Beat the Back to School Spending Blues

Back to school can be time consuming and expensive. There’s filling out endless online and paper forms, buying school supplies, and shopping for clothes while guessing how much the kids will grow by spring.

National Retail Federation data found that electronics and clothing make up nearly two-thirds of a family’s back to school spending. The biggest break is found in school supplies, where consumers can expect to shell out $122 for basics like pencils, pens, markers and notebooks.

The easiest way to fund school on a budget, is to slowly stockpile throughout the year (hello Target dollar bins). If it’s too late for this year, here are a few ways you can still save.

Pace yourself: According to RetailMeNot.com, 62% of shoppers who do their back to school shopping before August spend about $100 more than those who wait until later. Do your research and find opportunities to put off buying everything at once, especially those high-ticket items like electronics and clothing. Consumer Reports suggests waiting until September or October to replace laptops or tablets, and that waiting until the fall is when these items are often on sale – which could save you big money.

Look for deals: It’s never been easier to find good deals and comparison shop. Check out the Groupon back to school discount tab or sites like RetailMeNot.com for coupons. Other websites like BensBargains.com, or apps like ShopSavvy and CamelCamelCamel can keep you updated on the latest deals on particular items, helping you track when an item is at its lowest price – whether on Amazon or at your local retail store.

Look for delivery options: Your child’s school may partner with an organization that sells school supplies at a flat price. Teachers provide the list, the company packages the supplies, and the best part? Your child’s box is waiting for them in their classroom on the first day of school. Talk about a time saver! Some stores like Target offer School List Assist, where parents can enter their zip code find their school and class supply list, order items and either have them delivered to their door, curbside at a nearby Target location, or for pick-up in the store.

Back to school doesn’t have to break the bank – just remember to try to plan ahead and look for deals (even if it means waiting for some things until September).

Article Source: Myriam DiGiovanni for financialfeed.com

 

Back to School on a Budget

Summer is coming to a close, and back to school season is officially upon us.  Along with all the nostalgia and excitement this time of year brings, it can also get expensive – and fast.

“When did Crayola markers raise their prices? HOW much for a spiral notebook? Why do my kids need 12 of everything?!”

Here are some tips to help you stay in your back to school budget, and enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

1. Use the dollar store.

The dollar store is your friend! From notebooks and folders in every color, to pencils and loose paper – you can find 80% of the items your kids will need for the upcoming school year. Let’s all “just say no” to spending $9.99 on a box of crayons.

2. Budget and save in advance.

It’s easy to forget about the annual expenses associated with the back to school season. If you didn’t budget this year, start saving now for next school year. Put aside a little extra in your savings account on a monthly basis, and then use it next summer instead of relying on your credit card and racking up interest.

3. Have your kids save their own money for back to school clothes shopping.

New clothes and shoes are a very exciting (and very expensive) part of back to school shopping. Summer is the perfect time to teach your kids about the importance of saving, budgeting, and managing money. Whether it’s through extra chores, an after school job, or a lemonade stand, there are plenty of opportunities for your kids to earn money toward new clothes and shoes for the coming school year.

4. Buy in bulk and shop sales.

Stores like Costco and Sam’s Club offer great discounts when buying in bulk, and many other stores now offer lower prices when you buy in large quantities. Also, don’t forget to shop sales! It may be old school, but flipping through newspaper ads and store circulars that have coupons, can save you a ton of money when it comes to back to school shopping. Or sign up for emails for the stores you shop at – then use the e-coupons they send you.

5. Use a prepaid card.

Part of what makes back-to-school shopping so fun for kids is the opportunity to pick out items they love on their own. Does your high school or college student have a First Family Student Prepaid Reloadable card from First Financial? Give them easy access to back to school shopping money, and a surefire way to make sure their spending is convenient for you as a parent, secure, and won’t break your budget. Learn more here, and you can easily load your prepaid card right online 24/7 or stop into your nearest First Financial branch – just in time for the new school year.*

*3rd party fees may apply for Debit or ATM transactions. Foreign transaction fees may apply for transactions processed outside of US. A First Financial Visa® Prepaid Card can only be reloaded by a First Financial FCU Checking Account, Debit Card, or Credit Card online. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a Visa® Prepaid Card. A First Financial membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties, NJ. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any account/loan. See credit union for details. Other terms/conditions and fees may apply. Federally insured by NCUA.

Article Source: Naomi Anderson for CUInsight.com