5 Back to School Budgeting Tips from CCCU

The upcoming school year will begin like no other and CCCU wants to help by providing helpful information for people’s finances. That’s why CCCU wants to give the top tips for back to school shopping. According to nonprofit Junior Achievement, last year 60% of parents said that it was challenging to afford back to school supplies. This shopping season we want to get you prepared with the top five tips to help your finances this shopping season.

1. Determine Your Budget

This is the most important step. First find out how much money you want to designate for school shopping. Make sure you are not taking money away from another household necessity, like a utility bill or grocery expense. Once you know how much you must work with, you can better determine which supply items to prioritize. Keep in mind many stores hold big fall sales after the initial school rush and before the holidays. Consider buying just a few key items now and spread the rest of the shopping over the year when bigger deals can be found.

2. Do Your Research

Before you go out shopping make sure you obtain the official school list for your child’s school. Set up a spreadsheet and make a comprehensive list for each child based on the school’s provided supply list. This guide can then be saved and used for future years as a guide.

3. Share Your Email or Follow Social Media Pages

By signing up to be on a company email list you will have access to sales, deals, and sometimes even coupons for needed school supply items. An alternative is to follow local stores on social media for those same notifications and deals.

4. Group Shopping

Do you have a group of friends who also have kids returning to school? If so, you can save money by shopping in bulk versus individual items. Take advantage of volume discounts and sales and share costs among other families.

5. Don’t Forget Used/Refurbished

When looking for big ticket items like a laptop, tablet, or computer don’t forget to look at secondhand websites like eBay or Craigslist. Even major retailors offer gently used items, so look to those areas for savings. * Don't rely too heavily on online shopping. While online shopping may save time and gas, you aren't always guaranteed the lowest prices. Plus, if something doesn't fit right or it's the wrong edition of a required schoolbook, returning can be a headache.

Planning for the Future

We know planning doesn’t always go as anticipated, and budgets can be hard to track. Use the tips you’ve learned to prepare for future school shopping. One way to help with following your budget is opening a separate checking account to track each purchase and stay within budget. Also, you can open a savings account and set up weekly transfers to start planning for the next school year. Once you know how much to anticipate you will spend, you can start putting aside money each week. For example, a $9 per week transfer could build up to $450 by next year school year.

CCCU continues to find ways to help our community reach their financial goals. For more information on ways to save for the future, contact us at 702-228-2228.