The new school year is just around the corner. Are you financially prepared? Here are some Mindful finance tips to help with back-to-school shopping. These extra expenses can cause a lot of stress in the beginning of the new school year. For many families, it is an overwhelming season of confusion, depression, and anxiety. American families are truly overwhelmed with concerns about money and time.
In the United States, billions of dollars are being spent on back-to-school items. In fact, according to the National Retail Foundation, consumers will spend $68 billion on back-to-school supplies this year. This money is spent on apparel, backpacks, books, paper pencils, and other supplies for students ranging from kindergarteners to college scholars. The average household will spend $630.36 on back-to-school supplies for their kids or $899.18 if their kids are in college.
When money is tight, consider these five Mindful tips for back to school shopping:
- Develop a plan…and stick to it! Create a plan and establish a budget. Have each child make a list of what they will need for each of the following categories: school supplies, clothes, sports, and after school activities. This also shows each child and the entire family the large amount of money it takes to run a household. Your kids need (and want) structure—a plan reduces confusion and stress by keeping everyone on the same page.
- One-on-one meetings. Schedule individual meetings with each child to talk about paring down their budget. Show them how they can raise money for the items they want, but don’t need, like yet another pair of sneakers. Maybe they can get a part time job, mow lawns, or get a babysitting gig. Talking to each child alone gives them respect and power as they assess their own needs with your support and guidance. You are also teaching them about budgeting and the cost of their lifestyle.
- Save, save, save. Hit sales to cut down on expenses—both online and in-store. If your state offers tax free shopping days, take advantage of them!
- Coupons. There are many coupons for great discounts at wonderful stores. There are also websites and apps, like Groupon, that offer incredible discount coupons.
- Regular budget meetings. Have weekly family meetings to keep the family on the same page emotionally and have a monthly family budget meeting. After your meeting, go for pizza or burgers to celebrate your great family and the power of everyone working together for the same goal.