her own experiences, she champions financial empowerment for marginalized communities, especially focusing on black women. Through her insightful and impactful content she equips individuals with the tools to overcome financial hardships and build a secure future.
Dasha’s message resonates with thousands, inspiring them to take control of their finances and break free from the cycle of debt. Her mission goes beyond just providing financial advice; she aims to dismantle systemic barriers and create a more equitable financial landscape for all.
As a dynamic voice in the finance world, Dasha’s work has garnered widespread recognition and acclaim. Her advocacy for financial literacy and economic justice has resulted in tangible changes in the lives of countless individuals. Join her on this empowering journey to transform lives, one step at a time.