Back to School Budgeting

Back to School Budgeting
July 25, 2016 Prosperity Connection
Mom and two kids shopping in the school supplies section of a store

Image via The Online Mom


It’s July, which means it’s time for back to school.  Pretty soon we all will be thinking about homework, after-school activities, and other fall events.  Here  are some tips to keep you on track during the coming school year.

Have a Budget: Before you go out shopping know how much you want to spend.  If you are not sure of the cost, check your newspaper and flyers that come in the mail as many are advertising their back to school sales.  Want to stick to your budgeted amount?  One ‘trick’ to consider is to take cash with you when shop instead of taking credit or debit cards.  When you run out, you’re done.

Write out a list: Having a list before you leave to shop will help you stick to your budget and avoid unnecessary purchases. Some schools send out lists of school supplies needed for the year and the stores where the items are available for purchase in an effort to make shopping for school as easy as possible.

Recycle things: Not everything has to be new on the first day of school.  Some of the supplies may be the same supplies you purchased last year.  Things like scissors, used pencils, or colored pencils can be put in that new pencil box to start the new school year.  Or you can even take look at that backpack and lunch box from last year and if it’s in good condition it can be used for part of the school year.   As an example, the backpack I had in high school lasted all four years and one tour of duty in the United States Navy.

Shop during the Holiday: Every year Missouri has a weekend that the sales taxes are waived on certain back to school purchases. Certain back-to-school purchases, such as clothing, school supplies, computers, and other items as defined by the statute, are exempt from sales tax for this time period only.  However you may still be charged the sales tax for that municipality.  To learn more, check the following link: https://www.freetaxweekend.com/missouri-sales-tax-holiday/

When my kids where younger, the back to school time was both a hectic and fun time.  If you get the kids involved it can be a great bonding experience for the entire family.  If you just remember some of these tips, you can have a great experience without putting as much of a strain on your budget and your wallet.


Evette Baker, Financial Education Specialist