How To Budget For School Expenses: 4 Steps To Get You Started

by Lauren Beichner

Marketing Specialist


The start of a new school year always means shopping for new school supplies. Whether the teacher hands out a list of necessary back-to-school materials, or if your child needs new school clothes, you'll have to make at least one trip to the store for supplies.

From calculators to pencils and paper, families with children plan to spend an average of $789.491 on back-to-school items. That number may catch you by surprise, however, the good news is you can shop strategically and do it without breaking the bank. Here's what you need to know in order to back-to-school shop while keeping your finances in check. 

Families plan to spend an average of $789.49 per year on school expenses.

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1. Plan Ahead 

Figure out what exactly your child needs for the upcoming school year. You can start by asking the teacher for the class back-to-school shopping list. From there you can decide what is truly needed and what is not. This will help you to prevent from overspending on things that are not necessary. 

2. Create A Budget 

Once you know what you need to buy, it's time to create a budget. Developing a financial plan is the most critical part to saving money on back-to-school shopping. Your budget will help you stay on track for what you really need and help prevent you from getting carried away when you are at the store. Ask your child what is under there "must haves" and what is under their "want" list and from there you can come up with a financial strategy to accommodate for both in the budget. 

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3. Use Coupons and Savings Deals 

Start by determining which stores you will most likely be doing your child's back-to-school shopping at. Once you have identified those stores, consider signing up for their email newsletters. Many stores send out promotional codes and coupons in their emails. Additonally, they'll often include what is on sale. This way, you'll always be aware of good deals and you can capitalize on a savings opportunity if you see one. 

4. Shop Without Your Kids 

Consider going back-to-school shopping without your child. When you bring your child along, they'll often ask to buy things they don't even need and you'll end up spending way more than you planned for. Kids often insist on getting themed pencils and notepads, but if you shop on your own you'll be able to buy the generic and cheaper version of things. Instead, ask your child what they need and you can go out and find a more cost effective version of that. You'll find that shopping on your own without the distraction of your child will help you stick to your budget and save a lot more money. 

Last But Not Least 

Back-to-school shopping can be overwhelming, but, if you have a plan in place you'll be able to do it without breaking the bank. Just like with any other financial choices, it's always best to have a strategy in place. These four tips are a great place to start to ensure that you are on the right financial track to get your child ready for the new school year. 

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