Back to School Finances

Okay parents, we’re a week into the school year. How did you fare with “back to school shopping”? Did you spend a load of dollars or did you plan to avoid the back to school shopping rush by waiting until this weekend to shop?

If you’re still in back to school shopping mode, there’s still a number of ways to be more frugal with your budget in the beginning in the school year. The cost of school shopping continues to increase and can get even more expensive for college and university students.

Let’s take a look at a few simple ways to save money when starting the new school year and throughout the school year.

Take inventory

A common mistake people make every year is not taking stock of the supplies they already have in their home. A lot of the items that we purchased in previous years are still lying around in a drawer or shelf. It can be rare at times that we finish all the pencils or pads of lined paper in one school year as those types of products are often purchased in bulk.

Go on a hunt to find items that have gone unused and put them in a central place where you can take inventory of what you already have.

Include school expenses in your monthly budget

Although most of our foreseen school expenditures happen at the beginning of the year, there are still a number times that we have to dish out some cash throughout the school year. Whether it’s school trips, sports equipment, new clothes, or special school supplies for a course, having a small amount of funds allotted for school expenses can be helpful in addressing those extra costs that come up between September and June of the following year.

Quality vs. Trendy

Pop culture has infiltrated so many aspects of our children’s lives. Kids always want the latest and greatest. So when it’s time to buy clothes or anything that may be needed during the school year, they often gravitate to what has been marketed to them by corporations who are not necessarily concerned about providing the highest quality of products.

The fact is that most trendy clothing and other products are not built to last. Often times they seem to be made to last as long as the fad itself, or even much shorter than that. So when your kids start asking for the latest trendy brand, use that as an opportunity to show them the difference between the often low-quality of the currently hot products with the $100+ logo and the well-made item without a logo that will stand the test of time. It’s a money-management lesson that can last a lifetime.

It’s all about the little things…

  • There’s nothing wrong with the dollar store. The dollar store allows you to get great bargains on things that shouldn’t cost much in the first place.
  • New college text books can get expensive; used ones cost less. In the end, used text books have the same content as brand new text books, except maybe slightly less pretty. Buy used text books on Amazon, eBay, and Half.com.
  • Coupons are your friends. Yes, they are always available. Whether they come in the mail or you find them online, use coupons to cushion the blow to your bank account. Also, don’t forget about price matching at certain retailers like Walmart.
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Rico Johnston

Rico Johnston has been helping people get mortgages for over 18 years in the Greater Sudbury area. His passion for entrepreneurship and making a difference in the lives of others has garnered him the reputation as premier mortgage broker that makes the personal goals of his clients, his own objectives. A Sudbury native, with strong ties to his community, Rico is determined to not only get the best possible deal on mortgages for his clients but also to provide sound advice on personal finance.

 Be sure to subscribe to Rico’s monthly newsletter to hear his take on financial best practices and trends in the mortgage industry. Also, you can follow him on Twitter , Facebook , and Linkedin

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