This is a guest post by freelance writer, Nancy Evans, who enjoys writing on the topics of frugality and families.
Raising children takes up a lot of time, patience and financial resources. Parents need to tackle the budget with a lot of creativity especially during back-to-school season when spending spikes because of school requirements and related expenses. Back-to-school can be a stressful time for parents, but there are ways to manage the budget gracefully while making all the required purchases.
Living frugally requires foresight and planning. Buying clothing only when the markdowns exceed 60 percent will save a lot of money. To implement this effectively, parents need to anticipate their children’s clothing needs.
For instance, winter outfits will most likely be on the clearance racks in late spring. Summer attire hidden behind winter and holiday outfits will most likely be deeply discounted. CrazyforBargains.com pajamas, for example, are always value priced.
Explain the concept of delayed gratification to tweens and teens and demonstrate how off-season shopping can save money.
Embrace Hand-me downs and Consignment Stores
Children should learn the value of recycling early in life. When there are multiple siblings in the family, wearing hand-me down clothes becomes part of the lifestyle. Ask children to go through their closets before any new purchases are made. Usable clothing, books, toys and furnishings that can be passed down to a younger child should be segregated. Items that are not usable for anyone in the household should be donated. Backpacks can be cleaned and reused.
Not everything has to come brand new. Furniture and furnishings are best purchased at consignment stores. Desks, lamps, chairs, bookshelves are available at thrift stores. Furniture is easily updated with a coat of paint. Mismatched pieces can be painted in the same color and designed with an applique to unify the collection.
Triage Items on the Shopping List
Typically, at the start of the school year, the school sends home a list of required supplies for each child. Ask the teacher which items are not needed within the first three months so that purchases can be deferred as needed.
Manage the shopping list by making a list of first priority items: Items that must be purchased right away and lower priority items that can be put off for a later purchase.
Find Bargain Sources
Shopping in upscale stores may be a pleasure, but it can certainly put a dent in the budget. Often, the same or similar items are available at a better price in discount stores.
Specialty stores can quote surprisingly low prices. Other discounters are known to carry quality kids’ apparel and shoes at great prices. Children learn by example. Ensure that they learn money management lessons early and effectively.
See my disclaimer.