When I was in middle school I could not wait to get back to school. When I was in elementary school, going back to school was not fun. When I graduated from college, every September seemed like I should be getting ready for the return to school.
As a single mom of high school girls that were active leaders in sports and cheerleading, all I could see was dollar signs. It was expensive getting them into clothes that would be good enough to be seen in (really?) and all the accessories to make them seem truly “cool”. Oh my goodness, the stress of it all.
My girls are grown and beginning to think about children of their own. Forget saving for college, you need to start saving for back to school. Read below. The industry is now $27 billion and the average back to school for one kid is $636.00.
I am sharing this info with you because FeedThePig.org is one of the better ways of helping you think through your dollars; spend them wisely and support you in ways that extend the life of your dollars. I’ve read this weekly newsletter for 3+ years and ALWAYS FIND useful information.
Back-to-School, Not Back-to-Broke
The sun is still shining and the beach is still calling, but it’s hard to ignore the calendar telling us that it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school. At least in terms of what it’s going to cost you. A recent National Retail Federation survey revealed that families with kids in school expect to spend an average of $635 on back-to-school supplies, clothing and electronics. And even though 8 out of 10 shoppers say they’ll adjust their spending due to the economy, that all adds up to a national total of almost $27 billion! Try these tips to keep back-to-school from becoming back-to-broke.
24% of shoppers surveyed said they will start shopping at least two months before school. This allows you to spread the cost over more time, and gives you time to shop the sales. If the first shopping trip doesn’t yield the perfect sneakers, you have a few weeks to keep looking, and might even find things going on sale as the school year starts. And if you find what you need but the price is too high for your budget, you’ll have time to do some online research to see if you can find the item for less somewhere else.
Your kids will no doubt have ideas of what they want for their back-to-school items, from the coolest denim to the latest tablet or smart phone that everyone “has to have.” Before you give in to the extra cost that the popular items and labels add, ask your children to prioritize what they absolutely MUST HAVE and what they would be willing to have in an off-brand or skip altogether. By engaging them in this decision, you’ll be teaching them a valuable money lesson about trade-offs while saving yourself money in the process.
Before you head into the clothing section and start selecting items for your kids, set a spending limit and share it with your kids. Once you’re in the store and see how darling your kids look in the new duds, it will be harder to say no to items that exceed your budget. Having a clear idea of what you can afford to spend before you decide what you’ll spend it on will help you avoid buyer’s remorse.
Don’t overlook the merchandise that can be found—or the opportunity to recover some of your money spent on outgrown items—at consignment shops and thrift stores. You can often find great wardrobe basics, and can sell your own gently-used items to help defray some of the costs. Most consignment shops will give you fifty percent of the sales price of your goods. There are also new smart phone apps that allow you to quickly and easily list your items for sale online.
There’s no way to avoid some of the back-to-school costs, but with a little planning and budgeting you can keep both your kids and your budget happy.
This is the kind of information that we need at our fingertips all the time.
Blessings and great love,