/ Finance 101

Back-to-school savings

Back-to-school shopping can be fun, exciting and expensive.

It’s easy to get caught up in ‘back-to-school’ fever and spend without much thought. New backpacks, binders, pens, electronics, lunch boxes – the list never seems to end. But, with some advanced planning and an eye for savings, you can avoid blowing your August budget and make this back-to-school season a breeze.

Here are some tips to keep you on-track for another great school year.

1. Make a List

Making a list can help keep your spending on track. Consider the items your children will need based on the grade they’re entering and types of classes they’ll be taking. Talk to your kids about what they needed last year and use your best guess to build your list. As you list the items, be specific about how many of each your children need.

A day spent hunting the house for school supplies could save you a lot of money — every item found is money saved."

2. Reuse What You Can

Before you turn to buying, take some time to re-discover what you already have. A day spent hunting the house for school supplies could save you a lot of money — and if you get your kids involved, your back-to-school scavenger hunt could turn into a fun family activity. Look in craft boxes, old backpacks, drawers and areas that your children play, and see if you can find re-usable items like pencils, protractors, binders, paper, glue sticks, calculators, pencil cases, lunch boxes, backpacks, gym clothes and indoor shoes. As you find the items, check them off on your list — every item found is money saved.

3. Compare Flyers

A lot of companies will be offering back-to-school deals, so don’t jump at the first one. Watch for flyers in your mailbox or online and compare different offers. While shopping stick to buying the basics; if you find out you need to buy specialty items after your kids start school, the sales will still be running for a few more weeks.

4. Plan Lunches

Planned lunches will help you know what to buy from the grocery store, helping you reduce waste, save time and cut costs. Buy in bulk and on sale whenever possible; granola bars, fruit cups, juice boxes. If you have a large freezer, consider buying items like bread and lunch meat when they are on sale and then freezing them for future use. Many nutritious snacks such as apples, grapes and pears are also in-season and more affordable in the fall. Fruit picking can be an inexpensive and fun family activity, and you can store extra fruit in a cool, dark room or freeze slices to put in smoothies later.

These tips can help set your family up for a great school year, and also with your household budgeting.

Best of luck getting back into your school routine.

This article is for informational purposes only. For personalized financial advice, you should contact a qualified financial advisor.

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