Back To School Tips
Budgeting on Back To School Expenses
Hi mummies and daddies. It's a long holiday for school children. It is time to prepare budget for your kids to assure you still have saving till end of the month.
Whether it is the cost of the recommended school pack or realisation that the children require new uniforms, back-to-school expenses dramas are common in many households.
Managing education costs and planning to meet children’s education expenses begins with getting organised, prioritising, planning and budgeting. This focuses your energies on high-ticket items where you’ll gain the greatest benefits and shopping around.
Being prepared is the best way to control your finances. Use lists to plan and start sooner rather than later.
If you prioritise your needs and expenses – your goals – you can then plan how to meet those goals through the preparation of a budget.
Noticing or not, what you already have that can be recycled for different purposes and children.
One parents can saves hundreds of dollars by recycling their children’s stationery each year.
As good as new
Another thing to be saved more than RM 500 is on school uniforms by not buying new items. Example : If you had four children returning to school and their uniforms still fitted but had become faded and tired looking. Instead of new shorts and skirts, spent few dollars on dark-blue fabric dye and rejuvenated them to look as good as new.
When it comes to buying goods, focus most of your energy on finding the best deals on your highest-cost items such as uniforms, computers, software and internet access and textbooks. “Shop smart by shopping around – buy it new cheaper at discount stores or online, buy it second-hand, or swap to meet your needs,” he says.
The process is a personal experience for each family, but it is recommends involving all the family in back-to-school preparations and making bargain hunting a fun responsibility for each family member.
Valuable skillsMany parents get a nasty shock when they realise the cost of new textbooks and supplies needed at the start of a new school year, following following long holiday expenses on December.
They are right to worry. Education is one of the fastest-rising components of the consumer price index and over the past 15 years education costs have risen compared to previous time. However, some families have taken control of the annual back-to-school expenses by putting in place a budgeting and savings process separate to the day-to-day family budget.
Your own education fund
Some simple steps that can help ensure there are funds available when needed to pay for those extra bits and pieces – such as textbooks, sport equipment, musical instruments, and even travel costs or extra tuition – include setting achievable and realistic savings goals as early as possible.
A good way to save is to put aside money you won’t miss, such as pay rises or lump sums including bonuses or tax returns.
“The idea is to put this ‘extra’ money straight into an education fund before it is absorbed into normal expenditure,” he says. “For example, use the government’s bonus to kick-start the investment.”
Another idea is to encourage other family members to give birthday and education donations instead of toys or games. Over holidays, children get more toys than they know what to do with, but a RM 50 investment into a plan will buy a number of textbooks in 12 years’ time.
Savvy back-to-school strategies (one good example)
WITH three children at school, Shiela has worked out some savvy ways to save money on back-to-school stationery. At the end of each year Sion, 13, Nicholas, 11, and Elyse, 9, bring home leftover pens, pencils and paints.
They go into a box in a cupboard until mid-January when Shiela starts to focus on the school list.
“I go through the box and check what can be reused,” Shiela says.
“I hand each kid the list the school gave them and we work out what we have to buy and what we can use again.
“It has become a bit of a family tradition and we have fun doing it together.”
Out of three used coloured pencil sets she has made a new one, as well as salvaging countless unused glue sticks, lead pencils and sharpeners.
Suddenly the “to buy” list, which could potentially add up to hundreds of dollars, is reduced to a set of watercolours, a couple of rubbers and some contact to cover books.
“I only buy exactly what I need, saving a fortune this time of year. Even the pencils and stationery that are not good enough to go back to school get reused at home,” she says.
Bina Brown Smart Investor
(1) If your kids don't take the bus to school, carpool with other families. (That goes for before and after school practices, too.)
(2) Most days, have children take lunches instead of buying at the cafeteria.
(3) Get required vaccinations through your local county health department, where shots are often offered at a discount or free.
(4) If you're paying tuition, work part-time or substitute at the school to offset expenses. (It'll make it easy to pop in on their class parties or keep an eye on your teen, too!)
There's not much lee-way in dodging sports and band fees, but you may be able to save on the uniforms and instruments. Check second-hand items. Email friends and classmates to see if anyone has something you need for sale. Ask coaches and tutors for leads on used equipment. If there's a good chance your child will be on the same team next year, allow some growing room. Buy a little big; there's a good chance that soccer or cheerleading outfit will work for two seasons instead of one.
Thanks to discount stores like Giant, Mydin and 1 Malaysia, , school supplies aren't too scary. Since everybody needs them, competition is fierce. They're practically giving away glue, markers and folders, hoping that you'll pick up a backpack or two while you're there. Resist the impulse and recycle last year's more expensive items whenever possible. Use coupons and bring competitor's fliers for price matching. Keep your eyes open for rebates, which are very common this time of year.