According to our research, back-to-school expenditures are second only to Christmas so the school shopping is a “biggie”. In addition to the tips below, be sure to read a recent article we were interviewed for – click here. Enjoy this time of year, keep your money relationship intact, teach your kids a thing or two and get your school year off to a great start
- Decide who will do the school shopping. Clear communication will prevent doubling up on items, or worse, spending more than you need to! Once you decide who will do the shopping, talk through what you expect to spend and make a list of items you need to prevent overbuying. This is particularly helpful if one of you is a Saver and the other is a Spender. The Saver needs to understand that yes, your child really does need a fresh box of crayons and not a bag of broken stubs from under the couch. And the Spender needs to understand that the 24-pack on sale for a quarter will work just as well as the 150-count tower of rainbow colors that costs 20 bucks.
- Involve your kids. The Money Couple is the first to admit that shopping for school supplies with the kids in tow can be less fun than a root canal. But getting the kids to help with the shopping can teach them some valuable lessons. When kids choose their supplies and clothes, they are likely to take better care of them. Shopping with you also teaches them how to spend wisely. Talk them through your decisions. Would it be better to buy a pack of six small erasers for two-dollars, or a pack of two large erasers for one dollar? Do they need new tennis shoes for the first day of school, or can their current pair get them through the first couple of months? Getting kids involved makes you think through your purchases more carefully – and that can only help your bottom line.
- Start early. You don’t have to wait until the last week in August to gather school supplies. Starting early gives you the advantage of spreading the expense out over a few months. And many retailers hold their first big back-to school sales in late July, giving early shoppers a little more bang for their buck.
- Talk about it. The Money Couple finds very few couples who ever talk about back-to-school spending. Usually, one person does the shopping and doesn’t think twice about it. But when that $600 jump shows up on the credit card bill, there’s bound to be an argument! So avoid the potential conflict this change in your monthly spending can bring and talk about it now, before a single pencil is purchased.
Here’s to a great school year! If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at info@TheMoneyCouple.com. And one more thing… keep your eyes open for our new “Kit” coming in January… it will be full of great things, including our new book. Stay tuned!
Make It Happen!
Scott and Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple
Money Huddle Tip: Take some time during your next Money Huddle to look over your list of school supplies and expenses. Talk together about what you could spend right now, what can wait a month or two, and how you can make up for this bump in your monthly spending.
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