The back-to-school season is an exciting time filled with fresh beginnings, new opportunities, and the promise of knowledge. However, it can also trigger financial stress for many families as they gear up to purchase school supplies, clothing, and other essentials.
A recent survey showed parents are spending €1,152 per primary school child and €1,288 per secondary school child. Extra curricular activities came out as the top expense for primary school students costing €191, while school books were the largest expense for older students, totalling €187 on average.
Almost two thirds of parents said they are forced to deny their children extracurricular activities because they can’t afford them, with 37% forced to deny their children new shoes. The survey also shows that more than 2 in 5 (41%) say they get into debt covering back to school costs.
The Importance of Financial Planning for Back-to-School Budgeting
An effective Financial Plan helps in not just handling everyday costs but also in managing back-to-school expenses. This becomes evident when considering statistics like the one highlighted in the survey, where over 41% of respondents find themselves in debt while covering back-to-school costs. This statistic underscores the importance of having a well-thought-out financial plan in place.
Through effective financial planning, individuals can anticipate and budget for a variety of expenditures, such as education-related costs, and reduce the likelihood of falling into debt problems.
By setting a budget and sticking to it, families can avoid unnecessary stress and maintain their financial stability. A well planned budget takes into account all the potential expenses, enabling you to prioritise essentials and make wise decisions.
Budgeting Tips for Back-to-School
By following these budgeting tips, you’ll be better prepared to tackle the back-to-school season without straining your finances. Remember, planning ahead and making informed choices can make a significant difference in your financial well-being.
1. Early bird advantage
Begin your planning and shopping well in advance to avoid the last-minute rush and the pressure to overspend. By starting your back-to-school preparations early, you grant yourself the advantage of time. This allows you to carefully plan and research before making purchases. You’ll be free to shop around, compare prices, and take advantage of early bird sales or special offers.
2. Make a list of the things your children already have
Before embarking on your shopping trip, make a list of what your children already have. Consider whether they still need school supplies or whether their uniforms and shoes need replacing before making any purchases.
Backpacks, pencil cases, scissors, and rulers are a few examples of materials that may be reused year after year, so it’s not always necessary to purchase new items every back-to-school season. By taking inventory, you’ll identify gaps and avoid making duplicate purchases.
3. Create a Detailed List
Make a comprehensive list of all the items you need to purchase for the upcoming school year. Include everything from school supplies (notebooks, pens, pencils, etc.) to clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes, and electronics. Having a detailed list will help you avoid overspending on impulse purchases.
Consider the seasonality factor too. If you’re doing your back-to-school shopping during the summer, make sure your child also has sufficient warm clothing for the colder winter months. Many retailers will offer discounts on seasonal clothing during the off-season, making it a more budget-friendly option for shoppers. This approach will also help you avoid last-minute, rushed purchases in the midst of winter weather changes.
4. Understand Your Financial Situation
Before you dive into creating a budget, take a comprehensive look at your financial situation. Analyse your income, existing expenses, and any outstanding debts. Understanding your financial landscape will provide you with a clear picture of how much you can allocate to back-to-school expenses without straining your overall budget.
5. Set a Realistic Budget
Look closely at your finances and determine how much you can comfortably allocate for back-to-school expenses. Be realistic and consider other upcoming financial obligations. Setting a clear budget will prevent you from overspending and accumulating unnecessary debt.
6. Have a Budget Planner
When it comes to controlling your back-to-school spending, having a reliable budget planner is essential. Having a clear plan in place will help you stay on track financially when the back-to-school season gets underway.
We offer a free personal budget planner that can be incredibly helpful for individuals and families to manage their finances effectively. With the ability to create monthly budget plans, keep track on your earnings, outgoing costs, savings and investments, you can better manage your money and decide where to put your savings.
Our free budget planner is designed to streamline your budgeting process, enabling you to allocate funds for various school-related expenses such as school supplies, clothing, and extracurricular activities.
By utilising this tool, you can set spending limits, track your expenses, savings, and ensure that your back-to-school budget remains manageable and efficient. It’s the perfect resource to help you navigate the financial aspects of this busy time of year, ensuring both you and your children are well-prepared for a successful start to the new school term.
7. Comparison Shopping
Don’t rush into making purchases. Take the time to compare prices from different stores, both online and offline. Look for sales, discounts, and special offers. You can significantly reduce your costs by shopping around, especially for expensive purchases.
8. Plan for Future Expenses
The first week of classes is only the beginning of the back-to-school expenses. Throughout the year, there could be extra expenses for things like school trips, extracurricular activities, and holiday events. To avoid unexpected expenses, include these potential costs in your budget.
Remember, financial planning isn’t just about the present; it’s an investment in the life for yourself and your family.
Involve Your Children in Back-to-School Budgeting
Involving your children in back-to-school budgeting is a valuable way to impart financial literacy skills from an early age. By including them in discussions about budgeting for school supplies, clothes, and other expenses, you’re not only teaching them about responsible money management but also inspiring a sense of financial awareness.
This experience can help them develop a greater understanding of the value of money, the importance of making thoughtful spending choices, and the concept of prioritising needs over wants. Including your kids in budgeting can also help them feel more responsible and like they have a say in decisions that affect the family’s money. Through this exercise, they develop the abilities that will help them succeed in their future endeavours and provide the groundwork for lifelong financial responsibility.
We have an insightful blog post about teaching children financial responsibility and the value of cultivating saving habits. Read more by clicking here.
Get in touch with True Wealth
We are able to understand your unique financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance to create a tailored plan that aligns with your objectives. We can help you navigate complex financial matters, making the most of your investments, manage debt effectively, and plan for retirement or other significant life event.
Reach out to us and take advantage of our expert guidance.