As students get ready for the back-to-school season, parents must also create a strategy to save their shopping budget. Take a look at the following tips on how you can cut back on school expenses this year.
Clothing. Budget on clothes can prove to be expensive especially if you have more than one child to send to school. At least a month before school starts, conduct a closet inventory and see which items of clothing still fit or are still in good condition. Don’t forget to consider alterations. Some clothes can still be worn just by making a few alterations such as hemming the length, adjusting the waistline, mending, etc.
Make a list of clothing pieces that you have and then plan the items you need to buy. This way, you can avoid buying unnecessary pieces and you can start with the most important things first. You may also consider trading clothes with other parents in your child’s school. Call up your friends and organize a trading party. Many parents organize yearly trade parties to minimize their expenses and make the best out of a small budget.
Books. Ask student in the higher grade if they plan to sell their old books at a bargain. Perhaps you can even ask to trade for old books or someone might be willing to give it to your child for free. Remember, second-hand buys is cheaper and is more practical when it comes to books. You can look for bookstores that sell old books or check out online auction sites. If you’re going to buy online, don’t forget to look for merchants that offer free shipping.
Supplies. Once you get your list of supplies from your child’s school, check the most important things and buy these first. Check your stocks at home and look for school supplies from last year that might have been left unused.
Make-over. Old notebooks and things can be good as new again with a simple make-over. Consider adding a new cover or adding embellishments to give it a fresh look. If you plan to buy, plain items are usually cheaper than the ones which are readily designed. You can personalize and brighten up a plan item by adding embellishments.
Meals. As early as possible, create your weekly meal plan to stretch your food budget and ensure that your child can eat nutritious and delicious meals. Home-cooked meals are best and much cheaper rather than buying pre-processed or instant meals. Prepare home-cooked packed lunches for your child instead of letting them buy everyday from the school canteen.
Set a definite budget. Create a list of all your possible expenses for this coming school season – from clothing, food, school supplies, allowance, etc. Create a separate column for each category and calculate the total amount for each category. By making a list, you will have a clear idea as to how much you need. If your budget on hand is limited, you can make the necessary adjustments right away.
About the Author:
Samantha Wilson is a consultant for credit card for students. For years she has written student credit card application articles that would help build student credits.