It’s the back-to-school season which means back-to-school budgeting! The shopping season is in full swing from early July through late September. This season can be a teachable moment for back-to-school budgeting.
Back-to-school shopping can be hard on a budget. Especially with 54 million returning children, most families intend to complete their shopping in one month. Many caregivers worry about how they’ll be able to pay for everything on their child’s shopping list. These lists include school supplies, clothing, technology, and more.
On average, families will plan to spend between $510 to $849 on Back-to-school supplies, apparel, and technology. This average includes children in elementary school through high school—college students’ caregivers expect to pay a staggering $1,200.
It’s no surprise that this season is so expensive, stressful, and complicated for many families. Furthermore, worsening inflation has led to price surges in everything from gas to groceries. This means back-to-school costs will likely soar even higher this year.
Our inability to live within a specific budget has long-term ramifications. Many families will attempt to budget for these costs. However, some will miss out on this teaching moment for our children to learn about money and financial skills. As a result of missing these opportunities can have a lifelong ripple effect leading to a lack of economic foundation.
Breaking this cycle, teaching our children how to budget should start early – and a back-to-school budget is a good start. Studies have shown that many children react emotionally to spending money by age five. So next time, including them in back-to-school shopping is a great idea, even if it seems too soon.
A vital step toward leading a healthy and secure life comes from developing a sense of financial needs versus wants. Some studies say it takes approximately two months before a behavior becomes a habit. If your child learns the appropriate boundaries for spending, it could help them deal with money better in the future.
When creating a back-to-school budget with your child, it’s important to stress the importance of not making hasty decisions or acting impulsively. This is a common financial planning pitfall. Patience is often rewarding when it comes to personal finance.
Buy low and sell high, as the old saying goes. Patience can teach the child to wait for the right moment to spend versus save. Sometimes those who waited until later in the season to shop spent $100 less than early shoppers.
Back-to-school shopping allows caretakers to instill a lesson that can lead to excellent, long-term habits. Beginning to save young, distinguishing between wants and needs, and building solid budgeting abilities.
Before shopping, use this opportunity to help your child realize the importance of having a strategic approach to mastering their back-to-school budget. Back-to-school budgets give a fresh start to stay focused on an ultimate goal, even if the child does not prevail immediately. This season can be a teachable moment for back-to-school budgeting.