Even for those who love summer, there’s something exciting about knowing that the back-to-school shopping season is here. There’s so much possibility and fun: kids will be learning new things and making new friends.
But parents know that all the good things kids need – everything from the fresh notebooks and sturdy backpacks to the football cleats and favorite sweaters kids will wear this fall – all cost money.
Last August, LendingTree’s 2021 Back-to-School Shopping Survey found that about 30% of parents of school-age kids expected to go into debt when shopping for back-to-school.
In this poll of more than 1,000 parents with children under the age of 18, parents said they were expecting that back-to-school shopping would cost them an average of $498.
A year later, we know that prices for just about everything seem to be running even higher. A recent New York Times article noted that prices in June climbed 9.1 percent from last year, the fastest pace that prices have risen since 1981.
So this year, we all need good strategies for tackling back-to-school expenses in order to stay on budget.
Parents have known for generations that one of the best ways to make back-to-school shopping season more affordable is to have younger kids use hand-me-down items from older siblings, cousins or neighbors. It’s also better for the environment to re-use clothing, backpacks or other items like sports equipment that are in good condition, instead of buying something new.
Some school districts set up clothing and sports gear swap events for families at the start of the school year. At these events, where folks with younger kids can get gently-used items that older kids in the community have outgrown. If your school or neighborhood doesn’t host an event like this, consider starting one.
Another key is carefully tracking your spending during the summer, so that you can save a few extra dollars ahead of back-to-school shopping. Packing lunch or snacks and bringing coffee from home can help working parents save, and even teenagers can embrace a money-saving mindset by tracking small expenses.
But even after saving and seeking items to reuse, many families will still be in the position of needing to borrow a bit of money to finance back-to-school prep this year. One big thing to avoid is putting these back-to-school expenses on a high-interest credit card. Even if you’ve gotten items at good prices, borrowing on a credit card and paying high interest that can snowball over time can end up costing families an awful lot.
If borrowing a small amount is necessary to get your kids fully outfitted for school this year, it can be more practical to take out a small personal loan with clear terms, set monthly payments, and a schedule for paying the loan back.
Our team at 1st Franklin Financial can help! The “Friendly Franklin Folks” in your community are always ready to sit down with you and figure out whether a small, fixed-rate personal loan with a set monthly payment is the most practical and affordable way to be ready for family expenses this school year.
They can explain all the details, answer all your questions and set up a clear payoff schedule, so there are never any surprises. Just click here to find a branch near you, and you can even begin your application online before you come in for a visit.
It’s exciting to think about what new experiences and possibilities this school year will bring. The 1st Franklin family is wishing you and your kids a wonderful school year!