Depending on the length of the list and how many students for which you shop, back-to-school can be a stressful time for parents and a potential hardship on your budget!
By KELLY SCHMIDT
ND State Treasurer
Depending on the length of the list and how many students for which you shop, back-to-school can be a stressful time for parents and a potential hardship on your budget! It seems our summers get shorter. Didn’t we just finish cleaning out the book bags, and now the store aisles are filling up with school supplies? That time is near, so let’s pause and look at some shopping tips.
• Before You Leave the House
Communicate with your kids and let them be part of the budget process; what items will and will not be included. Keep in mind supplies with TV and movie characters will cost more. This may mean saying “no” or setting a limit to some of the latest fashion trends, whatever helps you remain within your budget. Take inventory of what supplies you have left over from last year. You may be surprised at how many office supplies you have around the house. You can already cross a few items off the list!
Do some comparison shopping. Did you know there are apps available to facilitate just that? Check online for deals as well, and you may also score free shipping.
Not all clothing has to be purchased in August. Go through the closets to see what fits and what can be tossed or donated (a charitable tax deduction). Decide what clothes are needed now and what items can be purchased at a later time if that helps keep your budget on track.
• While Shopping
Watch for “Buy One, Get One” sales and stock up on items you know will need replenished later in the year.
Shop during the end of summer sales and purchase items that can be worn all year.
Save your receipts, and pay attention to any mail-in rebates you may be able to claim.
Don’t be fooled in to buying items in bulk just for the sake of a good deal. It’s no longer a good deal if you won’t be using all the items. Or find another parent to split costs of those items and share the bulk purchases.
Remember what you said at the beginning of the shopping trip, “This is my budget, and I’m sticking to it.” This will also be an opportunity to teach some basic financial literacy concepts to your kids!
To learn more visit our website at www.nd.gov/treasurer to find financial literacy resources and detailed fiscal information regarding our State. We are on social media! Be sure and like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for current information relating to your dollars and our office.