Back-To-School Budgeting with The Budget Mom’s Kumiko Love
Back-to-school shopping can be one of the highest expenses we face all year. As fall approaches, we can easily find ourselves unprepared for the upcoming school year given the amount of money needed to provide the necessary supplies for our children and their classrooms.
Many of us lose track of time or go into back-to-school shopping without a proper plan, which can in return, lead to overspending. According to one of our favorite clients, The Budget Mom, “Most of us are spending – are you ready for this? – Nearly $700 per child! This is just for basic back-to-school items. If you include fees, equipment, and uniforms for extracurricular activities, that number skyrockets into the thousands.” Additionally, with COVID-19 cases remaining steady in many regions around the country, some schools have made the tough decision to move forward with remote learning, which introduces a completely separate set of challenges, and expenses.
We understand this upcoming school year has already been full of seemingly impossible decisions, and more than a fair share of uncertainty. However, no matter the decisions you’ve made, Kumiko provides wonderful insight, as well as resources to ensure the financial aspect of this year doesn’t have to feel the same way and allows you the opportunity to prepare for what is to come. Whether you are participating in online learning or in-person schooling, Kumiko has tips and tricks specifically for you.
The Budget Mom states the keys to securing school supplies are:
- Save ahead of time
- Kumiko suggests using a sinking fund, which is designed to save for a specific goal, to prepare for these expenses.
- Start with a list
- Creating (and sticking to) a list helps to simplify the whole process by creating a plan to get ONLY what is on the list.
- Sweep your home for what you already have
- Do a sweep for both supplies, as well as food. You’ll be surprised at what you can find.
- Swap with family, friends, and neighbors
- Kumiko states that a neighborhood/family back to school swap is one of the most brilliant ideas, as it allows you to trade out items or supplies that may not work for you and your children anymore. You can read about the variety of ways you can set this event up here.
- Search for the best deals
- Do your research! Check flyers, ads, online sales, etc. Kumiko shares “merely knowing where and when to buy your back-to-school items can save you big money.”
- Sales Tax Holidays
- This holiday can be just as crazy as Black Friday, however, it is worth it. Kumiko shares that especially if you are shopping for big-ticket items and don’t live in a state with this holiday, it may be worth the drive to take advantage of the sales.
- Shop with intention
- Make a list, and stick to it. Be sure to cross off things you may find around the house, or pick up at a swap event. Kumiko shares to take into account sales, and the best days to shop to ensure you are shopping with intention.
- Take advantage of money-saving apps
- Kumiko shares that she uses apps like Ibotta, which allows her to earn cashback on supplies she was already planning on purchasing.
- Do Your Research
- Do your homework and go into this with a plan. Kumiko encourages you to talk with other local homeschooling parents, as they can share their insight, and expertise with you. Once you have a better idea of what this will look like for you and your family, make a list of supplies you will need.
- Use as Many Free Resources as Possible
- Kumiko suggests looking into Khan Academy, as they provide a variety of free resources that your children can take advantage of. Additionally, she recommends Starfall, which helps to encourage your children to read.
- Watch Your Supply Budget
- By now, you should have created your budget for supplies. Similar to in-person learning supplies, you will need to do your research for the best days to shop, as well as any sales to take advantage of.
- Save on Your Curriculum
- Kumiko shares that buying the right curriculum for your child can be overwhelming. She suggests taking your time in picking out what will work best for your family, asking for insight from other homeschool parents, and once you’ve made a decision – stick to it.
- Look for Free Extra-Curricular Activities
- Transitioning from in-person learning to online can be difficult, especially when it comes to losing out on field trips, or recess with friends. Kumiko suggests re-creating these experiences by doing things like an online virtual tour of the White House, or the International Space Station.
- See if Your State Offers a Tax Credit
- Check out the link above to see if your state offers a tax credit.
- Partner With Other Parents
- Kumiko shares that you can cut down on costs by partnering with other parents, or joining a homeschool co-op. Additionally, she shares that this allows children to still have social interaction.
- 7 Ways to Homeschool on a Budget
- Money Saving Tips for Back-to-School
- Sinking Fund
- Ibotta App
- Khan Academy