I attended my first official Mom’s Club board meeting on Thursday to finalize plans for this upcoming school year, and WOW is there a lot going on at school! There’s nothing like jumping in the deep end of Back to School! I am trying not to get too wrapped up into the fact that this is Jimmy’s last year of high school. I can hear the door creaking (loudly) as it’s closing. The “empty nest” door is starting to open. I’ve always been involved in my kid’s schools, whether in the classroom or on a board level. This is the last year for volunteering at school, but I’m not going to get into that in this article. What I am going to cover is helping you save money by budgeting for back to school. So, what should your August (or September) through May (or June) budget look like?
- Clothing – Clean out closets and get rid of everything that doesn’t fit (or they won’t wear):
- Shorts, shirts, pants, etc.
- socks (if there isn’t a match-throw it out)
- jackets fit
- gym uniform or special shoes to keep in their gym locker (that was middle school for all three of mine).
- School Supplies – Make a list because it will save you so much money! Also, don’t forget to keep your receipt, because there have been so many times something was on the list that my kids didn’t need that I could’ve returned. If they are in high school be prepared for sticker shock on how much their calculator will cost. The good news is they will use it all four years, and into college. So you will eventually get your money’s worth. Also, look online at CraigsList, NextStore, OfferUp and other apps to save money. My son found his on LetGo. Again, there so so many sales, you can find stores that will guarantee the lowest prices (Dick’s Sporting Goods for clothing), so do your homework before leaving the house.
- School Pictures – make sure you allow enough money in your budget for a package. Please take a look at the packages to see where you can save money. I usually get a smaller package with the CD, because so many friends and family members would rather have a digital picture. I need the actual picture for their scrapbooks though.
- Other School Fees – These can add up, and there is no “saving” money on them. These fees include: lab fees, clubs, sports, field trips, teacher gifts (mainly at Christmas and end of the year), school parties, parking permits, and if they are involved in graduation or continuation budget enough for invitations, parties, and gifts (for special friends).
- Doctor’s Copay – Schools will usually require physicals to play high school sports. The good news is a lot of summer camps also ask for physicals, generally, if the physical are less than 6months the school will take them. Also, don’t forget to ask for their immunization records!
- School Lunches – Don’t forget to set up your credit card information for this years school lunches. This is a hidden item in a budget a lot of times, because it can add up fast if you don’t stay on top of it at first. I pack lunch 3-4 times a week, and my son gets lunch usually once a week, but my schedule is busy, and can’t get to the store, then he will buy lunch twice that week. It’s more for me than for him most of the time!
So before you go shopping make a list of what you are going to buy, look for sales, coupons, and look at resale apps. Then you can start budgeting for back to school supplies, and you will be surprised how easy it is to stick with your budget. Also, please take a look at these great articles I found on Dave Ramsey’s website and Huffington Post’s website with more helpful hints