If you’re like most parents in the States, you’re getting ready to celebrate. Why? Because the school year is just around the corner, which means your kids will be out of the house and back in the classroom once again.
Don’t pop the champagne just yet.
Gone are the days when you could send your kids to class with just a lunch and a backpack. As Trump’s budget cuts affect school boards across the States, parents are expected to supply more essential school materials than ever before. When the list includes graphing calculators, sport participation fees, and musical instrument rentals, the final cost may be higher than you realize. Let’s take a look at what the average parent can expect to pay, so you can help avoid these costs.
Parents can expect huge bills
How much you can expect to pay depends on what organization you believe. According to researchers at Today.com, parents will spend an average of $100 on school supplies for children in grades K–12. The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects the country to drop as much as $83.6 billion dollars on back-to-school shopping. Using the latest census data regarding the number of parents in the country, this lump sum amounts to roughly $688 per household.
Meanwhile, using the BackPack Index, the Huntington Bank estimates an even higher price tag for the country’s parents. It considers the average cost of typical items students in elementary, middle, and high schools need, along with various school, music, and sporting fees. At the lowest, those with children in elementary school may end up spending $662. If they’re in middle school, the price jumps to $1,001, and high schoolers come with a bill of $1,489.
It isn’t easy for parents
There’s a huge discrepancy between $100 and nearly $1,500, making it hard to budget for back-to-school shopping. Hopefully, you fall somewhere closer to the bottom of this spectrum than the top, but you can’t always rely on luck. Should your kids bring home a school supply list the length of your arm, would you know how you can cover these costs?
A budget can help find extra savings
Without a budget, you might not know how to cover a $100 graphing calculator and the $300 it costs to rent a musical instrument. Let’s not forget to mention the brand new clothes and shoes to make sure your kids are cool enough to walk the halls.
Before classes start, you have some homework of your own to complete. Sit down and review your finances, so you can make a household budget. Professionals recommend looking back at the past 3–12 months to give you a better understanding of how you spend your money. Once you can account for every dollar coming and going from your hands, you can start to see patterns in your spending that might prevent you from purchasing every supply your child needs.
Bad spending habits are different for every family, but theygenerally includecommon items or services bought out of convenience. Things like:
- Fast food because you don’t want to cook after a long day at work.
- Takeout coffee because you always forget to brew it at home.
- Even that new Switch game you bought your kids impedes your ability to cover necessary expenses at the start of the school year.
Once you cut out your bad spending habits, you can reroute this money towards savings that can help you get everything on their list.
Have several backup plans
Don’t panic if your savings are slow to grow despite your hard work. There are other ways to limit back-to-school shopping’s effects on your finances.
- Free programs:Charities like The Salvation Army and Kids in Need Foundation offer free school supplies when needed. Check in with your local chapter to see how you can qualifyfor their assistance.
- Shopping apps:There’s a huge variety of shopping apps that help boost the spending power of each dollar through deals and rebates.
- Cash advance loans:When you’re just short of covering these costs on your own, an option like MoneyKey can help make up the difference. They make it easy to get an online payday loan fast via their app, so you don’t have to waste any time during this busy season navigating complicated borrowing terms.
- Buy second hand:Depending on the item, you can buy them second hand without any issues. Learn how to use Craigslist to your full advantage to find the best deals. If you tick the option for free stuff, you may find individuals or even businesses offering free school supplies.
Sometimes it takes being a little crafty to make your household budget work. The fall is one of those times, as expensive back-to-school bills pose a challenge for most families. Unfortunately, the data suggests it’s only going to get worse as the cost of back-to-school shopping increases each year. Until the American school system improves and provides all the classroom supplies children need, parents like you are on the hook for the bill. When this price tag is too much for your budget to bear on its own, put a budget, shopping apps, and financial assistance to work. They may just be the solution to your classroom bills.