CALGARY, Aug. 27, 2015 /CNW/ - Back to school is fast approaching and the costs are as steep as always. Money Mentors advises all families and students to evaluate and plan accordingly by preparing a Back to School budget. The price isn't always right just because the sign says "sale".
Preparing for the new school year is important in more than one way. Money Mentors encourages all families to share lessons of financial literacy when possible. Learning opportunities like this only come around a few times a year and now is the best time to have your children get involved in the budgeting process, giving them an opportunity to become financially literate and learn how to save money.
Do this by clarifying what they are allowed to spend on back to school outfits and school supplies. Teach them the difference between wants and needs when it comes to education. Provide budgeting tips and allow them to search for the product that has the best value. Money Mentors also wants the savings to continue into the school year by providing them with more financial responsibilities. Here are some tips to share that will help make the back to school shopping experience easier on you, and easier on your wallet.
5 WAYS TO SAVE FOR BACK TO SCHOOL:
- Inventory school supplies & clothing before shopping
What do your kids already have? Do you need to buy them new gym sneakers if they already have 3 pairs? Have them join you in a summer clean where you go through all of their clothes, past school supplies, and extracurricular items. Eliminate overspending and save money on products that are already at home.
- Wait for Back to School sales
Many department stores have back to school sales for new school supplies. Make sure you go to lower-priced retail outlets to save even more. Some may say "sale" even though their sale price is the regular price at another location. Sign up for online newsletters alerting you of these sales so that you don't miss them (both retail and department).
- Plan a school backpack swap
One of the most expensive purchases to make every year before school starts, is a brand new school backpack. These "supply holders" cost anywhere from $20 to $100, and normally your child wants a new one every season. Try to set up a backpack swap between your kids' closest friends. Save yourself and other family's money by trading instead of purchasing brand new. More often than not, what kids call "old" are actually gently used. Alternatively, buy a good quality backpack that will last a few years so that you don't need to purchase one each year.
- Be prepared for the extra-curricular activities for kids
Once your kids are back in the classroom, their extra-curricula's might start to become an overwhelming cost. Ensure you aren't registering for more activities for the kids than you should as a family. To avoid stress and a weekly gas tank fill-up, find another family who you can share the driving responsibilities with.
- Prep easy and affordable lunches
Try doing grocery shopping before the Sunday evening to ensure you have time to prep lunches for the following day, or week. Try to research healthy lunch ideas for kids that are cost-effective and easy to prepare in advance. These might even include lunch recipes that your kids can attempt to tackle on their own. This will keep you from having to provide your child with money for the school cafeteria each day, costing an extra $25/week or more.
Remember that a key part of financial success is preparation. Create a Back to School budget that holds you accountable yet challenges you to further educate yourself and your family. Back to school can be a stressful time of year, but it can also be exciting. Enjoy the experience while implementing money saving tips along the way.
Money Mentors is the only Alberta-based, not-for-profit credit counselling agency. Through a number of services, we help families and individuals recover from financial crisis and move forward. From credit counselling and money coaching to retirement planning and community financial literacy, we are contributing to a healthier financial future for the entire province.
SOURCE Money Mentors
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For further information: William Akoto, MoneyMentors.ca, Toll-free: 1-888-294-0076, [email protected], Facebook.com/MoneyMentors, Twitter.com/MoneyMentors