Back-to-School Shopping: Smart Parents, Happy Wallets

With the new school year right around the corner, feelings can be mixed. While teenagers dread the thought of waking up before noon, most parents crave the structure and routine of the school day.

However, there’s much to do before school bells ring and buses fill the streets. By now, you’re probably already receiving school supply lists and noticing most of your kids’ clothes no longer fit. Use the following tips to tackle all your back-to-school shopping adventures while keeping your wallet happy.

Make a Comprehensive List

Today, most schools provide a list of all the supplies students are encouraged to have for the year. While this is convenient and an excellent start for your shopping list, it’s far from complete. Parents often forget to include new clothes, shoes, and haircuts as part of their back-to-school expenditures.

Create a Budget & Stick to It

Between school supplies, clothes, and haircuts, back-to-school shopping can add up quickly. If you have multiple school-aged children, the financial pinch can often feel more like a punch. To keep your spending in check, create a budget.

First, research prices online to get an idea of how much you’ll need. Once you have your estimate, begin reducing the total as much as possible. Identify clothes that still fit, leftover supplies from last year, etc. Every bit helps to slim down your budget.

Hunt for Sales & Discounts

After you have a budget, seek ways to maximize your available funds. You can search online for coupons or sales at local retailers. Consider signing up for promotional messages from your favorite stores to stay current on new deals. Most businesses catering to families will offer back-to-school sales, including barbers, salons, and clothing stores.

Involve Your Kids

For many parents, heading to crowded stores with their kids sounds like a nightmare. However, you might be surprised how savvy they can be when given a strict budget. And when your kids are part of the experience, it can cause them to be more excited for the upcoming school year.

You might consider buying traditional supplies and clothes by yourself if you have multiple little children. Then, include your kids when picking out backpacks, lunch boxes, and fun notebooks.

Timing is Everything

Many states have tax-free holidays in the weeks leading up to the new school year. Sales tax adds up quickly, especially if you’re purchasing high-priced items like laptops, tablets, or advanced calculators.

If you’re worried the stores will be packed on tax-free days, don’t stress. Most states allow tax-free savings to apply to online purchases as well. You can learn about tax-free shopping on your local city or county government website.

Swap & Save

If you’re looking for ways to boost your shopping budget, consider selling gently used clothes to consignment shops. You can also list items on local online marketplaces or through social media.

This strategy is a great way to empty your child’s closet of clothes that no longer fit. Then, use the money to purchase new clothes for the coming school year.

Keep Your Credit Cards in Your Wallet

While credit cards are one of the most convenient ways to pay today, they can also be one of the most expensive. Many traditional and store-sponsored credit cards charge extremely high-interest rates, often up to 29% APR! Instead, opt for a personal loan, especially when purchasing high-ticket items like computers and tablets.

Personal loans are the ideal choice because they offer a slew of perks over credit cards.

  • Lower Interest Rates

Personal loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards. That means more of your hard-earned money will go toward school supplies instead of interest payments.

  • Budgeting Help

Because you receive a specific amount of money with a personal loan, it makes sticking to your budget much easier. Once the money is gone, it’s gone – unlike credit cards, where overspending is as easy as swiping your card.

  • Pay Off Debt Quicker

Credit cards only require you to make a minimum monthly payment – which usually only covers interest and possible fees. That means it could take months or years to pay off your balance. A personal loan has set monthly payments that help you eliminate the balance quicker and avoid long-term debt.

While you will have to apply for a personal loan, most can be funded in a day or two. This financial tool could be the perfect solution to keep your spending in check and start the new school year off on the right foot.

We’re Here to Help!

Back-to-school shopping can be both exciting and wallet-wrenching. However, with a bit of planning, you can give your child a great start to the new school year while keeping your wallet happy too.

If you’re interested in learning more about low-rate personal loans, we’re ready to help. Please stop by any of our convenient branch locations or call 801-451-5064 to speak with a team member today.

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