BUDGET HACK #1:
Do some “Summer Cleaning” and sort through all the clothes, books and previous year’s school supplies. Any clothing that no longer fits your child can be passed down to their sibling or donated to charity, (Diabetes Canada https://declutter.diabetes.ca helps you declutter your home by offering free pick-up of your gently used items and you also get to feel good about helping support a good cause). Books can also be donated to charity or the class and/or school library of your child(ren). Finding clothes that can be worn during the upcoming school year will bring a smile to your face because this means that your shopping list has been reduced; hence, saving you money.
Also, don’t throw away the jeans/pants that don’t have any holes but are a bit worn out. Wait about 1 month to start cycling them in to your child’s outfits, because usually their peers will wear their new attire to school for the first few weeks until you start seeing the same articles of clothing again. Plus, if you have children who like to play sports, their new jeans/pants will definitely be worn out right away, so you may want to introduce most of their new jeans to complete their outfits during the colder months, especially Winter, when they will have snow pants to protect them from wear-and-tear.
Following this Budget Hack will leave your home feeling lighter, looking more clean and you will enjoy the ease of packing away your child’s new wardrobe.
BUDGET HACK #2:
Create a list and stick with it! This is a terrific way to ensure that you stay within your budget and don’t spend money on unnecessary things that will not be used and/or worn. Following Budget Hack #1 will be of great help to ensure that you don’t overestimate the things your child(ren) will need for school, and you will be able to be more precise in estimating the costs associated with the items you need to purchase. For example: After “Summer Cleaning” your child has 4 pairs of jeans, 6 sweaters, 5 t-shirts and a pair of outdoor shoes. Now you can form a more precise Back-to-School Shopping List of: 6 pairs of jeans ($9.99 or less/pair at Old Navy, GAP and OshKosh B’gosh), 4 sweaters, 5 t-shirts, 5 long-sleeved shirts and a pair of indoor shoes. Doing so will help you more accurately estimate the total amount that you will spend on clothing; and in this case as an example, the total amount for your child’s Clothing Budget will be $280. Don’t forget to include the tax! Your child’s School Supplies Budget is where you can find a bit more comfort because I find that these items are not too expensive, if bought on sale, and Apps like Flipp, are very useful to identify your optimum time to purchase supplies at the lowest prices. Usually, a budget of $75 (including tax) is more than enough and will include items such as; backpacks, lunch bags, pencil case, notebooks, pencils, thermos, containers, markers, etc. If your child(ren) attends a school that provides the smaller items for them (pencils, notebooks, pencil crayons, etc.), then you save even more! Therefore; using this example, the total amount that you will need to budget for Back-to-School Shopping is: $355 (which includes tax). Don’t forget that this Budget should be enforced firmly in order to avoid spending more money than your making and to avoid using credit.
Also, challenge yourself to come in under your Budget – and this is not too difficult once you become accustomed to Budgeting because many stores offer even more discounts to online shoppers (but beware, as this can be a ploy to get consumers to spend more on items they don’t really need once they realize how much they can save with the added discounts that are offered). This is why making a Budget and most importantly, sticking to it, is very important.
BUDGET HACK #3:
Sign Up/ Subscribe to stores you shop at because oftentimes they offer an added incentive to be used towards your purchase and sometimes more if you shop online. For example, currently when you sign up to receive emails from GAP Canada, you receive 30% off your purchase (online and/or in-store). Incentives like these can also be used with the store’s current promotions which means more savings to you. Plus, save an additional 10% off your next purchase at GAP if you use this link: https://refer.gapcanada.ca/s/supermom.
BUDGET HACK #4:
Every cent helps! Throughout the year, everyday when you arrive home (and can remember to do this), empty whatever change you have in your pockets/wallet in a jar labelled School Fund. You will be surprised how handy this comes in when your ready to go back-to-school shopping and may have incurred unexpected bills like; a timing-belt replacement or the clean-up and repair costs of the flooding of your basement. Plus, this is a great tool that can also be used to cover expenses during the school year such as; payment of Pizza Days, school fundraisers, Scholastic Books, Picture Day Photos, etc.