Back-to-school time brings the smell of new uniforms and shoes along with newly sharpened pencils, fresh crayons and flowing dollar bills! Now is the time to create a back-to-school budget. As a grandparent who is the primary or even secondary caregiver for your grandchildren, things will look a lot different than when your children went to school.
Before school begins, families are busy buying new clothes, shoes, book bags, and school supplies. Once classes begin, even more expenses appear: supply fees, school lunches, after-school snacks, fees for extracurricular activities – the list goes on and on.
All of these expenses are child-directed. What a great time to help the child learn to shop and use the items wisely.
Obtain the supply list from your child’s or grandchild’s school. Use that list as a guide to separate what the child needs and what the child wants. This is a great time to help children learn to make decisions relating to money management.
Children may obtain money from gifts, allowances, or earnings and should be taught money management at an early age. Allowances provide hands-on experience with managing money at an early age. Earnings may be generated at home for extra work done around the house. The amount received for various tasks should be agreed upon by the parents or grandparents and the child.
Children can plan their spending and learn to set some money aside for future use. Help the child or grandchild set up a budget and a spending plan. Encourage the child to keep records of all earnings, spending and savings.
Recommend that a portion of the child’s money be set aside for future needs; the use of the remaining money should be discussed between parent or grandparent and child.
One may decide to let the child be responsible for one or two items on the school supply list and an item that he or she wants but is not on the “must have” list. When a child purchases an item with his or her own money that child usually takes better care of the item.
The following are back-to-school budgeting hints:
Practice these smart shopping skills as you ready your children or grandchildren for a great school year.
Metzger, R. (August, 2008). Back to School Shopping on a Budget. The Plain Dealer. Downloaded October 9, 2009, from Cleveland.com.
Tucker, J. (2007) Teaching Budgeting When Making Back-to-School Shopping List. Downloaded October 9, 2009 from the LSU AgCenter Web site.