Beating back to school costs


If you’ve left your back-to-school purchases to the last minute, don’t panic. Here are our top five tips for budgeting when it comes to back-to-school. Even if you have already purchased most of your children’s supplies for the year, there will be PTO fundraisers, school trips, reading clubs, and book fairs to think of and pay for.

1. Establish what is needed, then take an inventory of items you already have in your home.

Do you have school supplies leftover from a previous year or child? Can your kids use last year’s backpacks? Go through your children’s closet. Can you get through the rest of the season without purchasing new clothes?

As your children participate in school sports, school band, or join the drama club, can you purchase secondhand, on Facebook Marketplace or secondhand sports stores?

Top tip: purchase clothes for next year at the end of this season on clearance. 

2. When you have a shopping list for school supplies, clothes, sports gear, PTO fundraisers, etc., establish a budget and stick to it. When creating your budget, overestimate costs. You will have some wriggle room. Once you have a budget, stick to it.

3. Do you have family or friends with children of a similar age? Or older? Do they have school supplies, backpacks, clothes, sports gear, etc. that you can have, borrow, or purchase at a much lower cost?

4. Are you worried about the cost of school fundraisers? Can you offer your time, knowledge, or skills in place of financial contributions? Join the PTO and volunteer at the annual trivia night or book fair.

Can you save money elsewhere? Are scholarship funds or grants available for school, extracurricular activities, or camps your children attend? 

5. Do you have the capacity to start a side hustle? Are you creative? Can you bake, or can you offer to tutor? An additional $100 here and there will help with the cost of school supplies, new clothes, shoes, sneakers, sports gear, musical instruments, and supporting fundraisers. 

If you have questions about opening a personal savings account or business account at Warren-Boynton, visit one of our branches in New Berlin, Springfield, Modesto, or Palmyra.