Day 1 Back to School Shopping: Set a Budget & Stick To It

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Back To School Shopping is the second most planned out shopping trip for my family, Black Friday being the first! With 3 girls that all attend different schools, have different likes and each of them wanting everything they see, I have learned over the years what works and what doesn’t when planning out our Back To School Shopping!

The first thing I do every year and sit down and plan our budget! This year will be a little bigger than last year due to our youngest now heading to kindergarten. Although we will no longer have pre-school tuition, the amount of back to school supplies are more than what was needed last year so we will spend a little more to start off.

Most schools have started posting on the school website calendars and supply lists for each grade, so head to the school’s website and print out your child’s grade list. This will give you an idea what is expected to start. Although each teacher will have a separate list of supplies they require for their class, you will at least have an idea of what to buy and get a head start of grabbing the best deals.

You should also include your child when you start to create this list and your budget. They will feel more involved and may get them excited to head back to school if they feel that they have a say in their supplies & clothing purchase! They may also have specific requests for colors or designs, which will help you in the end- less returns for you and less hated supplies & clothes by the kiddos!

When planning your budget, consider everything that goes along with Back To School Shopping. It’s not just about clothes and supplies. They will most likely need a new haircut, school fees, physicals, pictures, etc. Which can all add up quickly and can be a large chunk of cash! So consider how much you have to spend on all of these items and beginning mapping out a list with amount you can spend. Here is an example of the spreadsheet I use to keep on track.

Back To School Budget $2,000
Description Budget Actual Spent Difference
Clothes (including basics) $600 $600
Shoes $450 $450
School Supplies $250 $250
School Fees $175 $175
School Pictures $160 $160
Back To School Physicals $200 $200
Hair Cuts $125 $125
misc $40 $40
Total $2,000 $0 $2,000

Once you know how much you have available to spend, keep your budget with you at all times. Then make a list of each of the supplies and clothing items you need for each child on one master list and keep it with you at all times as well. This way if you are at Target for a new shower curtain and see they are having a sale on jeans, you can purchase them now and cross them off your list. Saving you money and time later! Keeping an up to date list of things you already bought will keep you from buying duplicates. I keep a small envelope in my purse with my budget, list and the receipts of all the purchases I have made for our Back To School Shopping. This is great for returns and price comparing, everything is all in one place!

Looking for more Ways To Save While Back To School Shopping, check out
30 Days of Tips for Back To School Shopping!

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