Back to school means brace for financial impact: 85% of people say inflation and rising consumer costs are going to impact their back-to-school shopping plans, according to a new CNET Money survey. Losing sleep about financing the purchase of necessities for your child because you’re already struggling to keep up with debt payments? Perhaps you qualify for a balance transfer credit card with poor credit and can reduce the burden of interest payments. Maybe you got denied for a new balance transfer and don’t know how you’re going to shop without taking on more credit card debt. Here are some tips to make the season a little bit more financially manageable.
1. Create a Budget
Start by setting a clear budget for back-to-school expenses. List all the necessary items and prioritize them based on urgency and importance. Stick to this budget religiously to avoid overspending.
2. Shop Sales and Discounts
Look out for sales, discounts, and deals on school supplies, clothing, and other essentials. Utilize coupons and compare prices online to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.
3. Prioritize Needs over Wants
It’s essential to distinguish between what your children genuinely need for school and what might be considered “wants.” Focus on fulfilling the needs first to keep costs in check.
4. Reuse and Recycle
Check if there are items from the previous school year that can be reused. Backpacks, lunchboxes, and certain clothing items can often last for another year, reducing your expenses.
5. Limit Extracurricular Spending
While extracurricular activities are valuable, they can add up. Consider prioritizing one or two activities that your child is most passionate about and explore affordable options for the rest.
6. Involve Your Children
Teach your children about budgeting and involve them in the process. This can be a valuable life lesson, and they might even be more mindful of spending when they understand the family’s financial situation.
7. Pay with Cash
Leave your credit cards at home when shopping for back-to-school items. Paying with cash can prevent impulse purchases and help you stay within your budget.
8. Avoid High-Interest Credit Cards
If you must use a credit card for back-to-school expenses, try to use one with a lower interest rate or promotional 0% APR. Avoid adding more debt to high-interest credit cards.
9. Explore Second-Hand Options
Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces can be great sources for affordable, gently-used school clothing and supplies.
10. Communicate Openly
Talk to your children about the family’s financial situation. Emphasize the importance of making wise spending choices and how it contributes to the overall well-being of the family.
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up. Millions of Americans are in the same situation as you are and you are doing your best as a parent. Keep tackling your credit card debt to the best of your ability, embracing personal finance strategies, and taking things one day at a time.
Name: Carolina d’Arbelles-Valle
Job Title: Senior Digital PR Specialist