in Search

Money Coach

Back to school time doesn't mean you – and your wallet – have to suffer

If you've been to your local store lately, you've no doubt seen the back to school displays that are already filling up the aisles. The National Retail Federation estimates that parents will spend approximately $600 on back to school expenses. This includes school supplies, clothes, sports physicals and books – not to mention fees and clothes. But there are ways you can stretch your dollar and get your children back to school on a budget.

The first step is to make a budget. Make a list, knowing how much you can afford to spend, and stick to your list. Do some comparison shopping and look for coupons, both in circulars and online. Don't be afraid to ask retailers if they'll match the advertised prices of their competitors. 

Before you rush out and buy new clothes for your kids, check their closets. See what they can still wear, what may need some minor repairs and what could be handed down to younger siblings. Then make a list of must-haves – not wants – and use that for your shopping. Consider going to a consignment or thrift store to look for gently-used clothing, shoes and coats.

When it comes to school supplies, check the house for leftovers from last year. You may find markers, colored pencils and binders that weren't used last year that can be recycled for this year. You can also check your child's list of needed items to see if there are items that you can buy later in the year, to cut your spending down to a more manageable size at the beginning of the school year. 

Consider shopping at discount stores, superstores or warehouse clubs, where you can likely find the items your child needs at considerable discounts.

Last of all, make it a priority to purchase the items your children need with cash. When you put these items on a charge card and don't pay the balance in full, you will lose any savings you may have gotten by paying interest on the total purchase. 

Published Aug 11 2011, 11:45 AM by moneycoach
Add to Bloglines Add to Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web

This Blog