I’ve shared with you my first two steps to help you save money with your back-to-school shopping. Your first step was to take inventory of your school supplies and clean out your children’s closets. Next, make a plan and talk to your kids about wants versus needs. The next step is critical to your overall success and sometimes the hardest rule to follow.
Step 3: Set a Budget
Most families don’t set a back-to-school shopping budget. You have a generalized idea of how much you want to spend but haven’t created a plan to stay within your budget or to even make sure the budget is reasonable. Examine your list of needs and set a suitable budget based on your family income. Basics and required school supplies come first. Any extra money can be used on your children’s “wants” list.
Sounds easy, right? It can be. What I’ve discovered is that parents don’t set a budget or willingly break their budget because they don’t want to say “no”. And not because they’re bad parents or overly permissive parents, but because they remember. They remember wanting something so badly and the disappointment of their parents saying “no”.
Those memories sometimes cause us to pull out our credit cards and spend more than we should, so our kids won’t have to experience the same disappointment we did. I encourage you to think differently. Your children may want designer jeans, but what they truly need and expect from you is a safe home, a warm bed, good food and lots of love.
Be a Good Money Role Model
You’ve determined a practical budget now challenge your kids to flex their money decision-making muscles. It’s their job to take the budget and figure out how to purchase the things they need and maybe even a few of the things they want. In other words—game on.
In my next post, I’ll show you how to empower your kids to make smart decisions. If you have any back-to-school shopping questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your question on The Heavy Purse facebook page.