I promise I am NOT a fun snatcher. With that being said, please be aware of where we are in regards to school starting in your area. This does not mean you cannot enjoy the rest of your summer, but only the kids can be oblivious to the preparations of getting ready for the upcoming school term.
I know of some families that plan months and months in advanced for a family vacation. These vacations are the types most can only dream about or read in a travel magazine. Sadly, these same parents are the ones that go into a huge panic and set up go fund me’s when its time to get the kids ready for school. I don’t mean to shame anyone, we are all parents trying our absolute best with the resources that we have. I can understand honestly that a family could be at their breaking point and a vacation is an absolute must to improve the family unit. At the same time, the kids do have to go back to school. How can you prepare so that you are not caught off guard? My September starting homemakers are at a huge advantage with plenty time to save up, but sadly, the clock is ticking very loudly for my August starting homemakers.
So, what do you need to do to not get blindsided by the upcoming expenses? Well, I am hoping you have already followed my advice and have sorted through the kids things. You must see what you have to figure out what needs to be purchased. This also includes checking your supply closet or wherever you stash excess school supplies. Make a list of items that are within reason for you to purchase. For instance, if you have four kids, you may not want to make a list of two months worth of clothing for each kid, well at least for the initial shopping trip. I have a love/hate relationship with getting kids enough school clothes to start off with and slowly adding more to the wardrobe later. It’s like gosh, when does the school clothes shopping ever end??? Unfortunately you must make a choice. And for planning purposes, you must make that choice now.
I have issue with slowly building the wardrobe up throughout the year because it seems that some unexpected expense always comes up! Let’s say you start your kids off with three to five new outfits and plan to add one to two more in the next two weeks. Out of nowhere, your car’s transmission goes out, or maybe the last summer electricity bill is higher than expected… there seems to always be an expense that comes up! I do know unforeseen expenses aren’t always a big deal for some families. Some have access to credit cards or a savings just for situations as these. I will be realistic, there are a lot of families that do not have access to these resources. Savings or not, never put your family in an awful financial situation just to make sure the kids are looking their absolute best for school. There are times when there is no choice but to add to the wardrobe slowly. There is no shame in that. The kids may fuss because they did not get all the new clothes they wanted, but I’m sure they appreciate food and lights being on in the home! Actually, the kids seeing that you prioritize will teach them an invaluable life lesson you- cant always get what you want, pay for what you need first.
So, let’s talk about planning our finances. How much can you realistically set back for back to school shopping? Will you use will power to not touch the money saved? Or will you need to purchase gift cards to use once it’s time to shop? Review your list weekly as far as what needs to be purchased for the kids. What can be knocked out now? Depending on how fast your kids grow, I would wait a tad bit longer to purchase clothes unless you can buy a larger size for them to grow into (if the next size up isn’t too big). Some things like socks, undies, belts, etc can be purchased now. Don’t forget about other things that are good to stock up on to save time and money during the school year. These items are extra toothbrushes and tooth paste, acne and other skin care items for your tweens and teens, extra feminine products, soaps and body washes… you get where I’m coming from, right? When money gets tight, it can be tough adding these necessities to the grocery list increasing the bill. Why not take an extra $20 for the next two to three weeks just for these types of items. Don’t forget, once the school year starts, you are going to have to come up with extra lunch money, money for field trips, money to hang out with friends… It’s best to keep the grocery expenses down as much as possible. Even if money is not too much of an issue for your family, make sure you have extra stock. Can you imagine everyone waking up late and one of your kids drops their only toothbrush in the toilet??? I would also take advantage of those insanely inexpensive supply deals. This early, I would only purchase the necessities, unless your school has provided a list already. Beware of pre-packaged supplies. Those are usually more expensive than purchasing the supplies individually.
Now that you are slowly building a nice stockpile of various personal items your family will need, start planning for clothes and shoes. As I said before, don’t go overboard and be realistic with the budget. Make sure you’re checking out who is having the best sales. If your kids wear uniforms, make sure you check around to get the best deal possible. There are many retail stores that are going out of business, may as well check them out and see what they have for deals. A lot of department stores offer discounts for signing up for their sales. That’s a win-win, you get notified of the sales, plus you have a discount! I love looking for the BOGO sales. Having four kids, those BOGO sales are a life saver.
I felt this was one of my most important articles right now. Sometimes we get caught up with the carefree fun that summer break brings. It is easy to spend like there is no tomorrow- or should I say, spending like school will not be starting in the next month or two. There are going to be times when you cannot do certain things that cost money, and there will be times when you can. Use discretion and don’t get blindsided by the upcoming school year starting. No matter your family’s budget, you can get what your kids need, but you must plan for it.