Preparing for the Cost of Going Back to School
School fees aren’t something that are typically tax deductible. Most of us already know this, but often we fail to plan for all of the costs associated with sending the kids back to school every fall. Between registration fees, school supplies, and clothes, the costs can really add up–particularly if you are preparing for more than one child to start school. Fortunately, if you plan ahead and begin preparations early, it doesn’t have to be a huge hit to your bank account all at once to send the kiddos back to school. Here are some ways to help prepare yourself for the expenses associated with the beginning of the new school year.
Make a School Budget
Figure out how much you can afford to spend on supplies, fees, and clothes and work from there. Use that budget to determine how much you will be able to spend on supplies and clothes after registration fees are paid. If your budget doesn’t allow room for all of the things your kids need to start the new school year, begin with the basics and the things that they absolutely HAVE to have for the first day of school, and work on budgeting out the rest of the items over the next few weeks.
Reuse Whatever You Can
If last year’s backpack is still serviceable, is it really necessary to buy a brand-new one for the new school year? What about some of the basics like pens, markers, scissors, and other items from the previous school year that are unused or barely used? Reuse whatever you can to help cut costs all around. If your child absolutely wants a different backpack or lunchbox than the one he used last year, consider arranging a swap with some friends or family. This can help both families reduce their overall expenses for back to school.
Before one academic year is over, start thinking about what your kids might need for the next year. You will find that come October and November, backpacks, lunchboxes, and all of the essential back-to-school supplies are often significantly marked down. If you plan ahead, you can find incredible deals on some of the things you know your kids will need. This also applies to clothing, shoes, coats, and accessories.
Shopping at the very end of a season will often give you access to the best possible deals. Of course, there is always a little bit of a risk when you purchase ahead for the next year. Your child may experience a massive growth spurt or the supply lists may change dramatically. Still, planning an entire year ahead in terms of purchases you know you will make every single year can save you significantly in the long run.
Going back to the classroom after several months of summer sunshine and lazy days is always exciting. This is especially true when I have had the foresight to plan ahead and really budget the cost of sending the kids back to homeroom. With some foresight and thought, it doesn’t have to be financially devastating, though. Shopping early and budgeting carefully should help ease the financial burden of this time of year.