4 tips for your back-to-school budget
As summer ends and children head back to school, now is the time to make sure you have a back-to-school budget in place. Developing a budget can help you plan for and manage expenses at the start of and throughout the school year.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), families with children in elementary through high school typically spend an average of $864 on school items. This amount has increased dramatically over the last few years, rising $168 since 2019.1
At Popular Bank, we want to help you plan for your child’s back-to-school and ongoing school expenses.
Here are four tips to help you with your back-to-school budget.
1. Create a list of expenses to help you start your back-to-school budget.
A good first step in a back-to-school budget is creating a comprehensive list that includes any school expenses from the start of the school year to the end.
Your list may include:
- After-school programs
- Athletic apparel, equipment, and fees
- Clothing for school, including school uniforms
- Meals and snacks
- Medical and dental copays
- Mobile phone
- Private music and sports lessons
- Recreational fees
- School supplies
- Travel expenses
Once you’ve completed your list of expenses, break down these expenses by the week, month, and year. Keep a calendar handy and check the week ahead for reminders of upcoming expenses, including supplies, tuition, and fees, among others. Make a note of possible additional expenses to minimize unwanted financial surprises.
2. Track your spending throughout the year.
To stay on target with your back-to-school budget, it’s a good idea to keep a regular record of how much you spend and what you spent it on.
You’ll be surprised how quickly small amounts can add up. For example, giving your child cash to eat from school vending machines or at the school cafeteria can add up to larger amounts than you planned. A record can help you quickly see and eliminate or adjust unnecessary costs.
3. Cut costs by recycling old supplies and shopping with coupons.
Another way you can help your back-to-school budget is to look for ways to cut back on costs.
You could consider recycling school supplies. Look through closets and drawers to find forgotten supplies from the previous school year that are still in good shape.
You also can ask parents of children a year older than your child to pass down textbooks and other pre-owned school supplies. Because electronic devices, computers, notebooks, art supplies, and athletic equipment don’t usually wear out in just one school year, they often can be successfully used again.
It’s also a good idea to look for discounts and sales when you’re shopping for school clothes supplies. Many businesses offer online discounts and coupons that you can use when shopping throughout the year.
4. Make your back-to-school budget the foundation of financial literacy.
At Popular Bank, we encourage you to use your back-to-school budget to teach your child how to wisely manage finances.
You can explain about comparison shopping for good deals, the difference between wants versus needs, and how saving now can result in a healthy nest egg for something important in the future, such as college tuition.
Reach your financial goals by taking a better look at your back-to-school budget. Popular Bank is here to help you achieve your financial goals. Now that you have a better understanding of how to budget for back-to-school expenses, contact us or visit a branch to find out how our products and services can help you throughout the school year.
1 National Retail Federation. Families Prioritize Back-to-School and College Spending Amidst Rising Inflation. nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/families-prioritize-back-school-and-college-spending-amidst-rising. Accessed August 19, 2022.