Back-to-school expenses are growing every year, especially when your kids are also growing by leaps and bounds. This can become a little bit stressful for parents whether you have one or three kids. Most of the time, children seem to grow faster during the holidays requiring you to try fit them in their old school uniforms and realizing they did not fit. The school pants may be a little shorter or the tops may be tight on the arms. It is a good thing you tried to fit a little bit earlier than a day before school started, otherwise it would be a bigger back-to-school drama.
Finding different ways to simplify expenses every time school bells starts ringing is crucial for parents who are sending more than one child to school or first time school parents. Knowing that aside from school uniforms, there are still other new things to buy like the recommended school pack and so many other little things. First and foremost, one needs to be organized and be prepared in order that you are able to budget your finances better.
Be organized and plan ahead. Make a plan of the things you need and start sooner rather than later. Check all the things that your children will need for when the school opens. Fit their school uniforms to see if they need replacements or if you can find a way of recycling it. If it still fits but look faded, then you can dye it so that it will look brand new. If the school uniforms do not fit anymore or there is no way to recycle it then can either hold it off for the next child or lend it to a friend. Giving it away to a friend with a child who can use it serves to help another family and might just trigger the pay it forward movement in your community. Who knows, just maybe it will come back to you when someone else is able to lend or give you what you may need. Important to note here when planning is that this should not remain a mom’s project but should be discussed by the whole family. This would better explain to the kids the current financial situation and what they can do to help.
Know how to prioritize. After you have made a list of the things you need, check and assess again which you really need to buy and which things are not very important at the moment. These things are those that can still be recycled or borrowed or not needed at the start of the school. Be creative when thinking up ways to recycle. Take note that not only school uniforms are recyclable. In fact you can recycle almost anything like notebooks or stationery based on those that were not used the previous school year. The bags or school packs can also be fixed so that it also looks new.
Learn to budget. When it comes to buying the school needs, finding the best deals on the most expensive or highest-cost items in your lists should be the focal point. These things are the school uniforms, computers, textbooks, and software and internet access. By shopping around you would know where the deals and huge discounts are. You can buy new but cheap on discount stores or find an online uniform store where you can avail deals and coupons. Go to a second-hand store or swap to meet your needs. Since this has been discussed with the family, then kids of age can tag along and learn the art of shopping on a budget or bargain hunting. This would of course teach your kids valuable skills such as budgeting and taking financial responsibility.
Know where to buy. Research long before the time of shopping where you can buy the most of the things you need without having to go to different places and stores. This will limit your time spent on choosing, deciding and on the whole shopping expedition. This will save you time and effort and most of all additional expenses you will incur when you waste time looking for things and realize you forgot something. Important too is the list of things you need to buy, where to buy and up to how much are you willing to spend on it. This idea works not only for school openings but also for other occasions like buying your Christmas gifts. You can buy things before it is needed to avoid rush as well as the higher cost. Jackets and raincoats are less expensive during summer when it is not needed much.
Learning to budget is not just for the back-to-school preparation but all-year round. Setting aside a certain amount that is separate from the day-to-day expenses can help a lot. A good way to also save is when you receive a bonus or a pay rise that you don’t really need at the moment. Putting it aside for the education fund before it becomes absorbed by the normal and daily family budget is important. Another way is to ask for educational materials as gifts during Christmas or birthday gifts instead of toys that will not be used after awhile. Making it a family activity helps each child to be more conscientious of his or her things so that it can be reused by other family members.