Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back To School Frugal Savings Strategies to Cut Down on Kids & Family Expenses This Fall


The 2013 Back-to-School Survey conducted by National Retail Federation (NRF) indicates U.S. families with school-age children will spend an average of about $635 this year. In fact, all tolled, that spending spree is second only to holiday shopping and this year back to school sales are expected to reach roughly $27 billion. With 8 in 10 Americans surveyed saying the economy will impact their shopping in some way, I think you'll find the advice in this post timely and helpful.

My kids in a family photo,
The back-to-school buying period continues to get longer, simultaneously with a continued rise in product costs every season. According to Nat Sillin, personal finance expert and head Visa's U.S. financial literacy program, parents can use back to school shopping as an opportunity to lay the foundation for helping children to develop sound money management habits early.

Back to School Budget Tips 

To get more bang for your buck
  • Make a comprehensive list for each child before you shop, using past years' expenses as a guide
  • Be transparent with your kids about the budgeting process, including how much money is available to spend
  • Get students involved in prioritizing expenses between the "must-haves" and "wants"
  • Provide children with an added inducement to save money, by agreeing you'll split the realized savings with them
  • Spread clothing and shoe purchases out over the year, so your kids don't outgrow everything at the same time
  • Pay atttention to hidden costs of online shopping such as shipping and return costs, which can potentially undo any net savings
  • Review the school dress code so you don't waste money on inappropriate clothing
  • Find out from teachers which supplies the school is providing and which ones you're expected to buy 
  • Get together with other families to take advantage of group discounts and purchase items in bulk at places like CostCo and Sam's Club
  • Rent or buy used sporting equipment or musical instruments until you're sure they'll stick with an activity
  • Before buying new clothing or accessories, look for "gently used" items in closets of your older kids, friends and neighbors, at garage sales and thrift stores 
  • Clip and use newspaper and online coupons, keeping in mind that stores often match competitors' prices on sale items
  • Check consolidation websites that post downloadable coupons and sale codes for online retailers like,,,, Retail Me Not and others
  • Use mobile shopping apps that make it possible to scan barcodes in-store to get make on-the-spot price comparisons and to download digital coupons
The bottom line is planning ahead will definitely save you money, time and aggravation. What's more, your child will be learning by example about budgeting, making smart buying decisions and handling money responsibly. 

About Visa's Financial Literacy Programs
Visa offers parents and students free access to an award-winning money management program called Practical Money Skills for Life This offering includes interactive resources, games and calculators, including a Back to School Budget Calculator, which gives students hands on experience for preparing and sticking to a budget.

FTC Disclosure: Information for this post is sourced from Visa and their financial literacy programs. However all opinions are my own. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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