Can you believe we are already talking about summer ending and school beginning? Those with kids have likely already started preparing for the upcoming year. Have you ever considered the cost of back to school shopping? It can sure be a strain on the pocketbook if we aren’t careful.
Now, we all know that our bank account can take a big hit when we go shopping for school supplies and clothes. And when you have multiple kids to send to school, the impact is much larger! Some of us have seen or are currently seeing that as the kids get older, it just gets more expensive…especially when it’s time to send them off to college! Parents do it year after year without griping or complaining because we love our children. We want them to be prepared and well dressed for the new year. But what about beyond the clothes, shoes and supplies? Do you make sure you have a line on your budget for the other expenses that arise as school begins? For those just coming into school age, let us explain in a little more detail…
According to foxbusiness.com and American Express Spending and Saving Tracker from August of last year, parents planned on spending about $100 more on back to school expenses in 2015 than they did in 2014. The same will likely hold true as this school year rolls around.
While the increased use of technology has played a significant part of the increase in back to school spending, it certainly is not the only culprit causing us to rearrange our budgets. Extracurricular activities are fabulous for kids, but they can cost a pretty penny. Studies showed that from 2014-2015, the cost after school programs was projected to increase by 20%. We aren’t saying not to sign your kids up for clubs, sports and other activities. If they become a source for financial stress, though, try fundraising. People in the community are always willing to help a child. Here are some fundraising ideas:
- Hold a Raffle – Selling $1 tickets for a prize is easy work. Just make sure your prize doesn’t consume all of your profit!
- Get Crafty – Everyone loves to buy homemade crafts that have a purpose. It takes work, but nothing in life is free!
- Car Wash – People are always looking for someone to wash their car while they run in the store or grab a bite to eat. Do a good job and get a good tip!
- Sponsors – Before writing a check for the team/club fees, check around with local businesses to see if they would be willing to sponsor your child or the whole group. You can have a sign made to advertise their business for doing so.
- Bake Sale – Who doesn’t love yummy desserts?! Hold a bake sale either alone outside of a supermarket (with permission, of course) or in addition to a rummage sale. We all love a treat while shopping!
- Check out our Pinterest page for more fundraising ideas here… The Selling Rocky Mountains Home Team Pinterest Page
The fact is that even strangers can relate to kids working hard to better themselves. Don’t rule out the idea of raising money to pay the price for these activities. You would be surprised what can come from a little bit of hard work.
It’s no surprise that most of the extracurricular spending goes toward school sports. Less money is spent on extra learning courses such as ACT/SAT prep classes. However, when asked, most parents would say that they would prefer for their kids to make good grades versus being the star athlete.
Music lessons along with band and chorus tend to be close to the top of the list of pricey activities we want our kids involved in. Other hobbies, volunteer programs and art related activities are not far behind. Those same fundraising ideas listed above would work for these programs as well.
The good news in all of this is that parents are actively trying to get their kids involved in after-school programs which is great! Sometimes it takes year long budgeting in order to make those activities possible. In order to be prepared for your back to school expenses, talk with your kids about their interests ahead of time. If you are able to plan ahead, you can start saving money or working to raise the necessary funds.
Believe it or not, the financial struggle is nothing new. For many generations, parents have been sacrificing their own “extra stuff” in order to be able to invest in their children. Sure, the trends change as does the price of the activities, but parents will always want the best for their children and will go to many lengths to make it happen.