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5 Ways Avoid Going Broke this Back-to-School Season

8/20/2014, 12:45 p.m.
Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, Back-to-School season strikes fear in the hearts of America. If you’re a parent, ...

Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, Back-to-School season strikes fear in the hearts of America. If you’re a parent, you may be afraid you can’t keep up with the latest styles and gadgets. If you are a teacher, you’re scurrying around trying to find the best deals possible in order to supply your classroom. It’s easy to put yourself in financial peril doing these things. Well no more!

Tips to Save Cash on Back to School Supplies

Don’t Buy Everything

Parents, you’ll get pressured into buying the latest and greatest. Give in, and you’ll be cashing in your savings. Instead, go through your child’s drawers and see what they really need. Fill in the holes on your shopping trip but make sure they know you’re not replacing the entire, still-good wardrobe like it’s Fashion Avenue. Get in that habit early on to avoid the pressure that comes with being a parent of teens, when the prices get uglier than the fashion. Caving to pressure means your bank account goes down with you.

For teachers, you know there’s always a student without notebooks, pens, pencils, and supplies. You run around buying the sale stuff, filling boxes, knowing it’ll bail a student out in the end. If you never pass up the five-cents limit 50 offer, you’re heading for disaster. Note this–every dime adds up in the end, or subtracts from your bottom line. Watch it if you want to stay in the black!

Keep Track of What You Spend

Buying the doorbusters or clothes here and there on impulse adds up. There’s a reason stores advertise those specials and place them in strategic places throughout the store. They know teachers and parents are weak this time of year.

When you impulse buy and don’t read your credit card statement or add up your receipts you’ll spend more than you planned. You can rack up some serious debt by not paying attention.

Don’t Try to Save the World

If you’re a teacher, you know this feeling. You’ll do “just one more thing” for your students. We can’t do everything, nor can we help each student by spending our way into debt. If you do this, you’re putting your financial future in peril. As a parent, you may overextend your budget wanting to give your kids that head start. As a teacher, there’s the desire to save every last kid. If you examine what kids really need to be successful, a loving environment, you’ll find that to be free.

Ask

“Do I really need to buy this?” Sometimes, parents, you get ridiculous supply lists from schools. Question these lists. If the items don’t make sense, hold off on the purchase and see if the teacher asks for the item, or give a quick call to the teacher or the school.

As a teacher, you may not need to buy things. Be creative–do you have a rainy day fund or special needs budget? Sometimes, “Ask and you shall receive” works in schools, even when they are trying to save money. Failing to research what you really need and where you might be able to get it will help you go broke.