Back to School on a Budget

As the lazy, sun-soaked days of summer give way to autumn, preparation begins for another year of school. In our ever-costly world, even getting ready to learn comes with a price tag. The financial crisis of recent years has taken a toll on many of us. The need to make sound  financial decisions, even on items like pencils and notebook paper, is increasingly important.  

The following steps will not only help you save money this back to school season, but serve as an important lesson to share with your children about the importance of paying close attention to finances.

Check your supplies before hitting the store

Invariably, children never user all of their schools supplies during the year. Check closets for notebook paper, folders, pencils and other unused items. You may not need to purchase as much as you think.  Also, teach your children to take care of their stuff. This measure alone will reduce back to school costs year to year.

Create a budget

Just like anything else, it’s important to make a budget prior to making purchases. Check with teachers to see which items they will most likely use this year. Not using rubber cement this year (or any year?) Don’t budget for it. Also consider extra-curricular expenses, such as equipment for sports and musical instruments. Also, consider the cost of school lunches vs homemade ones.

No Shame in Gently Used

Your kids may not agree, but quality items such as backpacks, laptops, even clothes can be found at drastically reduced prices at the local Goodwill. You can also find great deals on laptops at Amazon.com.

Look online for deals

Along with checking Sunday sales circulars (best time to do it is before the tax holidays), check out your favorite stores online. Coupon sites such as Dealnews.com and CouponCode.com are good as well. Mommy blogs are a great resource for a more affordable way to purchase nearly everything.

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