With sales signs flashing everywhere, the temptation to spend is almost as great as at Christmas. Here are five ways to save as you head into the back-to-school shopping crazies.
1. Shop the sales Make your dollar go a lot further by gathering up the flyers and doing a little prep work. Involve the kids by giving them a budget for their school supplies and having them figure out how they’ll spend their money for pens, paper and all the other stuff they’ll need.
2. Do an inventory Make a list of what your child has and what he needs before you head out to the stores. If last year’s jacket still fits that’s one less expense.
3. Stick to your guns about what you can afford to spend Even if she HAS to have those jeans, you can say “No.” She won’t break. You could, of course, allow her to upgrade using her own money to make up the difference between what you’re prepared to spend and the brand she absolutely has to have.
4. Budget for extra-curricular expenses The extras such as sports equipment, music books and the like often get left off the list. You’ll likely have to come up with extra money during those first few weeks of school to cover all sorts of activities so don’t spend it all when you’re shopping.
5. Show your children your budget You want them to have realistic expectations before you head to the stores. Many parents hate to talk about money with their kids. And they’re dead set against disclosing the realities of their financial circumstances. Then they get ticked when their children don’t show sufficient appreciation for how hard they have had to work to provide those no-name jeans.
Well, if you don’t tell ‘em, how are they supposed to know? Being smart about money isn’t intuitive. It’s learned. And you are your children’s most influential teachers of both good habits and bad.
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