School is Starting!! It comes every year and yet it often finds us and/or our August budget unprepared. I’d like to share some easy back-to-shopping hacks to help you stay within your budget and help you keep your sanity as well.
1. Do an Inventory Check of Supplies
Before you even begin school shopping, look around your house to see what you have. The pencils and crayons you picked up on sale last year will come in handy now. Taking inventory of what you already have will help save you and your family time at the store and money too!
2. Stick to the List & Budget
Budgeting can help you stick to your list. Having a budget is a key part to your financial health especially when you have periodic expenses like school supplies. Using a budgeting app can help streamline this for you. I like the Goodbudget app. It helps you create the “envelope budgeting system” digitally. The envelope systems focus on having an “envelope” for each monthly expense. For August, you can add an envelope for back-to-school expenses. Then you’ll be able to login all your back-to-school expenses. The app will automatically let you know what money you have left in your back-to-school envelope after the entries are made. There is a free version of the Goodbudget app or you can upgrade for unlimited envelopes.
3. Shop for Discounts
As a parent or educator shopping using discounts can be a game changer. Plan your shopping around deals to get the most for your money. This can include using discount apps from a specific store or a discount app, like Rakuten for current promo code offers and cash back. Also look for price cut days. Old Navy new mark-downs come out between Sunday and Monday so hit an Old Navy store on a Sunday night or Monday morning.
4. Shop Early
Getting to stores when they open can be a money and time-saver too! Not only is the selection better, there may be early-bird specials. Weekly back-to-school sales at most stores start Sunday mornings so shop on Sundays and Mondays. Shopping often can help spread the expenses over several months instead of a heavy impact one time. Another longer term strategy is to shop all year, just remember to check what you have before school starts.
For additional resources and recommendations, we also are available to help you plan out your budget to prepare for any expense. You can get started online now with our online Financial Expert, IRIS, and get a free financial review, including suggestions to reduce expenses and increase income.