Is Your Budget Ready for Back-to-School Shopping?

Time flies, and your kids will be back in the classroom learning their multiplication tables before you know it. They won’t be the only ones crunching numbers once the fall hits. You’ll also have to dust off your math skills as you prepare your budget for back-to-school shopping.

Tech, clothes, and everything in between — the usual back-to-school haul can ring up a huge total at the till. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), families with kids in elementary and high school spend an average of $864 on supplies.

Finding nearly $1,000 is a lot easier when you plan in advance. So even though it might feel too early to start preparing, now’s your chance to get your budget in order. Check out these tips to help you save money when your kids go back to school.

Set a Spending Limit

Just because the average family spends $864 on supplies, doesn’t mean you will, too. Determine the maximum amount you’re able to spend without dropping any other financial obligations. Once you have a number, break it down into specific categories such as supplies, clothing, and extracurricular activities. Knowing your limits in each category can help you avoid overspending on something.

Pause Other Savings with Caution

When back-to-school spending packs a wallop, you might be tempted to put all extra spending on hold. In extreme cases, you might even neglect other savings goals, diverting the cash you usually sock away in emergency and retirement funds towards supplies.

While cutting back on non-essential spending is a great idea, you should weigh up the merits of pausing your savings. Your emergency fund is at its most effective when you save every month. Missing a few contributions can leave you unprepared for an unexpected expense that arrives this fall.

Coming up short in an emergency is scary, but don’t panic if you’re in this situation right now. A lender like Fora makes it easy to apply for a financial safety net in emergencies. Fora offers loans online with convenient applications, so you can apply as soon as you confirm a line of credit fits your emergency.

Take Inventory of Supplies

Before hitting the stores, take inventory of what you already have. Gather all the school supplies from the previous year and assess which items can be reused.

Reusing pens, pencils, notebooks, and backpacks that are still in good condition can save you money by eliminating the need for unnecessary purchases.

Shop Smart and Compare Prices

To stretch your back-to-school budget, be a savvy shopper. Take advantage of sales, discounts, and promotions offered by retailers before and during the back-to-school season. According to research firm Morning Consult, most parents start shopping as early as July, indicating the importance of planning ahead and capitalizing on sales.

Compare prices both in-store and online to ensure you’re getting the best deals. You can also download a few apps to earn cashback rewards on every purchase. You can roll over these savings to increase your purchasing power this back-to-school season or save them for a little treat for yourself!

Consider Second-hand Options

When it comes to clothing, consider exploring second-hand options. Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces offer gently used clothing at a fraction of the cost.

Children grow quickly, and buying brand-new clothing for the school year can be expensive. Opting for second-hand items allows you to save money while still providing your child with stylish and functional clothing.

Hopefully, these tips can help you prepare for an expensive season ahead, so you can purchase new supplies without breaking the bank.