Back to School or Not, It’s Time to Budget


August is here. For parents, this is usually the time of year spent getting their children back to a school-friendly bedtime routine and combing store aisles for school supplies. 

In 2020, there are bigger questions to think about – including whether to send kids back to school at all. But no matter what back-to-school season has in store for your household, a budget can help put some of your worries to rest. 

It’s also an opportunity to pass on valuable financial lessons. Here are three worth sharing:

  1. Budget before you buy. Use the time prepping for the start of school to acquaint your children with the fundamentals of budgeting. Although they may not appreciate the value of mortgage payments, college savings or utility bills, even youngsters can understand the difference between needs (a $5 notebook) and wants (a $12 SpongeBob notebook).
    To demonstrate the bigger picture, use a visual – like a pie chart or a stack of quarters. Then explain how you allocate income among necessities (like rent, utilities, groceries or insurance), savings (for college or retirement), and everyday spending. Go through the items on your shopping list and work together to set a spending limit. 
  2. Shop your closets – or secondhand. Most school supplies have a shelf life of more than one year. Go back through last year’s colored pencils, erasers, clothes, backpacks and so on. Could you refresh that backpack with a quick wash? Sharpen those pencils? Set aside those shoes for a younger sibling to grow into? Expensive items, like scientific calculators, clothes, shoes and office furniture, can cost much less at thrift stores
    The adage “a penny saved is a penny earned” is a good way to introduce the concept of saving and sticking to your budget. Let’s say your daughter really wants a new set of colored pencils, but also wants a purple backpack that costs $15. Explain that sharpening the pencils you already have would save about a dollar – then, after she sharpens the pencils, give her a dollar to put in a piggy bank to save for something else she may want later.
  3. Shop strategically. After several months of empty aisles, retailers will want to lure you back into the shopping spirit with deals on back-to-school “necessities.” But you may not need to buy everything at once. Research prices in advance, carry a list and set a strict dollar limit that you won’t exceed in the store. If you plan to do your shopping online, consider mastering digital couponing for extra savings.

As you shop, check in with your budget regularly. You can do that by sitting down with a pen, paper and a bank statement – or you can use a mobile banking app like Axiom to track your balance in real time. 

Budgeting takes planning, focus and discipline. But the reward is financial security and confidence, no matter what the future brings – and that’s something worth passing on to your kids. 

Axiom Bank, N.A., a nationally chartered community bank headquartered in Central Florida, provides retail banking services, including checking, savings, money market and CD accounts, as well as commercial banking, treasury management services and commercial loans for both real estate and business purposes.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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11 months ago

These are great ideas. We love going thrifting for back to school finds. We’re a family that loves fashion, and you can make some great creative looks with things you find at thrift stores.

the joyous living
11 months ago

good suggestion to buy secondhand clothes. i love that idea. it reminds me of the private school my friend’s kids go to. All the rich kids wear the second hand uniforms and the scholarship kids wear fresh new uniforms.

11 months ago

I can’t believe I just learned about reusing supplies this year. I will be honest, with an only child I had never really thought about it and just bought new supplies. But since we’re doing digital learning, she had no supply list. We’ve been using up leftover pencils and notebooks from last year and it’s saving so much money! Great tips!

Marie Phillips
11 months ago

Yes to all of these! We have gotten very adept at doing these things from year to year. It has worked well for us! And there is still a good amount of fresh new things to make them feel like it is a great new start.

Lucy Clarke
11 months ago

Definitely agree to this! Particularly going through the school supplies from the previous academic year. Helps lessen environmental waste too!

11 months ago

These are the great ideas for budgeting and it helps especially for parents who preparing for opening school this month and I’m highly recommend to hop your closets or using secondhand stuffs. Awesome post!

Autumn Murray
10 months ago

I am always looking for ways to budget and save money. I didn’t know about a few of these ideas but will now include them in my overall budgeting process. Thanks for the tips!

khoingn | The Broad Life
10 months ago

Thanks a lot for the tips! It’s great to know.
I always think of budgeting on many things. But if it’s something that the kid’s deserving I would be easier.

10 months ago

Great tips! My kids are growing up so fast so they need new school uniforms at least 2-3 times a year. Shopping second hand is a great tip to budget.

Tami Schall
10 months ago

When it comes time for school, you really have to save money. If you really don’t have enough money, then you have to write an essay yourself and not BuyPaperCheap net buy cheap essays

6 months ago

Great ideas. Budgeting, planning, focus and discipline are very important for the modern family. You can also save money by ordering an essay from the best writing service.