Guest blog by Arvest Bank
It’s August and that can only mean one thing- back-to-school shopping! The task can seem overwhelming and is retail’s second biggest spending event of the year. According to the Back-to-School survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average $684.79 per child in 2018 (1) to get ready for the school year.
Here are a few tips on how to approach back-to-school shopping while saving money and ways to teach your children valuable financial lessons as you go!
- Make a list and plan it out.
Start with giving yourself a budget, and utilize online resources available through many banks including www.Arvestmoneyskills.com. Determine your child’s back-to-school needs based on school supplies and clothing and make a checklist using your child’s school supplies list provided by their school or teachers. Then go through their closet to determine what new clothing needs they may have.
- Look at your old bank and credit card statements.
Last year’s bank and credit card statements will be a good indicator of what you should be spending money on and will help your remember what you recently purchased that did or did not work well for your child.
- Benefits of cash back or rewards points.
If you know you’ll be spending a lot on back-to-school items, consider making your purchase on a card where you get some percentage cash back or rewards points. Take a moment to talk to your bank about programs they offer and find out what will work best for you.
- Take advantage of summer sales.
Towards the end of summer, many stores begin to mark down back-to-school and summer items in preparation for new holiday merchandise. This is a great way to find deals on everything from backpacks and lunch boxes to pants and shirts. Try to focus on clothing items that can be worn and layered year-round.
- Shop online.
It’s easy to compare prices, avoid impulse buys and it can be a big time saver. Before checking out online, check for online coupons on the store’s website or sign up for their email list for a coupon!
Children learn money management at home – and it’s best to teach good financial practices at an early age. Back to school shopping is a great opportunity for a few financial lessons no matter what age your children are.
A few of the basics to begin with are:
- Identify “wants” vs. “needs.”
This is the basic challenge for so many children. Take the time to identify which supplies are necessities and which things they can go without.
- Save, then spend.
Saving for a purchase first helps children understand the value of their item. Taking one of their “wants” they identified and setting a savings goal for it is a great lesson for younger children.
- Value working for money.
Babysitting, mowing lawns, etc. Money doesn’t come easily and when you earn it, rather than being handed it – you think more carefully about how you spend. Help your children identify ways they can earn money in order to save for that “want” they have!