7 Budgeting tips for back to school families

7 Budgeting tips for back to school families

August 26, 2019

It's time for the kids to go back to school, and many parents are wondering where to get the money for school supplies. It is not easy, but necessary at this time. Here are tips on how you can stretch your money to go a long way while supplying your kids with everything they need for school.

  1. Make a list

Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make is to go out and buy things at random. You need to sit down and write what you need. A list will help you focus only on necessary items and save money.  Many schools provide supply lists, search to see if your school does this to save you time and money.

       2. Go through your kids' items

You are likely to find things in your home that you can take out of the school shopping list because they are already at hand. For example, hand me down uniforms can save you from buying new ones unnecessarily. The money you don't spend on new items, you can always save for rainy days when the kids need something.

  1. Separate things that you can repair

While you look at the list of school supplies and items you have at home, you may find some that you can repair or reuse. By doing some repairing and patchworking, you will save some money that you can use to buy things that the kids really need. For example, repair backpacks that have a few tears instead of purchasing new ones.  Sewing patches are hot now and it’s a great way to cover a tear in a fun way.

  1. Shop wisely

Once you have a list of the things you really - really need to buy for school, it's time to shop wisely. You can do this by trying the following tips. Please, remember to stick to the plan which is to save money as you buy items.

  • Look out for back to school clearance sales

Sale items are helpful when you need to purchase school items on a budget. Use clearance sales to buy school supplies at fair prices. Use these sales not only to buy things your children need at the beginning of school but also anything they may need later in the term.

  • Shop at affordable stores

You will be surprised at the big savings you can make when you buy school supplies at affordable stores such as dollar stores. There you can buy things like rulers, pencils, etc. at remarkably low prices.

  • Keep your coupons

Coupons can save you a lot of money when buying school supplies. The same goes for promotional codes. Be on the lookout for these money savers and use them liberally when shopping for school supplies.

  • Look out for second-hand items on sale

If you go online and check out sites like eBay, you will find people selling lots of gently used school items such as computers or calculators that you can buy. 

When it comes to clothing for school, you can also find affordable items in thrift stores at great prices. Buying second-hand items is a great way to save money when you are budgeting.

  • Social media can help

You will find many groups on social media of parents looking to share money saving ideas during back to school time and even swap school items.  Look for such groups online and join them to see what you can learn to help you stay on budget with your school shopping.  

  1. Save on day to day expenses

You can also plan ahead to save money on day to day school expenses. For example, instead of paying for school cafeteria lunch or giving your child lunch money, why not make packed lunches? You can also make a weekly plan for meals so you can buy groceries in bulk and save money.

  1. Go for quality

Even as you look for ways to save money, try only to buy quality items. You will find that affordable items can also be of quality if you keep your eyes open while you shop. One good quality school bag is easier on your bank account than a few cheap ones bought through the school year.


  1. Label school items

You can also save money during the school year by labeling school items. Well- labeled school items are hard to steal and easy to find when misplaced.

These are a few tips to help you manage back to school expenses. If this is not enough, see if you can make extra income for other expenses by doing things like baking, consulting, freelance writing, etc. in your free time. You will find that things always work out when we do our best.

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