With higher hydro bills and home insurance on the way, it’s not getting any easier or less expensive to raise a family. Thankfully cash-strapped parents are expected to get a boost this year in back to school spending. Cheques are arriving in mail for the new Canada Child Benefit (CCB), just in time for the start of the school year. Now that you have the money in hand, here are some tips to stretch your back to school spending dollars further.
- See What You Already Have
Have you ever been guilty of buying a head of lettuce from the supermarket only to get home and find one already rotting in the bottom of your fridge? Similar to grocery shopping, take the time to create a shopping list for back to school items. Not only will you save time by not shopping for something you already have, you’ll save money by not repurchasing it. Before you head to the mall, take an inventory of what you already have. Check for all the essentials: pens, pencils, paper, calculators and staplers, to name a few. Don’t just take junior’s word that he’s out of school supplies . Instead of spring cleaning, do “back to school” cleaning to find any school supplies he may have overlooked.
- Prioritize Spending
Your child’s idea of essential school supplies is probably different than yours, especially when he’s not paying. Does your son really need a new iPhone when the one you bought him last year is working perfectly fine? (On the topic of phones, an iPhone probably only distracts him from his school work.) To teach your child the value of a dollar, set a spending limit and ask her to come up with her own list of essentials. If your child values a new pair of jeans over a scientific calculator, it’s probably time to have a talk. Try to really focus on educational tools like books that will help her achieve straight A’s.
- Bargain Hunting
The best deals aren’t always found at the mall. You might be able to buy all the must-have school supplies without ever leaving the house. Before heading to the store, look online and on your smartphone for deals. Take the time to comparison shop. Saving five bucks here and there can add up to plenty of savings at the end of the day. Some stores price match, so take advantage. Usually, all you need is to display the flyer of a competitor and the retailer will match or sometimes even undercut its price on the spot. It doesn’t get any simpler than that!
- Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
If you’re shopping the day before Labour Day for back to school supplies, it’s probably too late. Start early to avoid the mad rush at the mall. All the good deals could be gone if you wait until the last minute. As soon as the ring bells on summer vacation, keep an eye out for school supplies on sale for your children. Whenever something is on sale, stock up.
Are you strapped for cash for back to school spending? Looking for help with your family budget? We have a team of experts who can help you with your budget. Feel free to contact our office today.