Master Your Money

Back-to-School Budgeting

July 28, 2021


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It’s that time of year again. Whether your student follows a traditional or year-round school schedule, school is on the mind of parents – and with it comes a long list of essentials your kids will need to succeed this school year.

But, beyond the normal checklist your school provides, budget-focused families know there are many more expenses to account for through the school year. If your little one is off to school for the first time, or you want to get a better handle on your in-school budget this year, consider the list below:

Clothes & Shoes. Even though you’ve done your back-to-school clothes shopping, kids can grow like weeds. Plan money in your budget for new clothes throughout the school year as they outgrow, destroy, or misplace their clothes and shoes.

Lunch & Snacks. Whether you pack their lunch, or they buy it from school, delicious and nutritious lunches and snacks will eat at a large piece of your budget. Don’t forget to account for after-school snacks and those days when they deserve an extra treat!

The Extracurriculars. If you plan to keep your children active this school year, plan on the costs associated with their schedules. From athletes to musicians, be ready to spend money on uniforms, games, competitions, club fees, etc. – not to mention the gas money needed to taxi them around!

School Events. Your child’s school may host seasonal events and activities throughout the year. Things like school dances, field trips, book fairs, picture day, and graduations, all come with expenses. Include room in your budget for special outfits, admission, memorabilia, and the like.

Health & Wellness. Let’s face it, school can be a cesspool of germs, especially during cold and flu season. Factor in money for the unexpected illnesses that pop up through the year, along with any preventative appointments and supplements, normal prescriptions, and over-the-counter medicines your child may need.

Supporting the School. Although it’s arguably one of the most important roles in our society, teaching can sometimes be a thankless job. Some parents choose to budget money each year for teacher/administrator gifts. You may also want to consider budgeting for school donations or other fundraisers in support of your school and its initiatives.

Supporting your Child. Finally, be sure to consider that your child could struggle with a subject or two throughout the year. It may be advantageous to budget for tutors or supplementary courses and guides to better position your child for success. Older college-bound students may also accrue expenses for college prep tests and applications.

Getting your kids through another school year is not cheap – but, remember that it’s an investment towards their future. Plan now for them to succeed later.

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