Although it may still seem like the middle of summer, the school year is right around the corner. This process includes registering for classes, filling out forms, appointments with the doctor and of course, back to school shopping. Whether you are a seasoned vet or sending your first kid off to school, we want to make sure that you stay organized and stress free. Below are two tips to help you stay on top of your game during the back to school season:
First, stay organized. If this is your first child you are sending off, ask neighbors for good tips. Try keeping a binder or folder with all of your kids’ school information. The binder may include registration forms, waivers, extra curricular activity forms, doctor forms and contact information for teachers, PTA members or carpool members. Also, try to create a master calendar for activities, field trips, school holidays, parent teacher meetings, etc. This will start the year off right and keep you on track as the year goes on.
Second, shop smart. This can be tricky when you have kids of different ages and can end up costing you quite a bit of money. (In the future we recommend saving for school shopping just as you would for Christmas shopping.) Sit down and decide what you can afford without breaking the budget.
- Be honest with your kids about their back to school budget. This will help them understand how to make decisions between needs, wants and opportunity costs.
- Some parents have placed incentives for children to save money by arranging a deal where you will split or give them any money left over.
- Spread clothing purchases throughout the year or at least allocate the money in a separate UCCU sub account throughout the year.
- Know where to cut costs and where to spend a little more. For example, cheaper glue sticks and paper may not matter to you, but lower quality shoes or backpacks may need to be replaced later on during the year.
- Clip coupons and watch for mailers. Many retailers now will price match. This will save you gas money and you can still get the best deals.
- If you have to buy textbooks, search around. If you can get the ISBN number (International Standard Book Number) you will be able to compare between the bookstore and online retailers. This could save you hundreds over the course of two semesters. (However, remember to factor in the cost of shipping!)
Hopefully this will make your school shopping a little less stressful and make the transition from summer back to school as smooth as possible. Also, we would like to hear from you! What have you done to save time and money or make the back to school process easier? Let us know by commenting below.