It’s back to school time, and other than the unmistakable hush descending upon the collective sense of fun in the world, back to school means spending money. Back-to-school clothes, supplies, computers, books, and fees – they all cost money that has already been spent on summer vacations. So, it makes all the sense in the world that back to school time should also mean back to money saving. Here are 5 back-to-school money saving tips.
Make a List and Check Your Budget Twice
It’s easy to go overboard with back-to-school shopping. Whether its clothes, supplies, or that great deal on a gaming console with the purchase of a laptop, everyone tends to justify a few extra purchases during back-to-school season. But, if you’re serious about saving money, this is an important time to make a list of your needs and stick to a budget. Use last year’s purchases as a buying barometer, and set up a simple budget. It’s a simple thing, but making a budget is a great way to resist the urge to buy unneeded back-to-school items.
Use a Credit Card Correctly
If you’re like a lot of people this time of year, and all that money saved up prior to summer has somehow vanished, credit cards are going to come in handy. There’s nothing wrong with making purchases on a credit card, as long as you’re smart about it and use them correctly. And, that means start by making small purchases. Again, just because you have access to credit and there are so many amazing deals on back-to-school stuff, doesn’t mean you should max out your card. Be disciplined with your purchases, and try to pay off your card in full as soon as possible to avoid having to make high interest payments. A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit balance at below 50% of your credit limit. And, when you’re at the 50% threshold, remove the temptation by putting the card away until you have the money to spend it down.
A few weeks before school starts (as in right about now), start looking at the Sunday circulars, or online at popular back-to-school stores. Deals will start popping up, and when you’ve got an idea for how much something should cost, and you see an opportunity to save money, it’s time to pounce. It’s always best to track deals away from the stores because there’s no better way to spend money than stopping into a store “just to look around.”
Save and Splurge
If you’re going back to school, you want to look good. If your kids are going back to school, you want them to look good. If this is what’s most important to you during the back-to-school season, make a deal with yourself to save money in a few areas, so you can splurge on clothes. The same rule applies for whatever you prioritize. As long as you stick within your budget, you can allocate the dollars in whichever way you see fit. Just be careful not to splurge in every area.
Open Up a Savings Account
One great way to save money is to open up a savings account, and be disciplined enough not to withdraw from it. Set aside a little money every month as a reserve. Before long, a little money, along with accruing interest, will start to add up.
Despite the ominous feelings of homework, school nights, and early mornings on the horizon – not to mention the stress of expenses – back to school time can be a great time of year. And, if you’re saving money in the process, all the better for you. Study hard, save smart, and enjoy the school year!
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