Preparing Your Budget for Back-to-School Shopping

NEWS // August 26, 2016

Preparing your Budget for Back-to-School Shopping

Whether it’s getting prepared to leave town for a final year of college or preparing the little one for the first day of kindergarten, the end of summer can bring new expenses and the possibility of adding to your credit card debt. Like any other annual expense, planning ahead is essential to staying on budget and avoiding additional debt.

One way to plan ahead is to add a section to your monthly budget to save money for back-to-school expenses. A great way to do this is to set aside a pre-determined amount of money every month so it will become a habit like your other monthly expenses. As with most expenses, it’s less stressful to save for a purchase or an event, as opposed to paying off credit card debt that would otherwise result from it. Also, if you save money instead of borrowing it, interest rates work for you, not against you.

When back-to-school shopping, try to find items on sale. At this time of the year, most retail stores are aware that a large percentage of the population is out spending money, so they often offer many competitive deals to attract more customers and boost their sales revenue. So, it is wise to visit more stores and compare prices before deciding to buy an item. Another way to find great deals is through online shopping. On sites such as, or, they often have free shipping, which helps you to save both time and money.

Off to College? Here are some tips for you:

If college is the destination this fall, be sure to prepare in advance. For students looking for loans, it is important to understand the terms of any student loan before you apply and look into the different types that are available. Do you know the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan? Is it government funded or private? These are all questions that you should research before you take out a loan.

In addition, spending on textbooks can also be a significant cost for college students. Check to see if all of those books are necessary to buy and if the library has some of them on reserve. Also, always look to see if you can buy them on campus or online for less.

Regardless of what point in the education process you find yourself, try to prepare ahead and stay on budget for your back-to-school expenses. Have a great school year!

Article written by the San Diego Financial Literacy Center