Money Mondays-Backpack Overload

Summer is winding down and all the stores are filled with Back-to-School items. Do you have your child's back-to-school list? Hasn't it grown over the past few years? Everyone knows about the basics like notebooks, crayons, glue and tissue. But what about $300 laptops for 5th graders, and $200 calculators for 9th graders? Were you expecting that? How about $175 student software for whichever device you own? I think I hear someone gasping for air.

According to the National Retail Federation 2012 Back-To-School spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average person will spend $688.62 on school supplies from K-12 grade. The article noted that an average of $95.44 will be spent per year, per child. Did you plan for that? That amount does not include outside of the backpack. Parents will spend on average:

$246.10 on Clothing
$217.88 on Electronics
$129.20 on Shoes

Did we forget anything? Some schools (even public schools) often have a textbook fee. Don't forget that!

But wait, you have college students you say? Let's not forget our wonderful college students. When they go back to school, they have to take their whole lives and the kitchen sink with them. Check out the averages on what parents spent on their young adults:

Apparel and Accessories- $132.97
New Shoes- $75.81
New Electronics- $216.40
Dorm Furniture- $100.27
Food Items- $100.18
Personal Care- $81.27
School Supplies $75.73
Gift cards/debt cards etc.- ?
Average total= $929.35 for Freshman down to $680.70 for Seniors.

Did you happen to notice that those totals do not include textbooks, lab fees and other non-tuition costs? Yeah, I knew you did!

If you haven't passed out yet, I do want to give you a little help to lower these costs.

1.) Obtain the list and analyze it. Some items can be purchased around December for the next half of the school year. Does a teacher really have enough space for 2 boxes of tissues per child in September?

2.) Verify that the child will actually use those items. Teachers say the students will need them, but does it actually get used? I remember bugging my parents in August for a calculus calculator and didn't use it for a year.

3.) See what is left over in your home from last year. Paper from last year can be used this year. And that goes for backpacks and lunch boxes.

4.) Scope out the coupons and sales papers. Items go on sale every week. If pencils and pens are on sale this week. Next week will be notebooks. Or perhaps a different store has them on sale this week.

5.) Bulk buying can save you. Yes, a folder with her favorite singer on the cover is exciting, but a box of plain front notebooks are a lot cheaper. I bet there are stickers she can adore the front with for less than $2!

6.) Save half. My mother was given some advice. "Whatever they ask for, give them half. They will be back for more!" This advice was referring to money and adult children, but I think it applies in so many ways. Pencils break, crayons become numbs, and glue is always missing. Send them to school with half and save the other half. They will be back for more!

See you next week for Money Mondays,
From Maruki


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