Southern Mom Loves: How to Budget for Back to School Shopping

How to Budget for Back to School Shopping

Monday, July 18, 2016

August and September can be some of the most expensive months for parents. Back to school shopping can include uniforms and clothing, shoes, school supplies, backpacks, home items like ziplock bags, tissues, and hand sanitizer, and even expensive electronics, and buying it all at once for multiple children can put a strain on finances. Regardless, your child has to have these supplies when starting a new school year. The good news is there are some great ways to budget for back to school shopping!

How to Budget for Back to School Shopping

1. Make a List

First things first. You want to make a list of the supplies your child will need. In many areas, you can find a list in your local stores that sell school supplies, based on the grade and school your child attends. When you have a list, you're more able to ascertain which items your child needs rather than wasting money on things that won't get used. 

2. See What You Have on Hand

After you have a list in hand, go through any supplies you have left over from last year. Check off anything you have enough of to last another year. Back to school season is the best time of the year to buy supplies so if you only have a couple notebooks on hand, you'll want to buy more to get your child through the school year.

3. Estimate the Cost

Once you have a list of what you need to shop for, estimate how much each item will cost. It helps to overestimate so that you create a buffer in your budget. For example, if you know that Walmart will have notebooks for $0.20 each, write down that ten notebooks will cost $4, even though the price would be $2. It's always better to overestimate than not have enough money set aside.

4. Set Aside Money Each Week

Once you know how much everything will cost, you can start setting aside money each week. This is much easier than trying to pay for everything out of one paycheck. If you find that you're having trouble finding the money to set aside each week, you may need to cut expenses for a while.

5. Cut Expenses

Last, but not least, if you have trouble finding the extra money to set aside, cut unneeded expenses. For example, you can choose a smaller satellite package or switch cell phone providers. You could also do something as simple as cutting back on the junk food you buy each week. 

I hope this guide helps you avoid the back to school pinch this season!


Have you started your back to school shopping yet? How many children are your shopping for this school year? I love to read your comments!

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