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As the end of summer approaches, many of my girlfriends with school-aged children are gearing up for the upcoming school year. Just thinking about all the things you have to buy like clothes, shoes, backpacks, school supplies and more can immediately send anyone into a panic… especially when your budget is already tight! So today, I want to provide you with some tips on how you can conquer back to school shopping (The Girlfriend’s, Budget Way!) without making your head hurt and your pockets scream. Let’s begin!
1. Determine a Budget for Yourself.
According to a blog post written by US News Money, parents are spending an average of $217 on clothes, $117 on shoes, $100 on school supplies, and around $197 on electronic purchases. Totaled up, that’s $631 out of your pocket before the school year even begins (and that’s just the average)! However, every family is different and it is important to think of a pre-determined amount you want to spend on back to school items before you even step foot into a store (I actually suggest having cash, and leaving the credit and debit cards at home as to not overspend). And please note, your budget for school shopping does not necessarily have to come from one check. Set aside $100 or $200 (more or less, depending on what your budget allows) from the next couple of paychecks until you have the total amount you need for shopping. Once you know exactly how much your budget will be… share it with the kiddos so they can join in on this budgeting fun. It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about money management, they should know those dollar bills don’t fall from the trees, hunty!
2. Check to See What You Already Have.
Just because it’s a new school year ladies, does not mean we have to buy everything new for the kids. Try doing an assessment of things you may already have. Are there any school supplies like pens, folders, or notebooks that may not have been used last year and could be used this year? If so, use what you got, girlfriend and just buy the necessities to add to it.
Additionally, do any of the pants, shoes, or shirts your kids wear still fit them for this school year? If so, keep the items that are still wearable and buy a few new pieces to mix and match. Keep in mind that Tax - Free Weekend in many states is right around the corner! Take a look at the details on Offer.com to check on your state's Tax-Free dates and find out what items apply. Another option is to try thrift shopping or consignment stores. Look… I was once bougie about thrift stores because I thought they all smelled like old moth balls (even though I had only been to a few), but thrifting is all the rage these days and the reality is… you can find some really awesome pieces in thrift stores for almost next to nothing (especially if you go on the right days). Just make sure there are no holes or tears in the clothes before you buy them, and when you get home…throw it in the washing machine. Voila! Just like new! If you’re having trouble hooking your kids up with some bomb outfits that don’t cost a pretty penny, hit up my fiancé’s blog Dee'Lightfully Styled for fashion tips and inspiration. She’ll even assess your kid's closet and if necessary… shop within your budget (shameless plug, but I’m just sayin’). Then with all the old clothes that don’t fit anymore, pay it forward and donate them to any local charity… there’s always someone less fortunate than you and you could definitely help someone else in need.
3. Only Buy the Necessities First And Budget for Other Items Later.
Now that you know what your initial budget is and have assessed what you do and don’t need, you can always keep a list (or mental note) of things you may want to get later after the school year has already started. In no way is it absolutely imperative that you buy everything before the 1st day of school (why put that pressure on yourself?). Just knowing that you took care of the important things should be enough to help ease your mind and calm your anxiety. Anything else can come later on… when you’ve had more time to budget and set aside money for those items. And usually, many stores have massive sales after school has started because they want to move old inventory to get ready for new stuff. That’s your time to swoop in and buy what you need at a fraction of the price... and don't forget to take your girlfriends!
Try these suggestions out and let me know how they work for you. Happy Shopping!
Until Next Time,