Keep back to school costs under control

Sticking to a budget doesn’t have to be a grind

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back to school

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It’s back to school! While most parents are pleasantly stressed at this time of year—who doesn’t want to say goodbye to the scramble for camp spots and the daily grind of keeping bored kids busy—it’s also a time when budgets are blown.

To help, we have a few suggestions on how to keep your back to school (or back to daycare) costs at a more manageable level.

Put pen to paper, first

Start with a budget, explains the now-retired money guru, Gail Vaz-Oxlade. By creating a budget you not only set a limit on your spending, it also forces you to take stock of what you already have in the house. “If last year’s jacket fits, that’s one less expense,” says Vaz-Oxlade.

Once you have a list of what’s needed and a budget of what you’ll spend, show this to your children. “You want them to have realistic expectations before they head to the stores,” says Vaz-Oxlade.

Now, shop smart

To stick to your budget, you’ll have to do a bit of homework. Gather all the store flyers and make a list of what’s on-sale and what stores price-match. You can even involve the kids in this exercise. Ask them to look for diapers, or pencils, or anything else that’s on the list. Not only will you stick to your budget, but you’re also teaching your kids a valuable money management skill.

For more tips, watch our video.

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